The LA Galaxy got to work early and rode a stunning opening 45 minutes to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Samuel Grandsir had a brace and drew a penalty, Chicharito had a penalty and an assist, and Julian Araujo had two assists in the victory, to keep LA’s playoff chase alive and well.
With Derrick Williams suspended for the night, Sega Coulibaly and Nick DePuy teamed up in central defense, while Dejan Joveljić went back to the bench and new signing Riqui Puig was unavailable as he waits for his paperwork to fully come through.
The Galaxy’s first great look came in the 10th minute, as a full-field attack led to Kevin Cabral making a cushioned header at the back post as the ball was headed out of play. While we all know his aim has been off, he tried to push it back across the goalmouth, and Vancouver GK Cody Cropper blocked it from trickling into the net or setting up Chicharito, lying in wait.
But Cabral made up for it moments later, as he had the unselfish pass on the break to Grandsir, who slammed it home in the 12th minute to give LA the 1-0 lead.
Samuel Grandsir puts it away and the @LAGalaxy take the early lead! pic.twitter.com/rlxYkEXe7H— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 14, 2022
It got better, as several minutes later Grandsir hit a cross into the box that was handled by Ranko Veselinovic, and after a VAR check, the penalty was awarded. Chicharito stepped up and hit a panenka to beat Cropper and make it 2-0 in the 20th minute.
.@CH14_ with the panenka! @LAGalaxy double their lead! pic.twitter.com/kDQPxVGx43— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 14, 2022
Coulibaly nearly scored on a close-range header in the 27th minute, off Gaston Brugman’s cross from the flank, but the Malian’s effort sailed wide of the mark. But LA really took off with Victor Vazquez’s goal in the 30th minute, as he played a little give-and-go outside the box to put the Whitecaps to sleep before unleashing a bomb to make it 3-0.
Another one! Victor Vazquez makes it 3-0 in favor of the @LAGalaxy! pic.twitter.com/QtWpTWteho— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 14, 2022
It wasn’t all good vibes in the 1st half for LA, however, as Cropper hit a ball over the top, and Whitecaps attacker Ryan Gauld latched onto it and beat Jonathan Bond to it, as he scored a sneaky goal to make it 3-1 in the 38th minute.
Goalkeeper assist!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 14, 2022
Cody Cropper sets up Ryan Gauld to pull one back for @WhitecapsFC! pic.twitter.com/qQKANIpDgW
But the Galaxy were unfazed, as Grandsir hit a beautiful curler with his right leg off a pass from Araujo, to bring the score to 4-1 two minutes later.
The @LAGalaxy with a quick response as Samuel Grandsir nets his second goal of the night! pic.twitter.com/hltqQ14YSK— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 14, 2022
The teams went to the halftime break with that scoreline, with LA firmly in control and only Gauld’s tally rained on their goal parade at all. Obviously the game was half over, but surely the Galaxy would see it out and get the win with a strong 2nd half?
As one would expect, the air largely left the metaphorical balloon in the 2nd 45, which obviously benefitted the Galaxy. Greg Vanney’s first substitutes came in the 69th minute, as Joveljić replaced Chicharito, Efrain Alvarez replaced Vazquez, and Douglas Costa took over for Grandsir.
A minute later, the Whitecaps got a second goal, with Tosaint Ricketts redirecting Cristian Dajome’s cross at the endline to narrow LA’s lead to two goals.
Tosaint Ricketts puts it away to bring @WhitecapsFC within two! pic.twitter.com/0mnt6pvfHU— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 14, 2022
Kljestan replaced Brugman in the 74th minute as LA sought to get control back in the game and see it out.
Dajome picked up a red card in the 79th minute, his second yellow card on the night, and Vancouver were down a man for the final 10 minutes and change.
The Galaxy got the capper in the 89th minute, with Joveljić getting a big switch on the flank, leading the counterattack, and sending a tap-in to Alvarez, who converted it.
GALAXY ON THE BREAKAWAY ‼️— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) August 14, 2022
Dejan Joveljić sets it up and Efraín Álvarez sends it home pic.twitter.com/ThQqWBllQu
The Whitecaps tried to come back late but fortunately the Galaxy racked up enough of a lead to hold on for the win. It wasn’t a perfect performance, and a 20-minute stretch where they were on fire covered up some of the more shaky moments. But still, it’s silly to be overly picky about a multigoal home win, and with the Galaxy at threat of their season getting away from them, they needed a big win and they got it. Now, they need to build on it from here.
The Galaxy are next in action on Friday, when they’ll host the Seattle Sounders. It will be a big six-pointer for both sides as they look to build their playoff case, so it’s going to be a big test for LA to see if they can finally hit some good form again this season.
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