The LA Galaxy had to work for it late, but they put in their best performance of the season to date as they defeated Minnesota United FC 3-2 on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was missing for the second straight game due to injury, and while LA's defense faltered late, their midfield was strong for much of the night and the team's chemistry was as good as it's been under new head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
The Galaxy pushed for an opener throughout the first half, before Uriel Antuna earned a penalty after being brought down by Ozzie Alonso. Jonathan dos Santos scored the spot kick in the 36th minute to put the home side ahead.
They doubled their lead shortly before halftime, as a true team effort, featuring a long series of passes in the buildup, ended in Chris Pontius bouncing it past Vito Mannone in Minnesota's goal.
The Galaxy believed they were in cruise control in the second half, with firm control over the match, but a long-range rip from new Minnesota midfielder Jan Gregus beat David Binghamand the Loons had about 15 minutes to mount a comeback.
The Galaxy regrouped and extended their lead, as Sebastian Lletget tallied his first of the season with a poke off Antuna's cross, but Minnesota added another goal, in the 88th minute through substitute Angelo Rodriguez, to make the final few minutes very tight for both teams.
- 36' – LA – Jonathan dos Santos (PK) | WATCH
- 41' – LA – Chris Pontius | WATCH
- 75' – MIN – Jan Gregus
- 81' – LA – Sebastian Lletget
- 87' – MIN – Angelo Rodriguez
- THE BIG PICTURE: Both teams end up with positives and negatives from this performance, but LA were good value for the win. While one imagines the team is eager to see Ibrahimovic back in the lineup, the Galaxy's team play was much better than it's been in the opening weeks under Schelotto.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pontius' goal wasn't the most beautiful finish of the night, but the team buildup showed the players seem to be starting to click as a group.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Antuna drew the assignment of starting up top on the night, and while he didn't have a goal of his own, he drew the penalty and assisted the eventual game-winner, so the young Mexican gets the nod for a good shift.
- LA: Sunday, March 31 vs. Portland Timbers (9 pm ET | ESPN2 in US; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)