LOS ANGELES – No Zlatan Ibrahimovic? No Romain Alessandrini? No problem for the LA Galaxy on Saturday night. The Galaxy put forth their finest performance under Guillermo Barros Schelotto in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Minnesota United.
Jonathan dos Santos, Chris Pontius, and Sebastian Lletget scored in the win, but the night belonged Uriel Antuna. The spritely Mexican had a hand in all three of the Galaxy’s goals, winning the penalty that led to dos Santos’ tally and providing pinpoint service on the finish by Lletget.
Placed up top with Ibrahimovic still sidelined with an Achilles issue, Antuna terrorized the Minnesota defense with a tireless effort as the lone striker in Schelotto’s system. As successful as he was on the night, after the match, the Mexican forward remained humble.
“It was an unforgettable night, this win was a credit to everyone, I think everyone did a great game,” he said postgame. “There was good pressure, good finishes, everyone fought throughout the whole game, so this game was a credit to the team as a whole.
“It gives you a lot of confidence, knowing the coach is giving you the opportunities and the confidence to put you on the field. Thankfully I have felt better as games go by and as I said, I have given my all in all the games I’ve played since I arrived and at every training session.”
Moved from the wide position that he played his first two matches for the club, Antuna was extremely effective, using his speed to pressure Minnesota on both sides of the ball. Antuna’s relentless was on full display in the – minute when he was brought down by Osvaldo Alonso in the penalty area to set up the Galaxy’s opener.
But his talent was truly on full display on the winner when he cleverly created space between himself and a Minnesota attacker before finding Lletget for the third and final tally.
“Today was the best game for [Uriel] Antuna,” Schelotto said. “I am very happy for him because he ran a lot and he could make a difference in front. So, I think he’s very young, and he’s growing, and he will keep growing better if he can have games like today.”
His teammates did not hesitate to compliment the young attacker postgame
“I think he’s still running out there,” Lletget said with a chuckle.
“He was a machine for us. Then in the 90th minute, he was going pressuring, helps create the third goal. Just a guy that’s shown up in spots that we need him to. He was unbelievable,” added Pontius.
Antuna will likely slot back into midfield following the international break as Ibrahimovic returns from injury, but performances like Saturday offer a ray of hope to the start of his Galaxy career.
“I have worked hard since preseason to be in top shape,” he said confidently. “I am here to be a champion and give the best I can.”