The LA Galaxy’s worst-ever start to a season continued Thursday, as they officially crashed out of the MLS is Back Tournament following a 1-1 draw to the Houston Dynamo.
The Galaxy entered the game needing a win by at least three goals to advance in the competition in Orlando, but a goal by Darwin Quintero left Guillermo Barros Scholotto’s men winless on the season, even if Cristian Pavon’s stoppage-time penalty saved their blushes to pick up their first result of the competition.
Schelotto made two notable changes for the Galaxy XI, starting Ethan Zubak up top for Emil Cuello and Nick DePuy in defense for Giancarlo Gonzalez.
David Bingham was pressed into action in the first five minutes, as a bang-bang play led to a header by Dynamo winger Niko Hansen that was saved by the LA goalkeeper, making a reflex stop.
But the glory faded, as a foul by Joe Corona not too far outside LA’s box led to a free kick by Quintero that was scored in the 17th minute. Bingham didn’t end up making a jump on the play, as the free kick went right by him.
Darwin delivers! @darwinJR3 drills the free kick to put @HoustonDynamo ahead in a must-win game. #LAvHOU pic.twitter.com/1VijKErUYI— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 24, 2020
The Galaxy dominated possession in the first half, but the teams were essentially even in the major categories otherwise. The Galaxy got a few looks, but most of them were near-misses rather than true clear-cut chances, only adding to the pressure heading into the final 45 minutes of the match.
But it was more of the same in the second half, with LA controlling the ball but unable to break down Houston’s defense.
They got a late lifeline, with a penalty called just before the end of regulation. Pavon stepped up and scored it to split the points and keep both teams winless for 2020. The draw also means the Dynamo are also out of the MLS is Back Tournament, with New York City FC snatching the last berth in the knockout tournament.
It wasn’t nearly as bad of a performance as LA’s last game, and they stayed in the game throughout the 90-plus minutes. But it wasn’t a win, and it will unquestionably be little consolation for a club that has far higher standards than “get a squeaky draw.”
There will be plenty of talk about the Galaxy’s performance in Orlando and this season so far in the coming days and weeks. For now, they’re headed back home, and they’ll wait for the next phase of the MLS season, if it proceeds. Stay tuned for details on if and when that is happening.
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