Galaxy still finds road goals elusive in loss to Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Galaxy keeps forgetting to pack some offense in its travel bags.

Lucas Zelarayán and Malte Amundsen scored first-half goals and Patrick Schulte made them stand up as the Columbus Crew blanked the Galaxy, 2-0, on Wednesday night.

The Galaxy (2-7-3, nine points) fell to 0-5-2 in its past seven road matches dating to last season’s playoffs, including the last five by shutouts. It is the club’s longest scoring drought on the road since a six-match run spanning the 2004-05 seasons.

The Galaxy has been outscored 20-10 in its 12 MLS matches this season, and Coach Greg Vanney believes efficiency on defense could help create better opportunities for a struggling offensive attack.

“We didn’t take some of the finishes,” Vanney said. “Danny (Daniel Aguirre) had a really good look, hit it wide. We had a couple, like, really good looks that we just need to finish those chances. But, I really do think that, again, how we defend on the road and being a little bit more patient defensively will mean that we recover balls in better areas, which gives our attack more of a chance. It’s a combination of efficiency in front of the goal, but also, I think, efficiency on the defensive side.”

Zelarayán staked Columbus (5-4-3, 18 points) to a 1-0 lead when he found the net in the 25th minute. Cucho Hernández picked up an assist on Zelarayán’s fifth goal in his 10th appearance this season.

The Crew took a 2-0 lead into halftime on defender Amundsen’s first goal of the season with an assist from Alexandru Matan in the 43rd minute. Amundsen subbed in and played 13 minutes in his lone appearance this season. Amundsen’s only other MLS goal came while playing for New York City FC in 2021.

Columbus had a 10-9 edge in shots and a 3-2 edge in shots on goal.

Patrick Schulte totaled two saves to earn the clean sheet for the Crew. Jonathan Bond had one save for the Galaxy (2-7-3), which is last in the 14-team Western Conference standings.

“Our decision-making has to be better, especially when in possession,” Bond said. “We’re just trying to force things and always trying to play a difficult pass when it’s not needed. Something that maybe looks good, rather than just safe and functional. Rather than being patient, we’re trying to hit through balls, balls over the top, diagonals. Kind of hopeful. Not really on. So, those are the kind of things that kind of kill momentum in the game and swing possession from one team to the other.”

On a night when Riqui Puig and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández both received late yellow cards, Galaxy defender Eriq Zavaleta spoke to a frustrated fan base and preached patience.

“Positive results fix everything. When you win, everyone thinks you’re the best team in the world and when you lose everyone thinks you’re the worst,” Zavaleta said. “This is a group of players that want to win more than anything and believe in each other more than anything, and so you’re going to get some frustration along the way with those things.

“I was frustrated tonight. I wish that Riqui didn’t get so many yellow cards by yelling at refs because we need him to play every single game. And as we’ve seen, we’ve lost him already for a game for suspension. But he’s young and he’s learning and he’s frustrated. He gets kicked every single game, probably more than any player in the league and so I can only imagine how that feels. And Chicha (Hernández) is a leader for us and someone who’s not used to losing and doesn’t like to lose. I’ll take that over a bunch of guys who are comfortable being in the position that we are every single day.”

It was the first meeting between the teams since the Crew beat the Galaxy, 3-1, in May of 2019. Columbus improved to 4-0-2 in the last six matchups at home with the Galaxy, which has not won in Columbus since a 1-0 victory in September of 2011.


The Galaxy travel to play DC United on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PT.

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