Galaxy slips late against LAFC, falls in conference semifinal

LOS ANGELES — When the Galaxy needed their defense most, it turned against them on Thursday night.

During their strong late-season surge, the Galaxy had allowed just five goals in the last five games, including last weekend’s first-round playoff victory over Nashville SC.

The Galaxy had posted a 5-1-5 record to conclude the regular season, having shored up the majority of their defensive deficiencies along the way.

In the Western Conference semifinal, every little thing and failed clearance mattered and it ended up sinking the Galaxy.

“That’s what makes these games so strange,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “You kind of throw a Hail Mary sometimes, in your shape or in your position or in the roles of people you bring on to try to chase a goal. You get it, but then it leaves you a little vulnerable on the defensive side.”

On the game-winning goal early in the 6-minute stoppage time, goalkeeper Jonathan Bond got his hands on Denis Bouanga’s shot, but couldn’t corral it, which led to Cristian Arango scoring the winner on the rebound.

“We were trying to get ourselves organized on the defensive side, we were pretty close, but we give up a corner kick in the end and we just don’t defend it well,” Vanney said. “I thought we have started to settle ourselves back in and then the corner kick was certainly the difference.”

In the 80th minute, Ryan Hollingshead beat the Galaxy on the flank and his cross got all the way to Bouanga for the tap-in and the 2-1 lead.

This was the first time the Galaxy had allowed three goals in a game since a Sept. 14 loss against Vancouver. Before that, the last time was Aug. 19 against Seattle (3-3).

“We’re all very upset …,” Bond said. “Once you concede a goal, you start replaying everything back in your mind, could you have done something differently.”


In the 12th minute, Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig was involved in a mix-up that led to Jesus Murillo hitting the ground after what looked like a headbutt from Puig. After the dust settled, referee Alan Chapman issued Puig a yellow card.

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The buzz on the internet from the soccer pundits was that Puig deserved a red card.


With the score tied at 1-1 at halftime in a single-elimination game, Vanney didn’t waste much time making substitutions.

In the 58th minute, Kevin Cabral came on for Douglas Costa and in the 68th minute, Victor Vazquez entered for Samuel Grandsir.

The last pair of subs came in the 84th minute with Dejan Joveljic and Derrick Williams coming on to replace Mark Delgado and Martin Caceres.


The Galaxy trailed 2-1 late but Joveljic scored the equalizer in the 85th minute. The goal was his ninth this season as a substitute. He finished the season with 11 regular-season goals.

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