United Recap: A Game of Two Halves

In a classic game of two halves, LA dominated the opening stages and looked a constant threat on the counter. Only Troy Perkins' sweeper-keeper play and the awful finishing of Nate Jaqua kept the home side from jumping out to an early lead. After the break, United were in the ascendance, dominating possession and creating a handful of decent chances. As the already bare-bones Galaxy squad succumbed to further injuries, United were left to wonder how they didn't emerge from the second half with the three points.

All through the first half, I kept waiting for somebody from LA to bury the dagger and bring back the early season blues, wherein teams took advantage of poor decisions and passing in the midfield and at the back by United to counter the Black-and-Red to death. The experimental back line of Simms at right back and Namoff on the left was quickly abandoned as Namoff looked in trouble early, with Cobi Jones getting wide and in behind United. I also thought that Olsen was a bit overwhelmed trying to hold down the defensive midfield on his own with Fred, Gros, and Gomez pushing high and wide on the big pitch.

Thankfully, the Galaxy just aren't scoring goals right now and Perkins is playing with confidence, or this could have gotten ugly really quickly. After United reverted to Namoff on the right and Gros on the left, with Simms pushing into the defensive midfield, United settled down and played a bit more compact, but their carelessness with the ball killed off any attacking threats and presented numerous chances for LA on the counter. My pessimist hat was fixed firmly in place going into the break.

But United emerged a changed side. They began to dominate possession, cutting out the mistakes and moving the ball quickly and confidently on the big surface at the HDC. Even so, LA still looked like they might counter at any minute and late in the game I kept waiting for Findley or Donovan to burn Gros on the dribble and punish United. While United were bossing the play, most of their attacks seemed to bog down going into the final third. Moreno in particular just seemed to play too slow and held on to the ball far too long, dribbling into two or three defenders and losing possession.

In the end, a draw was probably a fair result as both sides had dominant periods of play but just couldn't seem to find the finish. United nearly doubled LA's shot total and put five on frame, as opposed to the Galaxy's one. Man of the Match for United would have to be Troy Perkins, who was quick to come off of his line to cut out counter opportunities and snuff out dangerous situations. In lieu of a game ball, I'd like to give him a shot at nailing Donovan in the balls, but (not surprisingly) nobody can seem to find them. A pretty lame move by the US captain to leave his foot in and catch Perkins in the face. Looks like he's been taking lessons from Sanchez and Blanco.

Though I thought he deserved at least yellow from that, I was pleasantly surprised by ref Ricardo Salazar, who I thought was pretty good. He didn't flash the cards when he could have and let play flow for the most part. I fully expected this to be a chippy affair with at least one red and multiple yellows, but Salazar only went to his pocket on one occasion and the only real flashpoint was the Donovan-Perkins incident.

On a closing note, were there really 21,069 in attendance? It didn't look or sound anywhere close to that.

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