— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) October 15, 2017
Minnesota was back to full strength after missing several key players to international duty. Francisco Calvo and Michael Boxall returned from the Costa Rica and New Zealand national teams respectively. Both players would return to the center of the defense replacing last match’s goal scorer, Brent Kallman and Joseph Greenspan, who was serving a one-match red card suspension. Marc Burch and Jérôme Thiesson lined up as the full backs, completing the back line in front of Bobby Shuttleworth. Ibson and Collin Martin continued their partnership in the center of the midfield. Kevin Molino returned from international duty with Trinidad and Tobago and replaced Miguel Ibarra on the left wing opposite of Ethan Finlay. For the second straight match, Adrian Heath chose to start two forwards up top: Christian Ramirez and Abu Danladi.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 15, 2017
Starting in between the posts for Los Angeles was Clément Diop. Dave Romney and Michaël Ciani made up the center of defense as Ashley Cole took his place at left back and Bradley Diallo replaced an injured Gyasi Zardes at right back. Jermaine Jones and Jonathan dos Santos made up the center of the midfield with Romain Alessandrini and Emmanuel Boateng flanking them. Up top for the Galaxy was Bradford Jamieson IV (who has scored two goals in his past two games) and Giovanni dos Santos, who scored in the last meeting between these two teams.
The match started slowly. Early on, both teams were trying to feel the other out. A lot of long balls forward from each team. The first half-chance came off of a corner. Danladi was released with a long, lofted ball forward and Romney sent the ball out for a corner. The corner found Finlay who flicked on to the back post. Calvo tried a volley which skied into the stands. Boxall was waiting behind Calvo and could have had a better effort if the ball had fallen to him.
The first goal fell to Los Angeles in the 11th minute. Giovanni dos Santos was fouled unnecessarily by Molino. Giovanni dos Santos would play the free kick quickly to Alessandrini. Alessandrini dribbled expertly into the box and found space between Burch and Martin and let loose. His shot nestled into the low corner of the far post.
After the goal, Los Angeles started to control the game. Fouls outside the box gave the Galaxy free kicks in dangerous positions. Luckily, neither free-kick amounted to much for the Galaxy.
In the 22nd minute, the Galaxy scored their second goal in spectacular fashion. Alessandrini sent in a beauty of a cross to Jonathan dos Santos. Jonathan dos Santos headed the ball over Shuttleworth’s outstretched hand and hit the crossbar and bounced over the line. Initially, the referee did not call a goal but VAR overturned the call and rightfully gave the goal. After the goal, Minnesota switched from a 4-4-2 to its familiar 4-2-3-1.
Minnesota had its best chance in the 31st minute as Burch sent a cross into the box. The cross was flicked on by Molino and fell to Finlay. Finlay chested the ball down and shot straight at Diop. Danladi latched on to the rebound but sent his shot wide for a goal kick.
Another point-blank chance for Finlay came in the 38th minute. Ibson went on a marauding run through the midfield and into the Los Angeles box. Ibson placed a cross right onto an unmarked Finlay’s boot. Once again Finlay shot right into Diop.
After one minute of stoppage time, the half came to a close. Minnesota was sluggish in possession and squandered its best chances to score. The Galaxy was not that much better with the ball, but they capitalized on their chances through Alessandrini and Jonathan dos Santos.
Minnesota made two changes at the break. Collen Warner and Miguel Ibarra were subbed on for Molino and Martin. Los Angeles also made a change as Jamieson made way for Ariel Lassiter. With the subs, a tactical change also came for Minnesota. Finlay moved to the No. 10 spot in place of Molino, while Ibarra moved to the left wing.
As the half wore on, the Galaxy seemed content to sit back and absorb pressure from the Minnesota attack. When Minnesota would turn the ball over, Los Angeles would look to counter-attack. The Loons kept on attacking throughout the second half with little to show for it. Each attack either lacked a final pass or was thwarted by Ciani and Romney who were fantastic in defense for the Galaxy.
In the 58th minute, Danladi collided with Jones. A heavy touch by Danladi led to a foot race with Jones. Jones swung and missed at the ball and laid his shoulder into Danladi. No foul was called, but the rookie obviously hurt his shoulder. He came off a couple of minutes later to receive treatment. After a sideline visit with the trainers, Danladi finished the match.
The second half bore on with not much positive action from either team. Somehow the fourth official found three minutes to be added on at the end of the match. In the 93rd minute, another Loons attack was snuffed out by LA, and the ball was sent up to a streaking Alessandrini. With the last kick of the match, Alessandrini scored his second and the Loons were put out of their misery.
Credit to the Galaxy, they took their chances well and capitalized three times. They showed their fans what could be next season after a dreadful 2017 campaign. Minnesota was never really at the races. Its attack was inconsistent and its defense could not handle Alessandrini and the dos Santos brothers, coming to ABC Tuesdays this spring.
— FiftyFiveOne (@FiftyFiveOne) October 16, 2017
— FiftyFiveOne (@FiftyFiveOne) October 16, 2017
11′ GOAL LAG – Romain Alessandrini (12) Assisted by Giovanni dos Santos.
22′ GOAL LAG – Jonathan dos Santos (1) Assisted by Romain Alessandrini
44′ YC MIN – Jerome Thiesson ( Unsporting Behavior)
77′ YC MIN – Collen Warner (Unsporting Behavior)
83′ YC LAG – Michael Ciani (Time Wasting)
90+3′ GOAL LAG – Romain Alessandrini (13) Assisted by Jermaine Jones
FiftyFive.One is now on Patreon. Do you like the independent coverage of soccer news from Minnesota and beyond that FiftyFive.One offers? Please consider becoming a patron.