DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – With two stars not starting on Sunday, D.C. United manager Ben Olsen needed someone to step up against the LA Galaxy. Under pressure for most of the game from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and company, Bill Hamid and Lucas Rodriguez stood tall in a game United desperately needed a result.
Bill Hamid, Lucas Rodriguez Lead D.C. United to Upset of LA Galaxy
The match started off at a frantic place. The Galaxy tried to combine with Cristian Pavon getting touches and trying to find Zlatan Ibrahimovic. D.C. United were more direct, attacking off long balls and goal kicks through Paul Arriola with Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta not starting.
Arriola opened the scoring in the 28th minute. Off a goal kick, Lucas Rodriguez found the American in behind who slotted the ball under goalkeeper David Bimgham who came off his line.
The game got physical after that with both teams going into aerial challenged recklessly. Ibrahimovic expressed frustration with the officials as players from both sides sustained blows and potential for injury. Los Angeles continued to create chances for Diego Polenta, Pavon, and Ibrahimovic.
United appeared to take the lead in the 38th minute with Rodriguez scoring on a rebound shot but VAR called the playoff correctly offside. Rodriguez was comfortably ahead of the last defender. The half ended 1-1 with goalkeeper Bill Hamid saving a shot on Uriel Antuna from right in front of goal.
Favio Alvarez tied the game in the 48th minute. He picked up the ball of a blocked volley by Ibrahimovic and shot past Hamid to the bottom corner.
Ibrahimovic nearly took the lead in the 71st minute with a volley off a set piece but Bill Hamid made the reflex save. Rodriguez got the winner on a counter attack two minutes later. Arriola was stopped twice by Bingham before Rodriguez scored on the rebound.
United parked the bus and the Galaxy couldn’t find a winner as desperate as they were in the final 10 minutes. The match ended 2-1.
— D.C. United (@dcunited) August 12, 2019
Benny Ball: With Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta not starting, United went back to basics. They defended for their lives and scored two goals on the counter.
Opportunities Missed: The Galaxy doubled up their opponent in possession and shots but had fewer shots on goal. United crowded them and blocked most of their chances. Bill Hamid was fantastic as well.
Playoff Implications: This game was massive for the playoffs for both sides. Despite outplaying the opponent, the Galaxy couldn’t get a result. United stay alive in the east with a huge win without their two best players.