Carson, CA – The LA Galaxy may’ve come into this game with an injury list a mile long, but for the first time since July 15, 2016 they won a game at home. LA was able to outlast a heavily depleted Columbus Crew side, that had as many as 10 players injured or called up for international duty, by a score of 2-1 thanks to a wonder-strike from Baggio Husidic and a “chippy” Giovani Dos Santos.
The heavily revamped Galaxy lineup saw Sebastian Lletget reprise his role in the center of the midfield and introduced Raul Mendiola to anchor the left side. This was Mendiola’s first MLS Start although he did have some appearances for the first team in the US Open Cup this year.
Making a return to the lineup was AJ DeLaGarza and he slid into the center of defense in place of the injured Jelle Van Damme. Mike Magee and Giovani dos Santos rounded out the attack with Emmanuel Boateng a speedy option on the left. And it was up to Jeff Larentowicz to hold down the spot vacated by the transfer of Nigel De Jong.
The first half saw the LA Galaxy start slow. Brian Rowe was forced to make five saves in the opening 45 minutes and several in the opening minutes. The first chance, in the second minute probably should’ve been better and LA seemed unsure of how to play in the 4-4-2 lineup. The defense was porous and definitely missed the defensive bite from both Van Damme and De Jong.
But they somehow were able to ride out the pressure from Columbus and take over the game in toward the end of the half.
Overall there were signs that the LA Galaxy were finding their rhythm and that Giovani dos Santos might find a goal on the night. He was active in the first half and made several runs up the field that were dangerous. He was running toward goal instead of trying to constantly cut back and he seemed to be creating some problems for Columbus.
Emmanuel Boateng also had a good first half as he was able to use his speed to constantly take Hector Jimenez out of position and get good crosses in. It was one of the more consistent pereormcane for Boateng who really should’ve had a goal with a brilliant run down the spine of the The Crew in the second half.
But the first goal to come for the LA Galaxy was one that no one saw coming.
Baggio Husidic entered the match in the 65th minute and replaced Mike Magee. This shifted the formation to allow Sebastian Lletget to be a striker beside or Giovani dos Santos and put Baggio Husidic next to Jeff Larentowicz. Normally that pairing doesn’t provide much offense but Husidic had a different idea in mind for this game.
His strike came in the 78th minute, and it was from an acute angle set to left side of the box about 30 yards from goal. He took one touch and fired a rocket that seemed to knuckle off his foot. It went across the goal and by Columbus goal keeper Steve Clark. The rocket broke the 0-0 deadlock and propelled the Galaxy ahead of a tiring Crew.
Husidic said of the strike “Usually I don’t shoot from there, but I didn’t have anything to lose. I got a good ball and took a decent touch and just went for it. Bit of a tight angle, but it went in and I was glad to score a goal.”
“At first when I got it and took a touch forward, I wasn’t going to shoot it, I just took a touch to cross the ball and find someone. But it just played out perfectly and I took a chance. We’ve been talking about it all week, to be a bit selfish and shoot the ball, and I did.” Baggio Husidic, LA Galaxy Midfielder
Dos Santos, despite his dangerous moves, scored 4 minutes later on something that wasn’t dangerous at all. Columbus played the ball back toward safety but instead lead Dos Santos in on goal. Gio was patient with his chip and took it over Clark and into the back of the goal for the 2-0 lead.
It wasn’t until stoppage time that Columbus was able to pull one back when a Penalty kick was called on Steres, who may’ve been taken down by another player before falling into Columbus attacker Ola Kamara.
Brian Rowe was up to the task of stopping the penalty shot, but Columbus’ Adam Jahn was there for the finish. And it momentarily made the game close.
But when the final whistle blew it was the Galaxy who came out victorious. It put an end to their six game winless streak and was their first win in front of the home crowd since a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo in the middle of July. Their first win overall since July 23rd’s victory over the Timbers in Portland.
But the task of winning more games will get more difficult as the Galaxy’s next game will be on the road against Real Salt Lake midweek (September 7th) before coming back to host Orlando City on September 11th.
MAN OF THE MATCH
This may never happen again so it’s important to recognize Baggio Hasidic for that goal. Normally a Baggio sighting is in the negative. But his substation probably rescued the game for the Galaxy. He came up big when LA needed to and for that we’ll give him the nod.
Honorable mention goes to Giovani dos Santos who was not invisible tonight and Emmanuel Boateng (a recent podcast guest) for contributing to the dangerous chance LA had most of the night from his side. If you’re an LA Galaxy fan you want him to get better. Now is the time. Let’s work on that finishing.
BRUCE ARENA GETS 200 MLS WINS
Bruce Arena got win number 200 for the LA Galaxy. Making him only the second coach in League history to achieve that number. The other is Sigi Schmid.
Bruce after the game, when asked about his accomplishment, said “I think when you win a fair amount of games and you’re coaching it’s because you have good teams and good players. I think that’s the most important thing.” He continued “I’m honored to have just coached some great players in this league and that’s the reason why I’ve been able to pile up a few wins along the way.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brian Rowe has been consistent all year – even after that last minute choke job in Montreal (we can’t forget). He was solid for the Galaxy tonight, especially in the first minutes that saw the ‘keeper tested on several saves. Rowe finished the night with 7 saves (5 in the first half) and should’ve had a shutout, even when he saved the penalty kick but couldn’t keep out the rebound.
“It’s definitely frustrating. I’ll have to check the replay [of the penalty save]… I thought I was there for the second one, and it just snuck through my legs.” Brian Rowe, LA Galaxy ‘Keeper
LA – Baggio Husidic (Assisted by Sebastian Lletget) 78’
LA – Giovani dos Santos (Assisted by Robbie Rogers) 82’