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Galaxy blows two-goal lead, rescue 3-3 tie against Seattle

The Los Angeles Galaxy blows two-goal lead but gets a draw with a late Dejan Joveljić game-tying goal on August 20, 2022

CARSON, CAThe Los Angeles Galaxy blows two-goal lead, but rescued a 3-3 tie and a point with a late penalty against the Seattle Sounders FC at home Friday night.

First-half goals by Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Víctor Vázquez should have been enough to see the Galaxy to victory, but it took a late Dejan Joveljić penalty to earn the draw after Los Angeles threw away the lead in 20 calamitous second-half minutes. 

Galaxy blows two-goal lead, rescue 3-3 tie against Seattle

The Sounders certainly did their best to overshadow Riqui Puig’s debut, and it almost made the evening more awkward than the pre-game banners flown over Dignity Health Sports Park demanding “Klein Out.”

But at kickoff, there was a level of excitement in the stands not seen since Zlatan’s debut, and the Galaxy fed off the energy to score first. Good movement on the right side of the box let Kevin Cabral get free enough to send in a right-footed cross to Chicharito for his 11th goal of the season. 

The Galaxy captain took the ball in stride, created space for himself by taking a touch to set himself up, and fired a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner of Stefan Frei’s goal for the 1-0 lead in the 10-minute.

Seattle had several chances to strike back, including a Jordan Morris goal that was called back for offside. Morris also should’ve done better with a Sega Coulibaly giveaway, but shot wide while bearing down on Jonathan Bond’s goal.

Víctor Vázquez would make sure it was the Galaxy who would strike next.

Lucky Leo

The Spaniard is riding the good luck brought by his visiting son, Leo, to score for the second game running. He’s also registered two goals and one assist in his last four appearances as he’s worked back from injury.

Marky Delgado played the ball to Vázquez on the right wing, where he could turn in space. Vázquez fired a gorgeous curling strike (or cross) that hit Frei’s crossbar and settled into the left corner for the 2-0 Galaxy lead in the 42-minute.

Vázquez claims it was all planned.

“It was more a shot because I saw the goalkeeper a bit off from the goal. I tried to shoot for the goal, but the goal looks more like it was an amazing goal, but I didn’t want to put it right in the corner. But I saw [Stefan] Frei a bit [off his line] and then I tried it, and it worked,” Vázquez explained.

It would allow the Galaxy to go into the half leading 2-0, where LA is 9-1-2 when scoring the first goal.

Mature Seattle as Galaxy blows two-goal lead

Seattle, however, is the only team to get any points off the Galaxy when they’ve scored first, after coming back to earn a 3-2 victory at home earlier this year.

And they tried to repeat the trick in Los Angeles, going off for three goals in twenty minutes in an attempt at stealing three points. 

Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney spoke last week about the challenge Seattle presented, calling them mature. Postgame, he spoke about being “uncomfortable” being up 2-0 at the half on the Concacaf Champions League winners.

“They’re a mature team. They’ve played in a lot of big games. Important games. They’ve got a lot of guys who have been around for a long time. And they’ve got guys who can kill you when they get opportunities. And so, I think that’s why I wasn’t very comfortable at 2-0 still,” Vanney expressed.

The Galaxy Coach’s instinct was spot on. 

Seattle Storms back

Kellyn Rowe opened the scoring for Seattle in the 53-minute to cut the lead to 2-1.

After the excellent Raul Ruidiaz dribbled down the right wing, he cut a pass back to Rowe, who was arriving into the box to blast a first-time shot into the top right corner of the goal.

Eight minutes later, Ruidiaz was making the Galaxy pay again.

After sustained pressure in which they hit the crossbar twice, Seattle had the ball fall kindly to Nicolas Lodeiro on the left side of the box. His cross found Ruidiaz, who powered in a header into the upper corner of the net to tie the score 2-2.

As has been the case many times this season for LA, one goal led to another. As is often the case for Seattle, Lodeiro was at the heart of the action.

His cross from the right wing was met with a point-blank range header by Yeimar Gomez that Bond did well to save. Morris was the first to react, and he stabbed home the rebound right in front of goal for the 3-2 Seattle lead. 

Seattle was able to climb back into the game because the Galaxy “started the second half a little casual again,” Vázquez said.

“Of course, everyone knows Seattle is a good team, they have guys that play good football. They have a good striker like Raul Ruidiaz who can score a goal from nothing. And then we let them come back in the game. I think it’s our mistake again.” 

Galaxy show heart

It set up tense final 20-plus minutes where the Galaxy hit top gear and showed top heart in search of the tie. 

This time, it was Galaxy pressure that resulted in a goal.

After several good combinations from debutante Puig and Douglas Costa, and a free kick that narrowly missed from the latter, the Galaxy finally made their breakthrough.

Seattle’s Xavier Arreaga was called for a handball from a Nick DePuy header in second-half stoppage time to earn the Galaxy a penalty and a chance to tie the game. 

Dejan Joveljić strode confidently to the penalty spot, his latest miss against Dallas a distant memory. 

He would blast his shot into the center of the goal to tie the game 3-3 in the 92nd minute and rescue the evening for the Galaxy. 

The Serbian has 10 goals in MLS play and leads all subs with seven goals when not starting. He now has at least one goal or one assist in eight consecutive matches played at home (nine goals, three assists).

What does it mean as Galaxy blows two-goal lead?

Following the tie, Los Angeles remains in sixth place with 34 points, just one point above Seattle, but with a game in hand.

Even though Los Angeles gave up the two-goal lead in a tight playoff race, Vanney tried to take positives from the bittersweet evening.

“It’s not surprising they [Seattle] didn’t just roll over and let us take the game. As for us, I think the mentality was good for us to keep pushing and to get something out of this game in the end. I look at it as two points lost, but one point gained, I guess, in the end. Everything matters right now in the stretch.”

Bond agreed with his Coach. He’s called this Galaxy team “emotional” on numerous occasions and said a product of that is leaking goals once they’ve conceded. He took positives from the Galaxy’s ability to get the tie, though, especially as the result kept the Sounders behind them in the table.

“It’s kind of mixed feelings because it could have been a lot worse. But, we’re disappointed to give the two-up lead away. It’s one of those things, you know, we keep Seattle behind us. We get a point. So, we do take a small step forward, and we get to learn from some of the things that happened kind of thing.”

Veteran Vázquez shared he made a direct appeal to teammates postgame as the season winds down.

“I said to the guys many times, it’s about consistency. We cannot win one game and then play this second game and go up and down…. We have to keep this consistency because I think it’s been a long, long time that we didn’t win two games in a row.”

What’s next?

The Galaxy will look to start to put some consistency together when they start a two-game road trip next week. Los Angeles will travel to face the New England Revolution away next Sunday, Aug. 28. 

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Galaxy on August 19, 2022.

 

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