On the eve of the Round of 32 matches for the US Open Cup, the LA Galaxy’s ownership met to discuss the future of Chris Klein and Greg Vanney. The game against the Seattle Sounders could possibly be the last time fans chant, “Klein Out.” 

Less than 45 minutes before kickoff, the stands remain sparsely filled. The future of Greg Vanney and Chris Klein seemed grim. Meanwhile, the supporters, aside from Angel City Brigade, held the line. 

At the whistle, the LA Galaxy started with urgency. The players pressured Seattle, playing every ball with intent. The Angel City Brigade section chanted, “WE WANT KLEIN OUT,” but not consistently. While pressure was being put on both the players and the front office, the game’s stakes were raised. 

The Offense Highlights

Just two minutes into the game, off a corner kick caused by the Galaxy’s relentless pressure, Julian Aude found a ricochet and blasted the ball to the back of the Sounders’ net. The young Argentinian scored his first goal in style in front of a home crowd of a little bit over eight thousand. 

In the second half, the Galaxy continued to dominate possession and control of the game. The midfield kept up the pressure and attacked relentlessly. Despite this, the offense never managed to find a way to take many shots on goal. By aligning the formation with just one forward, Vanney created more space for the midfielders to set up the ball for Chicharito. Still, the team repeatedly misplayed the ball, never giving Chicharito the opportunity to take a shot. 

Chicharito spent the majority of the match playing a role similar to another Los Angeles star, Lebron James. Seattle played a physical defensive style against both Chicharito and Puig, and every time Chicharito hit the ground, he complained to the officials. 

The lack of wingers has definitely affected Chicharito’s productivity. Puig is often the only one able to open the game and set the ball up for Boyd or Delgado to generate plays for Chicharito in the box. Instead, their possession resulted in interceptions or missed passes. 

Memo’s Goal Scoring

Memo Rodriguez came in as a sub in the 64th minute, and just two minutes later, he found the back of the net on a corner kick play. LA Galaxy took a 2-0 lead, and the win seemed imminent. However, the LA defense gave up a goal to Seattle’s Paul Rothrock two minutes later, cutting LA’s lead down to one goal. 

Considering that Seattle played their second-tier team, the quick goal they scored against the LA Galaxy is telling of the team’s lack of grit. The defense put their guard down and allowed a goal past Bond, who had returned to the field after injuring his shoulder. 

Nonetheless, the LA Galaxy continued to control the game and attempted to fabricate plays up front to the lone forward. Chicharito played 64 minutes before being subbed out and replaced by Joveljic. The action was created for both Chicharito and Joveljic, but none of them could execute and score a goal. 

In the 86th minute, Raheem Edwards started a sprint that reached the box, and he played the ball off Joveljic. Edwards let the ball pass and set up the ball for Memo Rodriguez, who crossed it to the right side of the goal post and found the back of the net once again. 

The Press Conference

“Overall, it was a great team performance,” said Memo Rodriguez after the match. “I know that the season is very long, and I know I’ll get another opportunity at some point. Just happy to get two goals and help the team win and advance, and like I said, be patient and be ready for when your number is called.”

Memo succeeded by doing what neither Chicharito nor Joveljic could do–take shots. By Doing so, he helped the team qualify for the round of 16. 

Today’s game also marked Jonathan Bond’s return to the post. In his first game back, Bond picked up where he left off by saving the team on multiple occasions. During the game, Bond looked comfortable enough to be ready for the rest of the season. “I think that was a big part of getting through today,” stated Bond. “[It] was allowing Greg to know that I’m ready for selection.” 

Earning their second win of the season is great for morale, but there’s plenty of soccer left in the season. The LA Galaxy currently find themselves tied for last place. “I think it’s important not to over-celebrate,” explains Bond, “we have to keep concentrating. There’s plenty of things we can improve within the game.”

The Los Angeles Galaxy will play against the San Jose Earthquakes in the Cali-derby on Mother’s Day, searching for their first two consecutive wins of the season.

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