CARSON — The Galaxy survived a wild 90 minutes Sunday and came away with a much-needed win.
Kevin Cabral scored in the seventh minute and Dejan Joveljic capped the night in the late stages of extra time to lift the Galaxy (9-9-3, 30 points) to a 2-0 win over Atlanta United FC at Dignity Health Sports Park in front of 24,122.
Joveljic’s goal, his ninth of the season, came at the perfect time as the Galaxy was backed up in its own half, struggling to get out from the Atlanta United pressure. The goal came in the fifth and last minute of additional time.
“It’s hard to get the first one (win) when you’ve gone through a tough stretch,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “It was a really important game from all those aspects. It was a hard-fought win.”
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Galaxy.
As the final game of the week, the Galaxy had slipped to ninth place by the kickoff after entering the week holding the seventh and final playoff position in the Western Conference. With the win, the Galaxy moves back into seventh place in the ultra-tight conference with 13 games remaining.
The Galaxy got off to a important positive start as Cabral cleaned up a rebound that was spilled by Atlanta goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo off of a Chicharito Hernandez shot. Cabral’s goal, in the seventh minute, was his first this season in MLS competition.
Hernandez’s initial shot was set up by Douglas Costa. It was the first time since May 18 that all three of the Galaxy’s Designated Players (Hernandez, Cabral and Costa) were in the starting lineup together.
Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond was pressed into action a couple of times in the first half coming up with saves to preserve the Galaxy’s one-goal heading into halftime.
The Galaxy emerged from the second half a bit slow, allowing Atlanta to pick up steam, especially with forward Josef Martinez and Dom Dwyer coming on as subs.
Atlanta United remained on the front foot throughout the second half, but struggled in front of goal, even against an unbalanced Galaxy defense at times.
New addition Gaston Brugman made his debut in the Galaxy midfield. He went 65 minutes before he was subbed off.
“Once we start settling in an get going, it was to make sure clog up the midfield and make their life a little bit difficult,” Vanney said.
In the 72nd minute, the Galaxy thought it had a good shout for a penalty after Hernandez sprinted into the box and was brought down by at least one, maybe multiple Atlanta defenders. However, after the look at the video review, play was restarted.
This was the first meeting between the teams since 2019. In the short history between the clubs, Atlanta United had won the first three games against the Galaxy, by a commanding combined score of 9-0.