The LA Galaxy continually tested Houston goalkeeper Steve Clark but he stood tall for about 30 minutes. Chicharito missed a sitter and hit the post, Grandsir hit the keeper, and it seemed like it was one of those games with lots and lots of industry but no finishing. The the Galaxy’s possession finally paid out with a couple of great runs and great finishes. Riqui Puig (along with Grandsir) finally made it count with a goal after standing all alone in the box. Then Chicharito finished a fantastic Brugman pass.
Game over. The Galaxy didn’t look back after that point, finally taking care of a team that wasn’t in their echelon after a defensive error. Dejan Joveljić iced the cake towards the end of the game to make it a sure thing.
The Galaxy had 67% possession, 21 shots with 7 on target, won well over 50% of duels and tackles, and had an expected goals stat of 2.3 relative to Houston’s 0.6. This was an old fashioned beat down. One of the key linchpins to that was Gastón Brugman who had another great game.
One concerning note: another defensive lapse led to an opposing goal. It’s something the Galaxy just cannot do if they want to go deep in the playoffs. Raheem Edwards needs to stay on the right instead of indulging his tendency to wander towards the center. He almost did it again to end the first half but didn’t pay for it. He needs to be starting, and he needs to not go on walkabout.
Not sure how this team is going to fare during the playoffs, but they are a group no opposing team wants to face. It’s been a very long time since anyone could say that.
- Jonathan Bond - great double handed save after the defense got lazy in the 41st minute.
- Chicharito - earned a yellow card for pushing and shoving in the first half. Just missed a sitter off a corner in the 18th minute. Hit the post in the 22nd minute. Chipped it back to Brugman who sent him through on LA’s second goal — great finish. Shot just wide in the 56th minute.
- Dejan Joveljić - nice give and go with Álvarez to score within seconds of his insertion (great first touch too). Forced Clark into a save with a header in the 81st minute.
- Gastón Brugman - great chip to Chicharito in the 22nd minute. Set up Grandsir in the 27th minute with a through ball. Set up Chicharito with a great through ball assist in the 33rd minute. Forced the keeper into a save in the 59th minute. He is playing some darn good footy. Man of the Match
- Séga Coulibaly - goal saving interception in the 41st minute. Great goal saving block in the 42nd minute.
- Martín Cáceres - great interception at the top of the box in the 28th minute.
- Riqui Puig - bad turnover and a lazy run back led to the Houston goal. Thought he should have struck first time on his goal, but he proved me wrong with a great finish after a touch. Hit the cross bar in the 36th minute.
- Samuel Grandsir - set up Chicharito to start the game. Nice run, but hit shot saved by the keeper in the 27th minute. Stellar assist with the exact right pace to Puig in the 31st minute. Hit the keeper again in the 55th minute on a shot from the left.
- Efraín Álvarez - lovely through ball to Dejan for the Galaxy’s third goal. Chip to Dejan nearly resulted in a goal in the 81st minute.
- Douglas Costa - promising ball into the box in the 26th minute. Had some creativity popping up in various places and his corner kicks caused trouble.
- Julian Araujo - beat by a header on Houston’s goal. Stood tall on a breakaway in the 29th minute, getting the ball clear. Yellow card for a tactical foul in the 61st minute. Good defensive cover after Coulibaly went down in the 82nd minute.
- Mark Delgado - quietly did his job, and his injury is a scary one for the Galaxy.
- Raheem Edwards - inexplicably in the middle on Houston’s goal. Didn’t do much else and was a bit off target offensively, but stayed disciplined after the bad goal.
- Víctor Vázquez - helped keep midfield possession.
- Chase Gasper - beat a few times, but didn’t surrender a goal.
- Kévin Cabral - just missed setting up Dejan in the 79th minute with a squared ball across the box. Beat everyone in the 92nd minute and didn’t get off a shot.
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