Galaxy eliminated from playoffs after loss to Minnesota

Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Led by Teemu Pukki’s four goals, Minnesota United eliminated the LA Galaxy from playoff contention.

The Galaxy entered Saturday’s match against Minnesota with its back against the wall, facing the possibility of elimination with a loss.

Despite the increased sense of urgency, the Galaxy were once again unable to collectively defend and conceded after about a half hour of game time, which was only the beginning of the end.

Teemu Pukki scored four as Minnesota United went on to rout the LA Galaxy, 5-2. The loss combined with a draw between FC Dallas and San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, eliminated the Galaxy (8-13-11, 13th place) from playoff contention. 

“We conceded to get ourselves behind pretty quickly, then we managed to equalize, we actually had a couple of really good chances even maybe to get in front of this game,” Vanney said afterwards. “Tonight is a microcosm of what’s been going on.” 

Hassani Dotson put Minnesota ahead early in the first half to make the score 1-0.

Tyler Boyd equalized shortly afterwards.

Maya Yoshida, wearing the captain’s armband once again in the absence of Riqui Puig, assisted Boyd, who took the ball down the far flank before converting.

Just moments before the break, Pukki would score the first of his four goals of the night, putting Minnesota ahead, 2-1, heading into the locker room.

Pukki went on to score a hat-trick in a 16 minute span in the second half alone, ballooning Minnesota’s lead to 5-1 late.

Shortly after subbing on, Dejan Joveljic scored the last goal of the night to cut into the deficit, 5-2.

Boyd was proud of the club’s resiliency throughout the year, but he understands this season was abnormal to say the least.

“We fought hard to come back from games we got some good results. Since the end of May, we strung together quite a few games and I just think it’s tough,” Boyd said. “We’ve had four or five season ending injuries. And like I said, to some of our most important players. It’s tough, you train all year, you start to develop some chemistry between the starting 11 and the players and the player group and we have crazy injuries like that.”

Jonathan Bond echoed a similar sentiment, highlighting the team’s dismal start to the year, winning just one of the first 10 matches. 

“Whatever happened in the first 10 games did set us back a lot,” Bond said. “It’s very difficult with the fact that the MLS season is reasonably short, you know, 34 games and suddenly 10 of them are gone and you’re running out of games.”

Vanney agreed that the troubling start to the season hurt the team in the end, but assured his club will remain strong until the final whistle.

“We’ve been chasing this season from day one,” Vanney said. “Today, we got a little bit put out of our misery in that perspective, but this group I know will fight the last two home games to try to give our fans something at least down the stretch to appreciate.”

The Galaxy return home to host Real Salt Lake on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.