Los Angeles Galaxy manhandles Montreal 4-0

Sacha Kljestan
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The Los Angeles Galaxy celebrated the Fourth of July the best way possible; by giving G’s a fireworks show in a “complete” 4-0 win at home against CF Montreal on Monday night. 

Two consecutive home losses in their previous matches, games in which they conceded first, left the Galaxy and Sacha Kljestan fighting an uphill battle in both and earned them boos from fans.

Galaxy manhandles Montreal 4-0

Against Montreal, however, they started the game with the intensity Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney has been seeking. 

L.A. defended well enough not to concede first, got on the scoresheet early, and it changed the game. It ultimately led to a comfortable and much-needed win.

“The first goal is, again, really important. The intention of our group was to come out with just a different level of intensity. And a bit more directness from the start, like I said. So, I thought that got us going,” Vanney said.

“I thought our guys were sprinting right off the bat. Sometimes, we’ve had a couple of home games that we’ve been so calculated at the start, that we haven’t really gotten ourselves going until we’re down a goal. And so the intention tonight was really to spur our energy.”

Indeed, the energy they showed against Minnesota United, by grabbing two goals in the second half in a late failed comeback, was on full display.

Two is better than one?

Forced into a lineup change because of red card suspensions, Vanney opted to start with two strikers in Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Dejan Joveljić.

The second-year coach was rewarded within nine minutes with Chicharito’s first goal in four games.

Samuel Grandsir sent in a cross from the left-wing that Efrain Alvarez did well to battle for in the box. Alvarez was able to redirect the cross to the back post with a glancing header. That second chance ball fell for Chicharito to half-volley into the bottom right of Sebastian Breza’s net for the 1-0 Galaxy lead.

It was the captain’s team-leading seventh goal of the season. L.A. improved to 7-1-1 when scoring the opening goal of a match.

“Like I have always said it, in my position to score goals, it’s always going to be something that gives you a lot of confidence and motivation,” Chicharito shared. “But then when those goals help and transform them in like victories or points is always unbelievable, you know?” 

Chicharito’s goal was the first time in five games Los Angeles has scored first, and despite Montreal having a chance or two in transition, the Galaxy did not let up on the pressure. 

Joveljić won another second chance ball in second-half stoppage time, and his header was handled in the box by Montreal defender Joel Waterman. 

Referee Tim Ford went to VAR to verify, and in the end, gave a penalty which Joveljić coolly slotted into the bottom right of the net for a 2-0 scoreline at the half.

Rayan Rules

If the first half belonged to Chicharito and Joveljić, the second half had Rayan Raveloson’s influence all over it.

Playing in a more advanced role, the midfielder registered the first two-goal performance in his career for the Galaxy. Substitute Daniel Aguirre, who earned high praise from Vanney again, would get the assist along with Julian Araujo.  

Aguirre slipped in a pass that released Araujo down the right-wing. Araujo played a hard cross across the face of goal to Rayan Raveloson, who converted from close range at the far post with a simple tap-in on 60 minutes.

Up 3-0 and cruising, Vanney took Chicharito off and replaced him with Sacha Kljestan. Kljestan, who made his first appearance since May 18, wasted no time making an impact. 

He would receive a ball at the top of the area from Raheem Edwards and play it out right to Araujo. 

What happened next is pure filth from the veteran midfielder.

Araujo immediately played it back to Kljestan, who pulled off an audacious back heel through the Montreal defense directly to the feet of Raveloson, for him to power home his second of the day and make the score 4-0 on 79 minutes.

Classy Kljestan

It was Sacha Kljestan’s 99th career assist in his 321st MLS regular-season appearance. He has scored one goal and produced two assists in his last three games played, dating back to May 14.

Vanney spoke of how much the team missed Kljestan’s “cool, calm, and collected” presence and, of course, spoke of his incredible back heel. 

“That was class. I asked him if he meant it, or if he was just trying to clear the ball to play forward, so he could forecheck. But, no, he saw it. He meant it,” a clearly impressed Vanney said. 

Despite his assist, Kljestan’s most important moment of the night would come postgame, when he refused to speak about the victory. Instead, he used his platform to address the recent shootings across the nation.

He spoke for about two minutes and then made way for a sore and hobbled Mark Delgado. 

Delgado did much of the unsung dirty work in the midfield, freeing up Raveloson to get forward. That role for both, as with the Chicha/Dejan partnership, clearly worked. He agreed with Vanney about the team’s effort.

“Just from the beginning, our intensity and mentality of each and every member on the field was sharp, it was excellent. From the beginning, everyone was locked in. We gave them nothing,” Delgado said of Vanney’s game plan. 

El Tráfico time!

But now that the Galaxy has a vital win secured to stop their losing streak, they face league leader LAFC away in the 15th edition of El Tráfico on Friday, July 8. 

Delgado is encouraged by the Galaxy’s performance against Montreal, though. The midfielder, who missed the first El Tráfico earlier this year, believes this win sets the Galaxy up.

“I think it puts us in a good position. We came out with a good win. Everyone is feeling good, and it just sets the tone for the next match and so forth. This is the standard, this is where we have to be at, if not better, and we just have to continue pushing the bar,” Delgado shared.

The Galaxy will certainly have to be at its best on Friday to make Los Angeles blue, white, and gold again against their city rivals and pick up a second win in a week.

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