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Galaxy play poorly and settle for draw against Sporting KC

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Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget battles Sporting Kansas City midfielder Lawrence Olum for a ball in the air during the first half.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

As ragged and uninspiring as the Galaxy’s performance at StubHub Center was Thursday night, it could have been a lot worse. They could have lost.

As it was, the Galaxy settled for a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City, a point earned but hardly savored, not on a night when it took 69 minutes to register their only shot of the game, a weak 20-yard attempt by Mike Magee that was blocked outside the penalty area.

There was a smattering of boos among the crowd of 19,651 at the final whistle, and Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena could hardly protest. His postgame mood was just as sour as those who voiced their displeasure with the outcome.

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“It had all the makings of a 0-0 game, and that’s what it was,” Arena said. “They did a good job of dropping their team back, and we got very little out of our strikers. They didn’t play well. They weren’t aggressive enough. We need to pass the ball into the goal instead of shoot it.”

The game was the last before the MLS takes a 16-day international break that coincides with Friday’s start of the Copa America Centenario and next week’s European Championships, tournaments that subtracted five players from Thursday night’s proceedings.

The Galaxy played without captain Robbie Keane, a forward who joined his native Ireland for the Euros and could be gone until mid-July, and forward Gyasi Zardes, who scored twice for the U.S. against Bolivia last Saturday and will be out as long as the U.S. is alive in the Copa.

Kansas City lost three players to the Copa, defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi to the U.S. and midfielder Soni Mustivar to Haiti.

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Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard also sat out Thursday night’s game because of a hamstring strain. The absence of so many front-line players was reflected in the play of both teams, who seemed to lose precision in their passing games the closer they got to the penalty area.

Though they were not credited with a shot on goal, the Galaxy (5-2-6) did have two good scoring chances in the second half.

In the 56th minute, Giovani dos Santos, from about 25 yards out, threaded a pass to Magee, who found himself one on one with Kansas City keeper Tim Melia, who came out to cut down the angle.

Magee’s shot caromed off Melia, and Sebastian Lletget’s rebound found its way into the corner of the net. But thelinesman on the far side had his flag up, indicating offsides. The goal didn’t count.

“We saw a replay and he was onsides,” Arena said of Lletget. “You’re not going to get many chances against a team like that, but we still need to be more aggressive, more accurate with some crosses and shots from distance, and we didn’t do that tonight.”

In stoppage time, Galaxy defender Ashley Cole sent a long cross into the box from the left flank. Kansas City defender Lawrence Olum stuck his left hand straight out as he cleared the ball, but no handball was called by referee Hilario Grajeda.

Galaxy keeper Brian Rowe had four saves in the shutout, but the Galaxy extended their winless streak to four games.

“Yeah, we’re probably going to fold the franchise,” Arena said sarcastically, when asked whether the winless streak was a cause for alarm. “But if it continues for the rest of the year, that’s a problem.”

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna


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