While the LA Galaxy didn’t have major pressure looming on them this Decision Day, there were still stakes for them to play for as they faced the Houston Dynamo at PNC Stadium, and they dominated on the road in a 3-1 win on Sunday.
With LA’s striker, backup striker and livewire midfielder all scoring, only an early goal conceded marred the good vibes for the road team in this game, but they did pour it on after facing a deficit and never gave up the lead once they grabbed it. In terms of tune-ups before the playoffs, while also locking in a home playoff game, it was pretty close to an ideal game.
Douglas Costa retained his starting spot for LA, with Samuel Grandsir supporting the Brazilian and Chicharito up top.
The Galaxy started the game lively, with two shots blocked within the first 20 seconds. But the Dynamo drew first blood in the 8th minute, as Sebas Ferreira headed home Corey Baird’s cross to give the home side the 1-0 lead.
But despite conceding early, the Galaxy still dictated play, pushing to get an equalizer as the first half wore on.
They got that payoff at the half hour mark, when Samuel Grandsir hit a cutback from the box that found Riqui Puig wide open, the Catalan making no mistake with the strike to tie up the game.
And almost from the kickoff, Chicharito flipped the script, scoring the go-ahead goal off Gaston Brugman’s throughball to make it 2-1.
The Dynamo had a great look in the 41st minute, with two players firing off shots, forcing Jonathan Bond into making saves in no man’s land, which he did.
The teams entered the halftime break with LA leading 2-1, and good value for the lead, with two-thirds possession in the opening 45 and a 13-to-4 edge in shots taken.
It was more of the same in the 2nd half, with the Galaxy controlling the tempo of the game and getting most of the looks. Costa had moments of silk on the ball, and Chicharito nearly doubled his goal total on the day in the 56th minute, his turn and shoot in the box bounding just wide of the far post.
LA’s first changes came in the 66th minute, with Dejan Joveljić and Efrain Alvarez entering for Chicharito and Douglas Costa, respectively.
That moved paid off quickly, as Joveljić scored in the 70th minute off a feed from Alvarez to make it 3-1.
Mark Delgado was replaced in the 73rd minute, after picking up an injury (hopefully just a knock), with Victor Vazquez replacing him, and Kevin Cabral entering the fray in place of Grandsir. LA’s final change was Chase Gasper replacing Raheem Edwards in the 78th minute.
All in all, the Galaxy took care of business and they should be thrilled to learn they will be hosting their playoff game next week. Getting the win and the scores from Chicharito, Puig and Joveljić is all good, and hopefully this is the launch point for a run in the postseason.
The Galaxy will play their next game in the first round of the 2022 MLS Playoffs next weekend, where they’ll host Nashville SC, details to be announced soon. Bring it on!
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