CARSON, Calif. – Galaxy goalkeeper Matt Lampson hasn’t had many playing opportunities this season. Just one to be exact, an otherwise forgettable 4-0 loss to the Portland Timbers in a round-of-16 U.S. Open Cup match last month.
He understandably might have been a little rusty after getting the start in Tuesday’s Leagues Cup match against Club Tijuana at Dignity Health Sports Park, but he was anything but that in leading the five-time MLS Cup champions to a victory in penalty kicks in front of an appreciative crowd of 10,421. The teams fought to a 2-2 tie in regulation before the Galaxy won in penalties, 3-1.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Lampson said, “that’s what we did. Credit to our guys, this is what we were playing for. They did a great job.”
The Galaxy went with a lineup that was missing six starters – striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, midfielders Uriel Antuna and Jonathan dos Santos, defenders Dan Steres and Rolf Feltscher and goalkeeper David Bingham – and sent out two 17-year-olds (Julian Araujo and Efrain Alvarez) and two 21-year-olds (Ethan Zubiak and Kai Koreniuk, fresh up from Galaxy II) to go up against one of the better teams in Liga MX.
And, of course, there also was Lampson who patiently had waited for an opportunity to play. He definitely made the most of it Tuesday.
“He did really well,” defender Dave Romney said. “Getting games for goalies is huge, and he hasn’t had a chance to get a lot of games, whether it’s with the (Galaxy) II’s or anything like that.
“I thought he played well and obviously came up big on the PKs.”
The 30-year-old, who joined the Galaxy after being taken in the second round of the 2018 MLS Re-Entry Draft last December, said he simply did what he was supposed to do. He stopped three of four penalty attempts, with only Club Tijuana’s Ariel Nahuelpan beating him.
“Listen,” Lampson told reporters. “Goalkeepers get paid to do their job, and my job is to keep the ball out of the net. And I let it in three times today, if I can count correctly. I didn’t do it perfectly, but I did enough for us to win the game.
“The rest of my team is the reason we won tonight. Because to put two away on a team like that is really impressive. And for us to come through in penalty kicks … I only did half the job. They did the rest.
“It speaks for the quality of guys we have on the team, the depth that we have because a lot of these guys didn’t get a lot of minutes this year and they came in and proved they can play with a top-tier team of Liga MX,” he went on. “I’m proud to be part of the group, and I’m proud of the guys that played tonight. It’s a huge accomplishment.”
Lampson admitted it has been difficult to stay sharp through his season-long inactivity, but the eight-year MLS veteran has persevered.
“I train every day, and I’m trying to push David (Bingham) to be as good as he can,” he said. “He’s been excellent this year. It is tough; you need games. Unfortunately, we didn’t do well in Portland in the game that I got, but this is another opportunity.
“That’s what I told the guys before the game, this is an opportunity to show what we’ve got and get more minutes for the guys that haven’t played. It’s a fun test, and I’m really happy to be fighting with these guys. It’s a great group, the whole team. I mean, the starters that weren’t even on the bench today came out on the field and celebrated with us.
“That’s the type of group we have, and it says a lot about the locker room that we’ve got. For us to come out and get a result is a huge accomplishment for the team we have out there.”