To say LA Galaxy got the luck of the draw last time out would be a pretty massive understatement. In a round where MLS teams have arrived, the top USL teams remain, Galaxy drew a match against Cal United Strikers. While on the road, their opposition comes from the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), The league is third tier American soccer, but even with those odds, the home side was looking for some of that U.S. Open Cup magic to go their way against the Goliaths that are the Galaxy. While were able to put two past the MLS side, it was LA who came away with the win, 3-2, to advance to the next round.
The G’z came into the match with a pretty heavily rotated squad, but in fairness still making them a heavy favorite of the two teams. Odds didn't matter to Cal United though, as they struck the first blow of the match with a huge goal in the 19th minute.
The instant haymaker left Galaxy stunned for a while, as it looked like the NISA side would make it to halftime with the one goal advantage. That wouldn't happen, with help of a controversial penalty call for the Galaxy. Dejan Joveljić stepped up to the spot and calmly sent the penalty shot passed the keeper to level proceedings in the 45th minute.
Cool. Calm. Collected.— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 12, 2022
Dejan Joveljić brings us level from the spot. pic.twitter.com/ljAnKiWmNV
A second goal was priority for the team in the second half. Despite maintaining more than 70% of possession, they found it difficult to get much open looks. Rotated squad or not, the Galaxy once again found it hard to finish the opportunities they did get. Cal United also did a great job of allowing the better team possession, while still doing really well to defend and prevent their net from being peppered too often. For them, it was about getting to extra time and possibly forcing penalty kicks where just about anything can, and does, happen.
Luckily for the G’z it was debutant Owen Lambe, who had been brought up from LA Galaxy II on a short-term loan, for this match. The defender was on the receiving end of a nice pass and he remained calm to finish it giving his side the much needed second goal for the lead late in the match.
Owen Lambe's first goal for the blue, white & gold!— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 12, 2022
Moments later, Galaxy added a third after a second penalty decision was awarded for them, and Dejan Joveljić once again stepped up to the spot and finished it to double the lead. However, the NISA opposition wasn't going out without a fight and scored a second goal against the MLS giants to bring them within one goal going into the final minutes of the match.
LA were able to hold on for the one goal win, as they avoided the upset at the hands of a very dangerous Cal United Strikers side. Galaxy shift focus back to MLS action as they face off against FC Dallas, at home, this Saturday. The team find out against who, and where, the next round of the U.S. Open Cup will be played, so stay tuned for that announcement.
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