Heading into the second to last match of the season, the LA Galaxy knew three points were necessary in order to keep playoffs hopes alive. They got the job done on the road, defeating Minnesota United FC by a score of 3-1 at the TFC Bank Stadium.
“They know it’s still not over,” Interim manager Dom Kinner said following their win.
“We accomplished a win on the road which puts us in a spot next week where we can maybe get into the playoffs.”
Other results went the Galaxy’s way on Sunday as well. Had Real Salt claimed victory against the Portland Timbers, LA’s season would have been over. However, Portland ran rampant, securing a 3-0 win at home, and clinching their Western Conference playoffs spot.
Things get even hairier now going into the final match. Real Salt Lake will not take the pitch, leaving the final playoff spot solely in the hands of the Galaxy. If LA wins, they leap above RSL into that sixth spot. However, should they draw, Salt Lake clinch the final place, due to the total number of wins tiebreaker scenario.
Kinnear made only one change to his starting lineup from their draw with Sporting Kansas City. After coming off his yellow card suspension, Rolf Feltscher replaced Sheanon Williams.
Ibrahimovic open the scoring
Knowing what was at stake, the Galaxy started out tense. However, Ola Kamara got a good look at goal in the seventh minute, but his shot attempt could not find the target.
At the other end, Darwin Quintero danced through the box in the 18th minute. He looked to have an easy shot, but Daniel Steres was up to the challenge and made a good defensive stop.
LA opened up the scoring at the half hour mark. Feltscher lofted a cross towards the back post, where Ibrahimovic had peeled off a defender. The Swedish striker, as a result of his run, was wide open and nodded his header into the back of the net calmly.
“I think our playoffs started five games ago because we needed to win to make it still possible to make the playoffs,” Ibrahimovic added.
“If we lost any of them, we were out. To play under pressure like that is not easy.”
Second half goals come in quick
Ibrahimovic lofted a pass into the path of the Norwegian striker three minutes after the restart. Kamara attempted to lift the ball delicately over the MNUFC goalkeeper. The chip, however, was cleared off the line at the last possible second.
The Galaxy’s second half goals came in a flurry.
Their first, was finished off by Kamara moments after his previous shot on goal. Ashley Cole had raced into the penalty box during the move. The Minnesota shot stopper, Matt Lampson, came off his line, and Cole played a deft pass towards Kamara. With a wide open net, the former Columbus Crew striker made it 2-0 in favor of LA.
A minute later, Romain Alessandrini gave the Galaxy a commanding 3-0 advantage with only 51 minutes played. Ibrahimovic hit a ball over the top of the Minnesota defense and Alessandrini hit the pass on the volley into the bottom left corner.
Angelo Rodriguez pulled one back for the home team two minutes later, but that would be merely a consolation prize for the Loons.
To finish off the regular season, the LA Galaxy host the Houston Dynamo with a 1:30 PM kick off time.