Carson, CA — The LA Galaxy, backed by two goals from striker Ariel Lassiter, beat FC Golden State Force by a score of 3-1 on Wednesday night at the StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
And while the Galaxy outshot Golden State 19 to nine on the night and nine to four on target, there were some moments where the result was definitely in question for the professional side.
The Galaxy dressed a decidedly reserve team against Golden State — an amateur team that plays in the Premier Development League (PDL). Only Dan Steres and Emmanuel Boateng cleared the line of senior team regulars, and the Galaxy loaned up five players from their LA Galaxy II squad (USL) which complemented a handful of Galaxy players that were on MLS contracts but playing down with “Los Dos.”
Defender John Requejo (USL), midfielder Julian Büscher (USL), and forward Ethan Zubak (USL) all made their first starts for the senior team after being loaned up to the Galaxy. Goalkeeper Erick Lopez (USL) and striker Frank Lopez (USL) rounded out the five loanees from Galaxy II.
The scoring started early for the five-time MLS Cup champs, with Bradford Jamieson — fully recovered from concussion issues and other injuries sustained before the season started — took a short pass from Requejo just inside their offensive box. Jamieson was able to clear just enough room to hit a curling right-footed shot that easily found the side netting on the far post to beat ‘keeper Jose Miranda in the 15-minute.
“It always feels good scoring goals,” Jamieson told reporters after the game. “It’s a confidence boost and there’s a lot of little things people don’t see, so it’s good to push through in the match.”
22 minutes later (37’), Ari Lassiter would make his presence felt when he took a long switching pass from Büscher into the box. The ball was slightly behind Lassiter, but he saw that early and adjusted for the overhead kick. His left foot swept into the air as he kept the defender at bay.
The ball looped gracefully into the back of the net at the far post as Miranda stood, flat-footed, unable to even make an attempt on the ball.
The Galaxy had built up a strong lead at halftime and had seen mostly one-way traffic for that half. The Galaxy’s Joao Pedro, along with partners Büscher and Jamieson bossed the midfield and controlled the pace. And with Jamieson, Boateng, and Zubak all active on the night, the Galaxy were the faster, quicker team. Boateng especially making strong runs on both sides of the ball to keep Golden State away from too many dangerous chances.
But Golden State came out of half-time with some determination and forced an early goal to suddenly throw the game’s result back into question.
Pedro Fonseca was able to dispossess the Galaxy in their own end and quickly turned that mistake into points as he buried the shot past Galaxy goalkeeper Just Vom Steeg.
Vom Steeg would end up making only three saves on the night, but several other shots skimmed by the post or saw Golden State fizzle out as they got closer to goal. The Galaxy were under pressure and Golden State could feel the momentum shift.
With multiple misses on the night, the Galaxy seemed a bit shell-shocked to be close to allowing the tying goal. Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid brought first-team-starter Sebastian Lletget off the bench in the 73-minute and eventually brought on Servando Carrasco in the 84-minute.
But Boateng, after making a late game 50-yard sprint, that in all reality probably kept the tying goal from being scored, had some other plans. He got the ball back to the feet of Lassiter who was just inside the box on the right-hand side. He took a few touches and, with his left foot, stroked a perfectly weighted shot around the defender, and past the goalkeeper for the 3-1 lead in the 85-minute.
“I think my overall play, I don’t think that it was all there as I wanted to be,” Lassiter said after the game. “But that’s just me being a perfectionist. At the end of the day, I bagged two goals, and that’s the important part, that we win the game, moving on to the next round, and that’s all that matters.”
“It was good for us,” Schmid added. “Because we got to mix the team a little bit and got to rest some guys that we wanted to rest.
“Take nothing away from FC Golden State,” he continued. “I thought they played really well in the second half. They tried to push the tempo. We made it more exciting than it needed to be because we had chances where we could have ended it in the first half. It was a little more of a battle than I wanted in the second half, but it was Okay.”
The Galaxy will move on to the round of 16 where they’ll now take on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park — a team they just faced last weekend in a 1-1 draw. That game will take place on Friday, June 15 at 8 p.m. with streaming options likely available for the match.
UPDATED: 6.7.18 AT 2:15 PM with the time and date for the Galaxy’s matchup with the Portland Timbers