In a match that tested their squad depth, the LA Galaxy returned to their winning ways Wednesday, defeating FC Dallas 3-1.
A total of 10 players were missing for the Galaxy on Wednesday night, forcing the club to adapt without star forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and just one healthy center back on the roster.
Even with the lack of depth, the Galaxy dominated the game in every aspect, maintaining 57 percent possession and scoring three goals on 12 shots.
“We’re still trying to build our group,” said head coach Greg Vanney. “And between injuries, suspensions, and international call-ups, you’ve got to get something from everybody. That’s why it’s important to keep everyone in the mix and keep everybody ready to play.”
Zubak, Grandsir and Cabral step up with Hernandez out:
In the 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on July 4, the Galaxy attack generated plenty of chances with Chicharito sidelined, but against Dallas, the Galaxy made the most of their chances.
Ethan Zubak was given the start in the place of Hernandez, and unlike his teammate who relies on constant service to affect the match, the 23-year-old worked tirelessly off the ball to pressure the FC Dallas defense.
“The thing that I can give every game, even if my quality is not there, is hard work,” said Zubak.
Zubak was rewarded for his effort with a goal in the 55th minute, capitalizing on a mistake by Ryan Hollingshed and giving the Galaxy a 3-0 lead.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 8, 2021
The attack as a whole worked well in Chicharito’s absence, with Young Designated Player Kevin Cabral finally scoring his first MLS goal in the 27th minute.
The goal for Cabral is a welcome sign for the Galaxy, who will hope has buried his finishing woes after getting into dangerous spots all season, but failing to score in six appearances prior to Wednesday’s goal.
On the right wing, Samuel Grandsir created the movement leading to Cabral’s goal and nearly had a goal of his own in the first half on a shot that rattled the crossbar.
Raveloson and the Galaxy Defense Answer the Call
The three-prong attack will get the credit for their role in the victory, but Rayan Raveloson was the hero for the Galaxy on Wednesday night.
The defense was expected to be a concern with Sega Coulibaly missing the match due to an abdominal injury, but Raveloson moved from the midfield into defense seamlessly and played an integral role in suppressing the FC Dallas attack.
It was a complete performance from Raveloson, scoring the first Galaxy goal, completing 64 passes and showing his defensive prowess with four successful tackles.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 8, 2021
As a whole, the makeshift backline only allowed four shots on frame and kept Ricardo Pepi at bay for the duration of the match.
Fresh off of inking a four-year extension with the Galaxy on Tuesday, Julian Araujo showed once again why he is viewed as one of the premier right-back prospects in MLS.
In his 90 minutes on the field, Araujo completed 93 percent of his passes, drew two fouls and won three tackles.
The Galaxy now have 10 days off and will look to get healthy ahead of a rematch against the Vancouver Whitecaps who fell to LA 2-1 on June 23.
LA Galaxy Player Ratings:
Jonathan Bond (6.5) – Bond was inactive for most of the night, but made saves when he was called on and showcased some impressive footwork. Not much he could have done on the FCD goal.
Julian Araujo (7.5) – As has been the case all season, Araujo was solid on the right side and was able to provide width in the attack at times.
Rayan Raveloson (8) – Raveloson was the star of the night and filled in admirably at center back.
Nick Depuy (6.5) – Depuy was a little sloppy in distribution, but it was an otherwise quiet night from the 26 year-old defender.
Jorge Villafaña (7) – Villafana did well defensively with the little work he had to do and showed well going forward.
Sebastian Lletget (8) – Lletget earned the assist on Cabral’s goal and was excellent in distribution all night long.
Sacha Kljestan (7) – With the Galaxy short on midfielders, Kljestan turned back the clock and helped lead the club to victory in a more defensive role.
Samuel Grandsir (6.5) – Grandsir was an active part of the Galaxy attack throughout the match, but he gets docked for failing to convert two clear goal-scoring chances.
Víctor Vázquez (6.5) – Vazquez was credited with the assist on Raveleson’s goal, but was pretty quiet the rest of the match.
Kevin Cabral (7.5) – Cabral finally scored his first goal for the Galaxy and justified showed why the Galaxy shelled out a reported $4.6 million dollars for his services. At times he could have been more clinical in the final third, but a goal is a step in the right direction.
Ethan Zubak (7) – One of the engines behind the Galaxy victory, Zubak’s performance was not sexy but a goal and consistent effort were notable.