DALLAS— This time the hole was too big.
A day after coming from behind to beat Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany, the LA Galaxy Academy were unable to conjure up another comeback and suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to Fulham FC of England on Monday in the second day of the 34th Annual Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup.
“I thought we were close (to getting the equalizer),” said LA Galaxy Academy Head Coach Alex Yi. “The guys really fought to the end. I’m really proud of them, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
On a blustery day in north Texas, the Galaxy struggled with the conditions and fell behind early, conceding a goal in the 14th minute. Unable to maintain possession and down a goal, Yi’s squad bunkered down and got into halftime without allowing Fulham to double their lead.
“We wanted to go against the wind in the first half and have the wind with us in the second half, so I think down 1-0 at halftime was OK— we were still in a comfortable position,” said Yi. “Second half was much better, we had the wind at our back, but conceding the goal from our corner kick of a counter attack was really hard.”
After halftime, the Galaxy immediately looked much comfortable with the wind at their backs. They began to put pressure on Fulham’s goal. But when a Galaxy corner kick was cleared by the English side, it led to a breakaway. Fulham midfielder Emerson Hyndman, grandson of FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman, played through forward Jordan Evans who was able to stay onside and beat goalkeeper Juan Cervantes with a perfectly slotted left-footed shot, giving Fulham a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.
Despite the goal, the Galaxy continued to apply pressure on Fulham’s goalkeeper Max Oberschmidt, who is from Germany and is dubbed the ‘new Oliver Kahn’ on Fulham’s website due to his physical resemblance to the goalkeeper.
Just after the hour mark, LA nearly pulled a goal back when Oberschmidt came off his line to break up a play and the ball sprung right to Galaxy midfielder Raul Mendiola, who dribbled into the box and fired a shot on goal. That shot was blocked, but the rebound fell right to forward Jaime Villarreal, who saw his shot was cleared off the line by a defender.
A few minutes later, the Galaxy attack earned a penalty kick when Fulham was called for a handball in the box. Murphy, who scored the game-winner a day earlier against Eintracht Frankfurt, stepped up and drilled the ball past Oberschmidt to make it 2-1.
The Galaxy are still alive in the race for one of the four spots in the Gordon Jago Super Group semifinals, but in order to advance they will need to beat Coritiba of Brazil and hope that their goal differential is better than that of Fulham (2-0-0), Manchester United (2-0-0) or Kashiwa Reysol of Japan (2-0-0)— all three teams have six points and a goal differential of plus-3, plus-4 and plus-5, respectively. By comparison, the Galaxy (1-1-0) are at three points and have a goal-differential of zero.
“Win— we just need to win,” Yi said as he simplified what the Galaxy need to do next. “Whether we progress or not it’s not really in our hand, but we need to win to put us in a position to possibly advance.”