The LA Galaxy beat the Houston Dynamo with a late goal from Uruguayan Defender Diego Polenta at The Diggity on Friday night.
The Galaxy extend their winning streak to 5 games and handed Houston their first loss of the season. While the Galaxy are enjoying their perfect record at home, the game was far from that. Poor performances, horrid referring and a bit of an attitude problem nearly led to dropped points at home.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not hide his frustration throughout the match, beside scoring the opener from a penalty he drew in the 31st minute. As the game went on, so did Zlatan’s frustration with his teammates, particularly with left back Jorgen Skjelvik. Skjelvik had his hands full, he was tasked with dealing with Houston’s main scoring threat Alberth Elis. Elis has enjoyed a good run of form for the Dynamo, scoring 4 goals in 5 games this season. The Norwegian defender was unlucky to have a penalty called when he took down Elis at the edge of the box, referee Jair Marrufo awarded the penalty after consulting with the VAR crew. When asked about the call by pool reporters Josh Guesman of Corner of the Galacy, Marrufo stated that the fouls was committed on the line of the penalty box, the line is part of the box, thus the penalty was called.
Despite having to deal with Elis, Skjelvik still managed to get forward, his decision making and accuracy in the final 3rd however was atrocious. He wasn’t the only player that drew the ire of Ibrahimovic. Uriel Antuna, Ema Boateng, Sebastian Lletget and even youngster Julian Araujo received scowls and complaints for their inability to get the ball to the big Swede.
The 17 year old Araujo was making his 1st MLS start and was very impressive in his 90 minute shift. Araujo ventured into the attack often and looked extremely comfortable in Schelotto’s system. Defensively, he was excellent. He stopped many of Houston’s attacks before they crossed the midfield line and showed off his footwork in tight quarters. Still, he got a bit of a tongue lashing from his 37-year old teammate after a miscommunication while defending a set piece nearly caused them to crash into each other. Zlatan was not happy about the near collision, as it could have led to an easy tap in for Houston. Zlatan turned to Araujo and began to yell at him, Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletjet and Joe Corona were all quick to turn and give the kid some words of encouragement while Zlatan stewed in frustration.
Ibrahimovic’s frustration started to affect his own play as he missed chances late in the match. It looked like the Galaxy was going to have to settle for a 1-1 draw but Uruguayan defender Diego Polenta would bail out the Galaxy in the 81st minute. The Uruguayan defender towered over former Galaxy defender AJ De La Garza to score the winner. De La Garza had a bad night himself. He also drew the ire of Zlatan from the opening whistle, later taking him down in the box to concede the penalty Ibrahimovic scored for his 7th goal of the season. De La Garza has several “conversations” with Zlatan thought the game.
Jonathan do Santos, who once again had a stellar performance, provided the assist from the corner kick. dos Santos earned himself another Man of the Match honor from the LA Riot Squad supporters group.
Romain Alessandrini had to leave the match early due to a knee injury he picked up early in the match. He tried to remain on the field but was unable to continue. Schelotto has since said that they won’t know the full extent of the injury until possibly Monday. Alessandrini’s injuries and performances has called his worth into question by some Galaxy fans. The number of #DriniOut posts on social media has grown over the past few matches. Galaxy fans calling for Romain to be sold so that the Galaxy can go on the market for another DP player that would fit their new playing style better.
The Galaxy will now travel to Minnesota for a quick turn around on Wednesday night at the brand new Alliansz Field for an 5 pm PST kickoff.