By Ivan Yeo
There hasn’t been much to celebrate for the Los Angeles Galaxy and their fans in 2017.
Mired in last place in the Western Conference, and having won just twice at StubHub Center, the Galaxy have found themselves in a position they have never endured in a decade; playing out the string of a long forgettable season.
While there will be no playoff run for the Galaxy, at least for this season, the Galaxy still gave their fans something to cheer about in its final home game of the season. Romain Alessandrini’s brace and Jonathan Dos Santos’ first goal in a Galaxy shirt were more than enough for LA on fan appreciation night, as the Galaxy ended its 2017 home season with a 3-0 win over Minnesota United.
“We talked about that, about how we wanted to be remembered this season,” Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We know we weren’t going to make the playoffs, but we wanted to make good memories for ourselves and good memories for our fans. I think we showed we were capable of doing that.”
The Galaxy got things started in the 11th minute. Giovani Dos Santos was pushed from behind by Kevin Molino, Dos Santos took a quick restart and passed a ball to Alessandrini, dribbled into the penalty area and fired a left-footed shot that beat Bobby Shuttleworth far post.
The Galaxy’s next goal took a lot longer to materialize. It started in the 21st minute, when Alessandrini dribbled for the Minnesota penalty area, Alessandrini played a ball into the box to Jonathan Dos Santos and he headed a ball that hit off the crossbar, hit the turf and was quickly scooped up by Shuttleworth. Almost immediately the Galaxy threw their hands up, claiming the ball crossed the goal line. It would however take another two minutes before referee Alex Chilowicz got the call for video review, which confirmed that the ball did cross the goal line after the crossbar, a quick deliberation and Chilowicz awarded the goal to the Galaxy and a two-goal lead.
“It was a little weird because I didn’t get the opportunity to celebrate it with our fans the way I wanted to,” Jonathan Dos Santos said. “However, it was a goal, it helped with the overall score and also helped the team get the victory.”
Most of the hard work was done from there. Aside from a couple of chances late in the first half that required some clutch goalkeeping from Clement Diop, Minnesota did not get any quality chances in the match, and Alessandrini sealed a rare three points for the Galaxy when he took a cleared ball from Jermaine Jones, sprinted for the penalty area, and fired another left-footed volley that again beat Shuttleworth at the far post.
“Tonight was a good night for us, for the confidence,” Alessandrini said. “We need that to win the game and be confident every week, every training, to work hard. It was important for us.”
This season has been the sort of season the Galaxy have never experienced in a decade. It has been 10 seasons since the Galaxy missed the playoffs and finished at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Compounding matters, the StubHub Center, once a fortress for the Galaxy, suddenly became a house of horrors for the home team, as Sunday’s win was just its third win at home this season. Combine that with a midseason coaching change and revolving lineups due to injuries and national team lineups all added to a dreadful season for a franchise that is not accustomed to those. Nevertheless, the Galaxy maintain they are determined that a season like this is just a one-off and not a sign of things to come.
“It was a long, long season for us,” Alessandrini said. “Now we have to make sure we have a good preseason and come back at the top. LA Galaxy should be at the top next season.”