Tonight the LA Galaxy II held their winning streak but played down to OKC’s level. It made for a tepid night of soccer as Los Dos rode three goals from the first half and a stoppage time stinger to a 4–2 victory.
Energy FC found the first goal in the 8th minute. Where Oscar Sorto hesitated on a crucial clearance, OKC’s Pete Doue did not — Doue calmly put it away for the early lead. But the Energy wouldn’t stay ahead long. Not six minutes later LA’s player-coach veteran Laurent Courtois placed a free kick from outside the box into a mess of bodies in it, and somehow nabbed a point.
I was just basically putting the ball in the right spot — so that if anybody touched it, it was going to go in the goal. And that’s what happened. —Laurent Courtois
But despite the back-and-forth tallies, neither team could quite get a grip on the game for most of the first half. LA played long passes, over-the-top and sloppy, and was much too slow at transitioning into counterattacks.
Nevertheless, in the 35th minute Los Dos pulled ahead and stayed there. Jack McBean sent a gorgeous, arcing cross toward the 6, and Chandler Hoffman managed to out-jump OKC’s defender and get a head on it. It was a singular flash of brilliance in an otherwise unspectacular night for the two strikers.
I had a little bit of space — the center back had to step over to [Jack McBean] and I was able to find a gap and put the ball away. It was a good goal for us, to get us up. —Chandler Hoffman
LA chalked up one more before the half, when Daniel Steres headed home a well-placed corner from André Auras. Tonight marked Auras’s first minutes for the Galaxy II, and the French newcomer’s pinpoint passing made for one of the game’s few bright spots. As for Steres, he’s now converted two corner-kicks, and in danger of earning a reputation:
I was in the league last year and [Energy FC] has a couple guys that I played with last year. So some of these guys know me and I hear them yelling in the box [to mark me]. But I’ve been lucky, I guess you could say, to get my head on them — and if they start marking me other guys will get open and we’ll still score. —Daniel Steres
Los Dos had one more chance before the half when McBean found himself one-on-one with the keeper — but unfortunately sent his shot flying over the goal. It was a flub that nearly came back to haunt them. In the second half the Energy came out much more dangerous. They made chances and managed to score once more, putting the game within a point.
Chandler Hoffman summed it up best: “When we let them score that second goal, to make it 3–2, then it’s a dogfight until the end.” A smart set-up from Raul Mendiola in stoppage time let Alexander Djokovic end any lingering hope for the visitors — but the G’s poor showing overall soured the celebration.
I wasn’t pleased at all with our second half performance. I thought it was poor; I think we were too lax. The two goal cushion sometimes can haunt you. And to their credit they pushed, and they pushed, and they pushed… It’s a second half where our youth, our inexperience came out, and we have to learn from those occasions. —Curt Onalfo, head coach
LA nearly let OKC back into a game that should’ve been well out of reach. If there are any lessons in that rough second half, Los Dos have less than a week to learn them. On Sunday they’ll stare down Sacramento Republic FC for the second time this year.