LA Galaxy wins second straight in comfortable 3-0 away victory

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The LA Galaxy has remembered how to win at just the right time winning their second straight and earning three points in back-to-back games since Aug. 4.

A comfortable 3-0 away victory in Houston moved the Galaxy up to fifth place, just one point behind Portland, with four matches left, and greatly improved their playoff chances. Better still, it puts the Galaxy within striking distance of the top four and the opportunity of hosting a first-round home playoff match because of Portland dropping points.

Galaxy wins second straight in comfortable 3-0 away at Houston

The Galaxy’s win, their first in Houston since 2016, was decided by the 46th minute when Kevin Cabral got behind the Houston defense from a lovely Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez assist, his third dime this year.

Cabral showed his cool to cut back the ball, take a touch and slot home his fifth goal of the season into the bottom left.

“With today, hopefully, he can get that confidence back in a way, and he can be more ruthless, because that’s going to help us,” Hernandez said of Cabral’s performance where the Frenchman scored one and made one. “I mean apart from the goal, he had a very good performance and so did the whole team.”

The goal capped off a slick passing move by the Galaxy in which they strung together 18 passes to get Cabral free, who did not waste the opportunity to kill off the game.

The first goal was Cabral’s doing as well, earning the penalty that got the Galaxy ahead in the 38th minute.

Game over by halftime

Veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan scored for his second game in a row, to virtually the same spot he sent his last penalty against Portland and in doing so rewarded Los Angeles Head Coach Greg Vanney for starting him by scoring his fifth goal. The goal set the tone for the Galaxy who are 12-2-2 when scoring the first goal.

L.A. kept the pressure on Houston and a Zarek Valentin own-goal made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time and took most of the fight out of the Dynamo until Cabral’s goal directly out of halftime completed the rout.

The relative ease with which the Galaxy won allowed Vanney to rest key players early, withdrawing Hernandez and right-back Julian Araujo, the latter who’ll miss the home match against FC Dallas with yellow card accumulation.

The Defense rests

It also allowed Vanney, who won his 100th regular-season game as an MLS coach, to focus on his defense, which earned their first shutout win since Aug. 14.

Galaxy keeper Jonathan Bond made seven saves in the shutout win and earned MLS team of the week honors for his commanding performance joining teammate Cabral, who made the bench.

Bond said after the game that the team’s belief has been building and Vanney singled out Nick Depuy in particular for the defense’s good showing in the victory.

“I thought he was he was huge,” Vanney confessed. “I mean, he was in the right position almost every single time. He was dealing with crosses, dealing with clearances all over the place, covering things. I mean, I think he’s been outstanding. His reading out of the game is getting better and better.”

It’s all coming together for Vanney, Depuy, and Los Angeles, who has a chance to go into fourth place on Saturday at home with a win over Dallas and a Portland loss or tie.

With four games left, Los Angeles’ most important stretch of games is here.

Fortunately, the Galaxy has remembered how to win at just the right time.

 

 

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Galaxy.