Apr 21, 2018; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) reacts as Atlanta United midfielder Chris McCann (16) and goalkeeper Brad Guzan (1) watch during a game at StubHub Center.Atlanta United FC defeated the Galaxy 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy lost 2-0 to Atlanta United FC at StubHub Center on Saturday night. Goals for the opponent came from Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron. It was Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first start at home, but the Atlanta defense mitigated the potential damage he could cause.
Injury concerns for the team started even before the game began, as midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos limped to the locker room during warm ups. He was replaced in the starting line up by Baggio Husidic, who had not started a game since May 21st, 2017 in Minnesota. He had to leave that match in the 8th minute with a fractured tibia.
The first half proved to be difficult for the LA Galaxy, as they endured 10 shots from Atlanta United and entered halftime down a goal. Martinez scored in the 22nd minute after several minutes of Atlanta peppering goalkeeper David Bingham with shot after shot.
The Galaxy were lucky to finish the half down only one goal and with all XI players on the field. Both Jorgen Skjelvik and Perry Kitchen received yellow cards within five minutes of allowing the Atlanta goal, causing both a central midfielder and central defender to play more cautiously the remainder of the match.
Midfielder Giovani Dos Santos was subbed into the match for Sebastian Lletget in the 63rd minute. This was his first match since being subbed out at halftime of the Galaxy’s match away to New York City FC on March 10th.
While the Galaxy had their share of chances in the second half, Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron sealed his team’s victory with a stoppage-time goal by way of penalty kick.
LA Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid was visibly frustrated with his side’s performance in the match, and made that apparent through his comments in the postgame interview. He said the Galaxy’s goal-scoring woes are a result of a lack of cohesion due to the number of players returning from injury.
“Ola is having to sacrifice his game for the team, for others who aren’t coming back,” Schmid said. “He’s taken himself out of positions. He’s still had a couple of headers where he was almost close and he was almost through on another opportunity, so he’s still creating chances. He’s sacrificing himself for the team, which is something that, as a team we have to do in order for us to play our best. Right now, every week it’s a different cast of characters, and a different offensive grouping.
“It’s not because those two [Ibrahimovic and Kamara] aren’t clicking, it’s not clicking because the rest of the service isn’t quite there. We haven’t been able to step on the field and have all ten players have a good game at the same time. There has always been missing pieces.”
Looking ahead, the LA Galaxy will return to StubHub Center host the New York Red Bulls at 7:30pm PT Saturday.