Home is a battlefield: LA Galaxy lose 3-2 to Minnesota United

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The Los Angeles Galaxy lost at home again, as three first-half Minnesota United goals proved too much for the 10-man Galaxy to overcome and saw them lose 3-2.

L.A. is now winless in its last three home games, and the building Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney is trying to make “a fortress,” feels more like a hellish battlefield. For the third time this year, a visiting opponent has scored three goals on the Galaxy at home.

Home is a battlefield, LA Galaxy lose 3-2 to Minnesota

For all the talk of starting games well, L.A. went down a goal early again, for the fourth consecutive game. This time, an Emanuel Reynoso stunner in the ninth minute was the culprit.

Samuel Grandsir gave the diminutive Argentine space to shoot, and he wound up a curling effort with what Vanney called “a wand of a left foot” earlier in the week. A fully outstretched Jonathan Bond was powerless to stop the ball from sailing into the top left corner to make the score 1-0.

“We’ve seen this guy bury balls on us from outside the box too many times, and it’s really the one thing we talk about all week is not allowing him to get back onto his left foot when we have him out wide,” a frustrated Vanney expressed. “He gets back to his left foot and of course, he picks out the upper corner. It’s still a great shot, so you have to applaud him, but it’s just too casual defensively against a player that is special and has a special left foot.”

Los Angeles almost evened the score off a corner kick in the 14th minute when Derrick Williams headed the ball toward Victor Vazquez, whose headed effort was cleared off the line.

Kevin takes center stage

About 10 minutes later, Kevin Cabral would take center stage, and not in a good way.

The Frenchman was shown a straight red on 25 minutes for what match referee Ted Unkel called “dangerous play.” The Galaxy attacker lightly grazed Minnesota United Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair’s head while both were going for a 50/50 ball.

Video replays show Cabral is trying to pull out of the challenge, but St. Clair put in the dramatic performance of a lifetime to be able to sell the red card to Unkel. The controversial play forced the Galaxy to play a man down for 65 minutes plus stoppage time.

Incensed as to why the red was given, Vanney was shown a yellow card himself on 28 minutes for protesting the decision.

Things got worse a few minutes later, as Los Angeles was pegged back again to go down 2-0 in the 35th minute. A terrific cross from Kemar Lawrence on the left wing was met by Franco Fragapane at the back post, who finished the service off with a classy one-time volley.

Reynoso makes L.A. pay, again

Eight minutes later, Reynoso was at it again. A slick series of passes released Bongokuhle Hlongwane on the right wing, who capped off a nice run by cutting the ball back inside and dishing off to Minnesota’s #10 at the top of the box. Reynoso collected the ball coolly for a simple placed finish and his second goal of the game inside 43 minutes.

With the Galaxy down 3-0 thanks to Reynoso’s brace, the game felt mostly over. The halftime boos rang out again; the fourth time in the last six home matches G’s have voiced their displeasure.

Second half hope

The second half brought hope, however. Efrain Alvarez’s introduction for Victor Vazquez injected some life into the L.A. attack, and they started to get forward and threaten despite being down a man.

Their persistence paid off in the 59th minute when Alvarez was brought down in the box for a penalty. Mark Delgado would convert the spot-kick into the bottom right corner to make the score 3-1.

And so it continued. Despite playing with ten men, the Galaxy was on the front foot for most of the second half. They had opportunities to win this match and spurned them. Despondent fans started leaving in the 80th minute in droves, but they wouldn’t be privy to the flurry of late-game activity.

An impressive build-up play to make the score 3-2 in second-half injury time by Los Angeles brought even more hope to Galaxy fans.

They cycled the ball from Douglas Costa to Raheem Edwards on the left wing, who crossed for Daniel Aguirre on the right side of the box, for Aguirre to pass Dejan Joveljic a perfectly weighted ball at the penalty spot for his fifth goal in MLS play.

It would not be enough. Minnesota United would hold on for the victory and all three away points in a difficult but winnable match for L.A.

Galaxy Keeper Jonathan Bond agreed. “Yeah, it’s just at the moment, we’re getting punished. And you know, we had some chances that we didn’t convert, could have changed the game, but yeah, it’s we are in a bit of a moment where we need to show some character for sure.”

Late game red card

Los Angeles, for their part, would end the game by having Costa red-carded for an elbow to the back of Joseph Rosales’ neck. Together, he and Cabral will most likely serve a one-match ban for their red card performances. It was Costa’s first appearance since May 22nd.

Their suspensions further highlight the lack of attacking options at Vanney’s disposal. While Minnesota Designated Player Reynoso was running amok, Galaxy DPs were seeing red, and Costa and Cabral have as many red cards (2) as goals all season together.

The former Boca Juniors man gave the Galaxy defense fits, gifting them about 70 minutes of pain and two goals to remember him by. When the transfer window opens, Galaxy fans will be hoping to see someone in Reynoso’s mold that can unlock defenses in the final third.

Vanney claims the Galaxy is one or two players away from having the players he needs at his disposal to make an impact. The second-year coach also claims Douglas Costa can be the “new signing” the team needs.

“Getting Douglas [Costa] to maximum speed and getting him out there contributing will be helpful. If we can get him working, consistently, and able to perform game after game, it will be like a new signing because he wasn’t able to impact many of the games in the early part of the season because he just was stop-start so much,” Vanney explained.

Transfer window and looking ahead

As the team gets further into the season and the slide begins, his planned reinforcements (and Costa, the new signing) will need to settle and contribute immediately if Los Angeles is to correct course. The players already at Vanney’s disposal will have to step up and be “accountable and reliable.”

A failure to do so and this might be the point in the season that the Galaxy looks back on as the beginning of another missed postseason. A Fourth of July match against CF Montreal on Monday allows them the chance to taste victory again before a mouthwatering El Tráfico encounter against LAFC on July 8.


Photo: Los Angeles Galaxy.