The Galaxy may not have hit rock bottom Sunday. But they can sure see it from where they are after a dreadful performance against the Seattle Sounders, a 3-0 loss that left the team with five losses in seven games for the first time in two decades.
“Everybody is disappointed. There’s nothing much to say about it,” captain Jelle Van Damme whispered in the quiet locker room.
“We can only blame ourselves.”
And there was plenty of blame to go around, with the Sounders dominating every statistical category in a first half in which they got goals from Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris sandwiched around an errant goal by the Galaxy’s Ashley Cole.
“I can’t explain what happened this afternoon,” midfielder Romain Alessandrini said. “It’s a bad thing for everybody. For the coach, for the staff, for the players.”
“It was,” he added “the worst game for the Galaxy.”
One that left them at 2-5, their worst record after seven games since 2003 and their most losses in seven games since 1997. Three of those losses have come at the StubHub Center, matching the team’s number of home defeats for the 2016 and 2015 seasons combined.
Seattle grabbed the game by the throat early in the first half and didn’t let go let until the Galaxy stumbled to the locker room at halftime to the sound of boos from the announced crowd of 24,931.
The Sounders’ game plan was to push up a left wing manned by Alessandrini and rookie Nathan Smith. It worked on two levels, taking Alessandrini out of the Galaxy attack for long periods of defending while forcing the inexperienced Smith to mark the speedy Morris.
Not surprisingly, the sequences that led to all three Seattle goals started on the left side.
On the first, Nicolas Lodeiro got inside Smith at the endline and lifted a left-footed chip across the six-yard box for Dempsey, who headed it between Cole and the right post in the 29th minute. Cole netted the second one on his own six minutes later when his attempt at a sliding clearance of a Joevin Jones pass deflected off his boot and into the goal.
Two minutes later, Galaxy coach Curt Onalfo — who had no answer for Seattle’s left-handed attack — tried to find one by sending in defensive midfielder Baggio Husidic for Ema Boateng.
“Unfortunately he took the sacrifice,” Onalfo said of Boateng, who didn’t acknowledge the coach’s outstretched hand on his way to the bench. “But we were just getting overrun and overloaded in the midfield.”
The substitution had little effect, though, with the Sounders getting another goal a minute before the intermission when Dempsey drew Smith toward him at the top of the penalty area then pushed a no-look pass to Morris, who lifted a shot finish over Galaxy keeper Brian Rowe.
Although the Galaxy played better in the second half – they really couldn’t have played worse — they found themselves in a position that’s become all too familiar this season: promising to learn from a loss by talking it out.
“It’s a bad beginning for us. But the season is very long,” said Alessandrini, who has twice as many goals (four) as wins seven games into his MLS career.
“I need to speak with my teammates. I need to speak with the coach. And we need to be together.“