The LA Galaxy gave up two late goals to draw with the Houston Dynamo 3-3. This ends their three-game road trip (0-2-1) and waste goals by Romain Alessandrini and Bradford Jamieson IV.
But a result away from Houston — a 2-0 win by FC Dallas over the Colorado Rapids — would ultimately end the Galaxy’s playoff chances with about 30-minutes left in the game. For the Galaxy (7-17-7; 28 points), it’s the first time they’ve missed the playoffs since 2008 and only the fourth time they’ve been left out of the postseason in the franchises 22 years.
But the draw at BBVA Compass Stadium will be remembered for more than just the place the 2017 Galaxy finally saw their season end. No, it will also be remembered for the crazy way in which it started – on an own goal – and the crazy way in which it finished – with the Dynamo scoring twice after the 80th-minute.
The game started with the Galaxy’s Romain Alessandrini putting a cross into the box from the end line. The ball was to no particular teammate, but it eventually found its way past Dynamo defenders and then bounced up off of Demarcus Beasley and into his own net. The Galaxy took the early lead in the 3rd-minute.
They doubled that lead nine minutes later when Ashley Cole intercepted a poor clearance from the Dynamo backline. Cole darted forward, dodging a few half-hearted attempts to strip him of the ball before moving inside as Alessandrini went outside. The ball was expertly touched to Alessandrini and in full stride, he hit it forcefully past Dynamo goalkeeper, Tyler Deric.
Alessandrini now has 11 goals and ten assists on the year and has scored twice in as many games and has been a true bright spot for a team that has generally been atrocious.
But the Dynamo (10-10-10; 40 points) would pull one back before halftime as Dave Romney and Alessandrini would fail to box out Tomás Martínez who would push-pass a shot past Clement Diop from about ten yards out. The goal would be the first of some bad defending on the night and would give the Dynamo a foothold to build on in the second half.
Coming out of the half, the Galaxy, however, would attempt to put a stranglehold on the game. A stranglehold that would eventually fail, but not until the Galaxy would go up 3-1 (the most dangerous scoreline in soccer?).
Jonathan dos Santos intercepted a pass in the midfield and his redirection found Rafa Garcia perfectly. Garcia’s ball hit Giovani dos Santos in stride. With a shift of his weight, Giovani dos Santos cleared two Dynamo defenders and softly laid a ball to a streaking Bradford Jamieson IV who lasered a shot past Deric and gave the Galaxy a two-goal lead.
It was Jamieson’s second goal of the year.
And all would go well for the Galaxy, despite the Dynamo hitting the woodwork multiple times and pressuring the Galaxy for large portions, until the 84th-minute when Romney would miss-play the ball on a choppy field and allow Dynamo forward Alberth Elis to streak towards goal. Diop crashed out of his net unnecessarily, sliding past Elis and leaving Galaxy rookie, 19-year old, Hugo Arellano to keep him out of the net.
What transpired was Arellano going to ground and then walking his body into Elis who was struggling to get control of the ball in the box. The horizontal Arellano eventually fouled Elis in the penalty box to award the Dynamo a penalty that was easily converted.
The Dynamo would go on to tie the game in the 88th-minute when Elis would put a header past Diop after successive corners found their way through. Gyasi Zardes didn’t jump to follow his man and instead allowed a wide-open header. The goal sealed the 3-3 draw despite the six minutes of added time.
All-in-all, the Galaxy defense did a ton of defending, which wouldn’t necessarily be noticed in a game in which they allowed three goals. Zardes, who played at right-back for the second consecutive game was much better than he was in the Galaxy’s previous loss to Sporting KC.
Romney and Cole were also solid getting on the end of many crosses and foiling many attacks that made their way into the box. The defense, which has been pasted together with converted right-backs, USL players, and old Europeans has now given up 61 goals on the season. Second only to 1998’s 62 goals (30-game season). And while it’s never been worse in terms of results, it was better on the night than it has been.
“We definitely were tired at the end of the game,” Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the game. “With the heat and this is our fourth game in ten days. We don’t have a lot of depth, so we have to play a lot of the same players, so it was a bit much on them and we started making some errors. It was tough at the end, like I said we made some mental mistakes, gave the ball away when we shouldn’t have, due to fatigue.”
The Galaxy ended up being outshot 27-8. But only five of those shots would find their way on goal for the Dynamo with four shots on goal for the Galaxy. The final tally not really flattering to either team.
And while it may have been another case of the Galaxy collapsing late in the game, in reality, it was probably one of their better showings under Schmid. Their 3-0 victory over Colorado didn’t show the same flashes of passing and ball control that the Galaxy were able to show in spurts tonight.
Jonathan dos Santos had one of his better outings in a Galaxy kit and, his brother, Giovani dos Santos, had moments of being dangerous but only when he kept himself high in the attacking zone. There were several times in the first half he would drop back into the midfield to combine with his brother which allowed Alessandrini to press forward but on the night, Giovani dos Santos will be remembered more for an early exit, than anything spectacular he did on the field.
Giovani dos Santos would finish with an assist on the night.
The Galaxy will travel home for their next two games. Real Salt Lake will enter StubHub center on Saturday (September 30) and Minnesota United FC will make their first-ever appearance in Carson on October 15 after a two-week international break.
For the 2017 Galaxy — out of the playoffs, likely to concede more goals than any team in franchise history, and guaranteed of finishing below 1.10 points per game (the previous franchise record for fewest points per game; 2008) — any positivity should be built on. Because come October 22, the Galaxy’s last game of the season, the obituaries of a team that has fallen so deep into despair, in less than 365 days, aren’t going to be pretty.
Players will be blamed, coaches will be blamed, and front office staff will be blamed. And ultimately, People will lose their jobs as management and fans come to grips with the worst team in Galaxy history.