The LA Galaxy thought they would cruise to a win against the Vancouver Whitecaps, before a late equalizer in stoppage time, and then an even later winner by substitute Efrain Alvarez, as the Galaxy won 2-1 on Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Chicharito opened the scoring early in the second half, and it looked like the Galaxy would grind out a win pretty easily, but Janio Bikel scored a dramatic equalizer early in stoppage time. Then Alvarez scored his first goal of the season with an absolute golazo to win it in the 94th minute.
Greg Vanney didn’t make many personnel changes from the last game, bringing in Samuel Grandsir for Efrain Alvarez to make a formation switch, while Nick DePuy started in defense from the jump, with Daniel Steres hurt and Derrick Williams suspended.
The teams were looking for a breakthrough early, trading spells of possession. Victor Vazquez looked sharp in the first half, getting involved in some good buildup play and fizzing a shot that sailed just over the goal just before 20 minutes had passed. A few minutes later, Sega Coulibaly may have had a shout to have drawn a penalty, but there was no call from the referee.
The teams were scoreless at halftime, with LA having a 5-0 edge in total shots, but neither team actually managing a shot on target, so it was a game that needed something a bit more incisive.
The Galaxy found that in the 47th minute, as Chicharito turned in Sebastian Lletget’s low cross for a trademark tally to give the visitors the 1-0 lead.
Two Galaxy changes came at the half, with Alvarez replacing Kevin Cabral and Jonathan dos Santos returning from injury in place of Sacha Kljestan. Dos Santos appeared to pick up an immediate knock on a tackle attempt, but he continued on.
More subs came in the 71st minute, with Oniel Fisher entering for Jorge Villafaña, and Adam Saldaña coming on for Vazquez. And Cameron Dunbar replaced Grandsir in the 82nd minute.
The Galaxy had to kind of go into siege defending late in the game as Vancouver pushed for an equalizer, and Bikel found paydirt in the 92nd minute, looking like he had iced a draw.
But Alvarez hit a stunning shot in the 93rd minute to win it, as a ball thrown into the mixer fell to the youngster and he absolutely crushed it.
It was a drama-filled ending to an otherwise pretty drab game, but I think on balance the Galaxy deserved to win it. Credit to both teams for fighting throughout, and in the end I think the extra bit of quality from LA helped push them over the line.
LA will be back on the road for their next game, Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes in the next Cali Clasico. Can the Galaxy make it 2-for-2 in that particular rivalry so far this year? Should be another good one.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.