The LA Galaxy knocked off Atlanta United 2-0 on Sunday (July 24th) in a frenetic match at Dignity Health Sports Park. Kevin Cabral scored early in the seventh minute and then Dejan Jovelic scored the dagger in the final minute of second half stoppage time. The win snaps LA's three match losing streak. The Galaxy had also picked up just four points in their previous six matches, so this match was a big step back in the right direction for LA.
This match featured two very different halves. The Galaxy dominated the first half, in which they went up 1-0, but could have gone up by multiple goals. Atlanta then controlled most of the second half, but just couldn't find the equalizer (and then Jovelic found the late goal on a counter to finish things off).
It was an early goal for the Galaxy on a tap in for Cabral. Douglas Costa had the ball on the right side of the box. He played the ball to the middle of the box to Chicharito who ripped a shot. That shot was saved nicely by Atlanta keeper Rocco Rios Novo, but Novo was unable to corral the ball. The rebound fell in front of Cabral who was able to tap it in from short distance. The goal had to feel good for Cabral, who has been struggling. Even though he missed another chance later in the match, just seeing the ball go in the net might do wonders for Cabral and his confidence.
Jovelic kept up his red-hot form as he scored the goal in the waning seconds to put the match away. He picked up the ball with space on the left side of the box on a pass from Victor Vazquez on a counter. He then dribbled in towards the goal and was able to expertly put the ball in the net around Novo from a difficult angle. Jovelic has now scored eight goals in his last eight MLS matches. He is making it difficult for Greg Vanney to keep him out of the starting XI.
Atlanta had several really good chances throughout the match, but just couldn't find the net. Whether it be because of good saves from Jonathan Bond, shots just going wide, or poor touches.
One of those chances came in the 27th minute. Caleb Wiley sent in a strong shot from about 20 yards out, but Bond made a nice diving save to keep LA ahead.
Cabral's other big chance came in the 37th minute. A cross came in from Julian Araujo which found Cabral on a run in front of the net, but Cabral couldn't get the touch he wanted on the ball and it went wide-right of the net. Bond made another big save in the 57th minute. Araujo had created space and pulled a shot from 15 yards out, but Bond was able to make the save.
Atlanta held a slight edge in possession at 51.3%-48.7% and was a touch more accurate with their passes, as they completed 85.7% of their passes while LA completed 85.4%. Atlanta outshot LA 12-10, but the Galaxy were more accurate with their shots as LA held the edge in shots on goal 6-3.
LA held the edge in expected goals (xG) at 1.9 to 1.3, while Costa completed 98% of his matches in 64 minutes. He also made two key passes and had 0.53 xG+A (expected goals plus assists).
Gaston Brugman also made his LA Galaxy debut in the match. He played 64 minutes while completing 81.5% of his passes and led LA with three successful tackles (only Galaxy player with multiple). He also led the team in duels won. He was a big reason why LA controlled so much of the ball and controlled so much of the midfield in the first half.
Costa and Vazquez were the two LA players who had multiple key passes in the match. Vazquez only played 26 minutes, but still picked up the assist and two key passes. He completed 88.9% of his passes total.
LA now sits seventh in the Western Conference. LA has 30 points on 21 matches, and have a match in hand on many of the teams around them. Next up, LA will face fifth-placed FC Dallas on Saturday, July 30th. If LA wins that match, they would move ahead of Dallas in the table.