For the third straight week, Minnesota came out with the same lineup. Against Vancouver and San Jose that lineup helped the team start the season out with two wins. Would the lineup be able to have the same level of success against the LA Galaxy, a team with much better wide players?
In goal was Vito Mannone, having claimed the starting job over last year’s netminder Bobby Shuttleworth. In front of the goalkeeper were Michael Boxall and Ike Opara, with Francisco Calvo and Romain Métanire guarding the flanks. Osvaldo Alonso was the defensive six, while Ján Greguš played a more advanced role in center midfield.
On the wings were Rasmus Schüller and Miguel Ibarra, with Romario Ibarra and Darwin Quintero in the attacking roles up top.
The Galaxy were without talismanic forward Zlatan Ibrahimović, who missed his second consecutive game due to injury.
As two teams who were looking to improve upon their 2018 results, both Minnesota and Los Angeles came out looking like they had something to prove. Kicking off around 9:45 central time, those who stayed up late to watch the tilt saw an uneven, but eventful match.
Minnesota was without their gaffer Adrian Heath, out with a dental issue. Without their coach, the team struggled to sort out their defense, often looking out of position. The team’s attack requires the full backs to play very advanced and, so far this season, the team has been able to react to counter attacks well.
LA Galaxy found it easy to exploit the space, with Sebastian Lletget and Chris Pontius both finding lots of success along the left side of Minnesota’s defense.
While it was a penalty that ultimately gave the Galaxy the lead, the goal was created because LA had plenty of space within the attacking third. In the 36th minute, Emmanuel Boatang came back to get the ball, and, unpressured, sent a cross into the box that was knocked down in front of Uriel Antuna. Alonso tried to get position, but was deemed to have fouled the striker. Jonathan Dos Santos would convert the penalty giving the hosts the lead.
Pontius would double the lead after some excellent give and go opened up lots of space on the left side of Minnesota’s box. Again, no one was pressuring the cross in, and Pontius was able to redirect the pass into the back of the net in the 41st minute.
Minnesota made a match of it in the second half. After struggling to create much for most of the game, newcomer Greguš took a shot from the top of the box that knuckled past Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham to cut the lead in half.
The Galaxy was not done, however, and their third goal would prove necessary to preserve the victory. Lletget was given space to dribble the ball towards Minnesota’s box before sending it wide to Antuna. Once again, the cross was uncontested, and no one had marked Lletget with his run into the box. His goal in the 81st minute seemed to seal the victory.
Minnesota replied when late match substitute Ángelo Rodríguez pounced on a loose ball in the 87th minute to again make the match a one goal affair. The home side locked it down after that and the match finished 3-2 in favor of the Galaxy.
With an international break upcoming, the team will need to figure out how prevent the defensive lapses that led to the three goals and ensure they do not continue to happen.
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