The LA Galaxy picked up an all-important road win against Minnesota United FC on Sunday at TFC Bank Stadium. The game ended 2-1 in favor of Los Angeles, with a goal from Giovanni Dos Santos and an own goal from Christian Ramirez in the second half. Ironically, MNUFC’s Ramirez had scored the Loons’ equalizing goal just minutes before scoring the own goal that ended up being the game-winner for LA.
Both teams struggled to find their shape early on in the match, as no team had clear possession for the first 15 to 20 minutes. Dos Santos opened up the scoring in the 38th minute with a lovely little flick on frame off a pass from Romain Alessandrini. This goal, worthy of Goal of the Week candidate merits, finally puts the concerns of “LA forwards being unable to score during the run of play” to bed. What should continue to be a concern to Galaxy fans, however, is the lack of shots taken by the team. The Galaxy only had 8 shots in this game, compared to 22 shots from Minnesota, but luckily for LA, Brian Rowe came up big with several quick, reaction saves when necessary. Minnesota’s lone goal, coming from Christian Ramirez in the 66th minute, stemmed from a barrage of shot after shot from the Loons, seeming to only be a matter of time until one of their many chances finally hit the back of the net. The game-winning goal came off a set piece from Alessandrini, with a clearance gone wrong from Christian Ramirez in the 84th minute. The Galaxy were able to hold off last stitch efforts in the closing minutes from MNUFC, to win the game 2-1.
Baggio Husidic suffered an ugly knee or leg injury in the 6th minute, causing him to be replaced by Rafael Garcia very early in the match. Adam Serrano reported that Curt Onalfo was stating it was a broken leg.
“Baggio looks to have a broken leg and it’s really unfortunate. I don’t think the turf helped him and I think that stuff needs to be looked at closer. The surface doesn’t make for a great soccer game and we picked up a pretty nasty injury so we are pretty upset about it. Joao has a little bit of a hamstring issue and we will have to re-evaluate once the doctors look at him.” Curt Onalfo, Head Coach LA Galaxy
While burning a substitution that early in the match is never ideal, the timing came before either team had really found their rhythm, so Garcia was able to adapt rather easily when he entered. Further injury concerns for LA came a little later in the game with Jelle Van Damme limping away from a challenge in the first half, and Joao Pedro being subbed off in the closing minutes of the game after remaining down on the turf for several moments. Assessments from the medical staff in the coming days will give a clearer picture of the severity of these injuries and how they will affect player availability down the road.
“I got my knee a little blocked, but I played through. The three points helped a lot. Honestly, with all respect, this is the worse field I ever played on- in this league. It can only cause you injuries. I think soccer needs to be played on grass.” Jelle Van Damme, LA Galaxy
Looking ahead, the Galaxy will face the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday, May 27th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, CA, for this year’s first meeting of the California Classico. This will be the third game in a four-game road trip, of which the Galaxy have earned 6 out of 6 possible points so far. Concerns regarding depth are still looming over this team, potentially worsening with yet another midfield option in Baggio Husidic being unavailable due to injury. However, the Galaxy have begun to show signs of stabilizing through a sturdy defense and finding a way to score goals, so things might be continuing in the right direction after a shaky start to the season.