Forward Tyler Boyd broke his hand last week against Charlotte FC. And this week, he was not supposed to play. But he made the difference for the LA Galaxy in their 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake.
The day before the game, head coach Greg Vanney was not ready to let Boyd play. And he elected to place him on the bench because of the injury and let his hand heal. But Boyd had other ideas.
“Tyler [Boyd] said he came into my office, which was after training, and said, ‘I’m ready to play.’ And so, how do you keep that guy out?” Vanney said.
Boyd was substituted into the game for midfielder Efraín Álvarez at halftime. However, shortly after, the Galaxy, who were leading 1-0 because of midfielder Gastón Brugman’s made penalty kick, were losing 2-1 after Real Salt Lake scored two goals in 16 minutes.
But the Galaxy did not back down.
72 minutes into the game Memo Rodríguez gathered the ball outside of Real Salt Lake’s box, cut towards the center of the field, and launched a shot into the net over the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Gavin Beavers.
Only two minutes later, Boyd scored on a well-placed cross from Lucas Calegari. The broken hand did not stop Boyd from securing the game-winner, and his impact has not gone unnoticed by Vanney.
“What [Boyd’s] meant for our attack is he’s given us threats in so many different ways. He’s gotten into great crossing positions. He’s given us stretch, the guy who can get in behind. He’s given us great crosses,” Vanney said. “Today, he gets in an interchange and ends up on the back post to tap one in. I feel like he’s just a guy for us that gives us something a little different on the dynamic side. We have got a lot of guys who take the ball to their feet; they play between the lines, and Tyler is a guy who we desperately need.”
Regarding the injury, Boyd hopes he does not have surgery, and he said the “worst case scenario” would be having surgery in ten days if his hand does not heal.
The win moves the Galaxy to 13 in the Western Conference with 12 points, and they are now 4-3 in their last seven games in all competitions. Their victory also comes one day after the club parted ways with president Chris Klein; not only did they display resilience by coming back from a goal down, they did it during a time of turmoil.
“Our team and our club, yesterday we lost a guy in Chris [Klein] that we all care about. You know, we all feel some responsibility in that process. It’s hard not to, Vanney said. “And so as a group, we came together, and we fought today, and we got a break here or there. We did the work that we needed to do. We stuck together as a group. Fought for one another. The spirit in the group was amazing.”
Despite winning, the Galaxy understand their position in the MLS standings, and they do not feel eased pressure.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure off,” Boyd said. “We are still not where we want to be, so I don’t think anything has changed for our mental. We need some string some wins together. String some wins together and continue with this momentum.”
The next chance for the Galaxy to build on their momentum is against Real Salt Lake, again, in the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal. Then, they play an MLS game versus St. Louis City SC.