(East Los Angeles, CA)– [July 23, 2020]—(From The Editor’s Desk #1) We’ll begin this posting with an update of where we find the current phase of this historic MLS Is Back Tournament. As our followers have noted, we have been focusing our coverage of the Group F teams, based on the derby’s draw that was unfortunate for both of our L.A. teams to be included in it.
Here’s a glimpse of how the other groups have matched up and have moved through by their respective group. Advancing to the Top 16 teams “Knock-Out” round from Group A: Orlando, Philadelphia, & NYCFC; Group B: San Jose, Seattle, & Vancouver; Group C: Toronto, New England, & Montreal; Group D: Sporting KC, Minnesota, & Salt Lake; Group E: Columbus & Cincinnati; and Group F: Portland & LAFC. Those teams who have been eliminated include: Atlanta, NY Red Bulls, Colorado, D.C. United, Chicago, Miami, Houston, & the Galaxy.
Recap By Correspondent Javier Pérez: As the Group F stage came to its final matchups, the L.A. Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo were hoping for two distinct results. The Dynamo was looking at last minute hopes to qualify as the Best 3rd place team that qualified passing through to the next round. On the other hand, L.A. Galaxy came into the game with two losses, one to Portland and an embarrassing one in the emerging rivalry game with LAFC, now known as “El Trafico.” Their (6-2) loss guaranteed the LAFC a spot into the “Knockout” stage. This meant that the stakes were much higher for Houston to win this match than they were for the Galaxy.
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The Galaxy came out with a 4-4-1-1 formation with David Bingham on goal. Daniel Steres and Nick DePuy started on the center back positions with Rolf Fletscher and Emiliano Insua in the fullback positions. In the midfield was young promise Julian Araujo along with Perry Kitchen, Joe Corona, and superstar Cristian Pavon. In the attack was Sebastian Lletget as a center attacking midfielder and Ethan Zubak as the lone striker.
The Dynamo came onto the pitch with a classic 4-3-3 formation. Marko Maric on goal was accompanied by center backs Victor Cabrera and Aljaz Struna along with Adam Lundkvist and Zarek Valentin as fullbacks. Occupying the midfield was Memo Rodriguez, Matias Vera, and Boniek Garcia. Up on attack was Colombian phenomenon Carlos Darwin Quintero along with Mauro Manotas and Niko Hansen.
As the first half kicked off, the Galaxy opted for more possessions of the ball but Houston eventually came through in the 16th minute as forward, Carlos Darwin Quintero, rifled a free-kick past the keeper into the bottom right corner. The Dynamo felt the pressure of the Galaxy’s attacking power as many of the chances for the rest of the first half came from Los Angeles.
Houston went into halftime with their right foot into the knock-off round. They had to either defend the (1-0) lead or risk playing with an attacking attitude to further the distance between their opponent and their chance to score a heartbreaking equalizer.
After what seemed like a sure win for the Dynamo during an intense second half, Cristian Pavon scored a stoppage-time equalizer from a penalty-kick goal, awarded very late in the game. Thus, with the (1-1) match result, both the LA Galaxy (0-2-1) in the tournament, and the Houston Dynamo were shown an early exit from the MLS is Back tournament as LAFC and the Portland Timbers make it through to the “Knock-Off” round as the 1-2 finishers in Group F.
[From The Editor’s Desk #2]: To end on a positive note…in their final match, although the Galaxy had high expectations coming into the tournament, as every Coach, Player, and Team realizes that injuries are an uncontrollable part of the game, and when “Chicharito” came up lame for his 2nd match, the tide quickly turned against them. Nonetheless, in terms of deeply analyzing this game, there were several statistical areas where they dominated the Dynamo. They led (10-1) in corner kicks, they out-passed the Dynamo, had more shots-on-goal attempts, and commanded a greater time-of-possession. Last, but not least, their teenaged midfielder, Efrain Alvarez, showed why he needs more playing time. Galaxy fans can now hope and pray that Jonathan Dos Santos and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will return to the team, sound and healthy for the remainder of the season.
About Our Correspondent: Javier Pérez is a Film, TV and Media Major with a Minor in Photography at Cal State University Dominguez Hills. He is a 2018 graduate of Marquez High School, located in Huntington Park, CA, and earned varsity letters in both Football and Soccer. Javier is now going into his Junior year at CSUDH.
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