In the first game of the 2019 MLS season, the Efrain Alvarez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic spark a 2-1 come from behind win over the Chicago Fire.
“Today’s win is very good for our confidence,” head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said.
The first starting lineup from the new Galaxy manager, GBS, had a familiar feel to last seasons. Zlatan Ibrahimovic started up top, with Romain Alessandrini patrolling the right flank, while Uriel Antuna roamed the other side.
Schelotto called upon Jonathan Dos Santos and Servando Carrasco in midfield. Finally, the back line, aside from Diego Polenta, remained the same aside from Jorgen Skjelvik switching to the left back position.
Alessandrini leaves early
While the game started brightly for both sides, there was a scare in the 17th minute. Alessandrini pulled his right hamstring and had to be replaced and was replaced by Emmanuel Boateng.
Three minutes later, Ibrahimovic got his first look at goal this season. He was stationed inside the box attempted a difficult volley, but skied his effort into the stands.
There was another injury worry 26 minutes into the new campaign when Dos Santos went down holding his hamstring. Fortunately, the Mexican international was able to play the full 90 minutes.
David Bingham was called into action shortly after the half hour mark. Young Chicago forward Djordje Mihailovic hit a swerving shot from outside the box. Bingham had to react quickly just to punch the ball out of play.
The final pass was not clicking in the opening half for the Galaxy. Boateng and Emil Cuello combined well but the latter was not able to beat a defender once getting the ball.
Fire capitalize on mistake
To start the second half, the Galaxy looked a little flat and it showed four minutes after the restart. The Uruguayan defender, Polenta, played a weak back pass to Bingham. CJ Sapong intercepted the ball, rounded the Galaxy goalkeeper, and calmly scored.
Less than ten minutes later, the Fire came inches within getting their second goal. Mihailovic found Polsh international Przemysław Frankowski took his attempt first time and hit the post with his effort.
Alvarez provides spark
At the hour mark, 16-year-old home grown sensation Efrain Alvarez came in for Cuello to make his MLS debut. His influence helped spark the Galaxy’s comeback win.
Eight minutes after he stepped on to the pitch, Alvarez provided an assist that leveled the game at one.
“I’m happy not just for myself but that the team got the win,” he told reporters after the match. “I tried to give the best for my team and to contribute as much as I could for my team and I did.”
The Galaxy academy product cut back the other way on the ball to open up some space down the right hand side and into the area. He then flicked a left footed cross towards the top of the six yard box where Steres rose above the Chicago defense to score.
Not long after the game tying goal, the Galaxy should have taken the lead. Skjelvik flew down the left side all the way towards the byline. The Norwegian then lifted a cross towards Ibrahimovic who took it off his chest. As it was heading towards goal, David Ousted somehow stuck his right hand out and palmed the effort away.
The veteran striker eventually got his winning goal with ten minutes left in the match. Off of a throw in, Alvarez got his left foot on the ball that sent Chris Pontius, who had been subbed on moments earlier, into space. Pontius struck a shot off the cross, but produced a good rebound. Ibrahimovic was lurking in the area and headed the ball beyond Ousted.
Diego Polenta tries to play a tame pass back to the Galaxy goalkeeper. His pass was too soft, though, and CJ Sapong scored on his debut after being left all alone in the box.