LA Galaxy advance in U.S. Open Cup with comeback victory over Arizona United

Two goals by Gyasi Zardes help LA overcome early deficit for first USOC win since 2011

PEORIA, Ariz. – Two quick second half goals by Gyasi Zardes gave the LA Galaxy a 2-1 victory over Arizona United SC in their U.S. Open Cup fourth round match at Peoria Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Zardes’ second-half brace canceled out a first-half tally by Arizona’s Matt Kassel and gave LA their first victory in the Open Cup since 2011. The Galaxy advance to the fifth round where they will take on the Carolina RailHawks on June 24 at WakeMed Soccer Park at 4:00 p.m. PT.

The Galaxy started the match with considerable possession, but were unable to generate many dangerous opportunities until a Stefan Ishizaki shot from the top of the box was saved by Arizona goalkeeper Evan Newton in the 19th minute. LA had another opportunity in the 24th minute when Rob Friend’s goal was negated by an official’s raised flag.

Arizona made the Galaxy pay for their wastefulness eight minutes before halftime when Matt Kassel exploited a hole in the LA defense and beat Jaime Penedo to put the USL PRO side up a goal going into the second half.

But from the start of the second half, it was all Galaxy—more specifically all Zardes.

In the 51st minute, the Galaxy equalized off a solid piece of build-up play that culminated with Zardes nodding home a cross from Robbie Rogers. Less than five minutes later, Zardes gave the Galaxy the lead with a nearly identical goal, this time assisted by a curling cross from Ishizaki.

Arizona nearly equalized in the 80th minute when second half substitute Jon Okafor found himself in a world of space, but he fired his shot just wide of Penedo’s net. Okafor’s finest opportunity came just eight minutes later when he tapped a shot from close range that forced Penedo to make a quick save to preserve the victory for the Galaxy.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.