Galaxy knocks off Real Salt Lake to remain in chase for playoff spot

CARSON >> The Galaxy’s playoff chances are still alive thanks to Sunday’s complete effort against Real Salt Lake.

It had been a difficult week with the firing of coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and staff, Thursday. Assistant coach Dominic Kinnear was installed as interim coach for the second time in the last three years.

Whatever Kinnear told them, it worked as the Galaxy looked balanced and compact from the outset of the game.

Giancarlo Gonzalez (18th minute) and Cristian Pavon (65th) provided the goals and the team dug in their heels on defense and recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win over RSL.

“I’m really happy for the win, really happy for the guys,” Kinnear said. It keeps the playoff hopes alive. I thought the first 45 minutes we were very good, created some very good chances, kept our shape really well, limited their looks.

“Obviously in the 2nd half we were a little bit sloppy with the ball in some bad areas, getting caught forward at times when we should be a little bit more alert to when the ball is turning, over especially on the goal for them. Then you have to give Salt Lake credit, they were throwing a lot of numbers forward. We looked a little tired, I’ll be honest with you on that, they were kind of hanging on a little on there at the end ….So first 45 (minutes), I give a complete thumbs up to everything we spoke about and the second 45, I just give them a thumbs up for absolute heart and courage, so congratulations to them.”

With MLS using points per game to decide the playoff positioning due to some teams, including the Galaxy, not being able to reach the complete 23-game regular season, the win moves the Galaxy points per game average to 1.05, leaving the club in fourth place in a four-team race for the final two remaining playoff spots in the Western Conference.

The Galaxy had the perfect first half to erase its porous performance from last Wednesday’s game against the Portland Timbers. In that game, the Galaxy allowed three goals in the first 30 minutes on its way to a 5-2 loss.

Gonzalez opened the scoring rising for a header off a free kick in the 18th minute. For the remainder of the first half, the Galaxy, from man-to-man, went about their job doing the extra work, something that has been missing for long stretches this season.

In the 51st minute, Gonzalez, again came up with a big moment, racing back to clear a shot by Corey Baird off of the line.

With the game sitting at 1-0, Pavon worked some of his magic, beating three RSL defenders and sliding a perfectly placed ball by a goalkeeper Andrew Putna for a 2-0 lead.

“Well, I think everyone is mentally disappointed at what happened with the coaching change,” Kinnear said. “I think any time that happens, you have to have a feel for the situation and your involvement in it. So like I’ve said before, Guillermo (Barros Schelotto) is I think a very good coach and I think a very good person, so any time that happens to anybody you spend a lot of time with there is a touch of sadness, especially when you have a little bit of responsibility, we all do, with what’s happened in the situation for the Galaxy this year.

“I thought the first little bit of the game, I thought we looked good for a goal we were getting to the byline a couple of times and looking menacing. So I think when that (Giancarlo Gonzalez) goal went in, it gave the guys a complete lift, you know even at halftime it gives them something to hold onto and to protect.”

The Galaxy will return to action Wednesday at home against the Seattle Sounders and then conclude the regular season Sunday in Portland against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

“What we want the next three games is what we saw tonight, give our all, try to win them all because we know we have a good team with good players,” Gonzalez said. “We have to give it our best shot to prove to ourselves that we can compete with honor and pride.”

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Kai Koreniuk’s late goal snaps Galaxy’s six-game losing streak

CARSON — As frustrating as the six-game losing streak had been, Sunday’s effort almost fell in the same category until the 90th minute.

Just when it looked as though the Galaxy’s best collective effort in a month would go to waste, late sub Kai Koreniuk scored the lone goal of the game to lift the Galaxy (5-9-3, 18 points) to a much-needed 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at Dignity Health Sports Park.

“First of all, the goal was just awesome, it was really cool,” he said. “Really awesome to score, just absolute adrenaline rush to get that opportunity to get that goal.

“I did speak with (Galaxy coach) Guillermo (Barros Schelotto) about a week ago. I hadn’t been in the (gameday) lineup so I just wanted to ask him is there anything I can do or what can I do and he just said just be patient, keep working hard and your chance will come. … And here I am.”

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon (10) jumps in the air to attempt a goal shot against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann (33) makes a save against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Kai Koreniuk (28) reacts after scoring the wining goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) vies for the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy defender Emiliano Insua (3) goes after a lose ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy defender Perry Kitchen (2) headers the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Yony Gonzalez (11) vies for the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Kai Koreniuk (28) dribbles the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget (17) tries to recover the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Yony Gonzalez (11) vies for the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget (17) kicks the ball against against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon (10) moves the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps defender Jake Nerwinski (28) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Yony Gonzalez (11) dribbles the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps defender Ranko Veselinovic (4) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto looks on during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez (26) fights for the ball Vancouver Whitecaps defender Ali Adnan (53) during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) takes a goal shot against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez (26) looks for an open teammate against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy defender Julian Araujo (22) brings the ball down the pitch against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) brings the ball down the pitch against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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After several near-misses in the second half, Cristian Pavon’s cross found a streaking Koreniuk, who was making a near-post run. All he had to do was get it by Evan Bush and that’s what he did.

“Sometimes when a team need to win, sometimes they change and get nervous and then get disorganized,” Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto. “The team played well, we managed the ball and the game. We never could get the goal, but it appeared in the last minute and we deserved to win.”

It was Koreniuk’s first goal of his MLS career and just his second appearance. He’s played a total of four minutes. He entered the game in the 87th minute, replacing Sebastian Lletget.

Koreniuk, 22, was signed from LA Galaxy II in June. Last year, he was the LA Galaxy II Player of the Year.

“I’m just trying to be patient, just waiting for my chance,” he said of his season so far. “Working hard in training and then whenever I do get an opportunity like this, try to pounce on it. There’s not really much I can do just be patient and try to be a like a spark plug for the team when I come on.”

As the losses mounted in recent weeks, the seat upon which coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto sat got warmer and warmer. He’s in the second year of a three-year contract. Last year’s team, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the playoffs. This year, things haven’t gone smoothly at all.

During the losing streak, the Galaxy often appeared overmatched, but things looked different in the first half Sunday as it came out compact on defense, kept its shape and one with a plan going forward, two areas the team looked incapable of doing in previous games.

The first substitution was made by the Galaxy with Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez coming on in the 50th minute to replace Yony Gonzalez.

Gonzalez showed signs of being a dangerous threat in the first half, working his way into good positions, but was taken down by the Vancouver defense several times and it took a physical toll that left him limping off the field.

In the second half, the Galaxy had its moments, but couldn’t capitalize and seemed almost certain to walk off the field with a scoreless draw.

Chicharito had at least three point-blank chances to add to his one-goal total on the season, but he had one shot blocked by a Vancouver defender, another he sent into the empty stands and the third he wasn’t able to steer it on goal.

“He (Chicharito) started on the bench because I decided to play with only one striker and I decided on Yony Gonzalez,” Schelotto said. “It was important for the team to win, and maybe he will feel a little less pressure because everyone was talking about him and I think this will be very good for him to get confidence and to be calm.”

The Galaxy hadn’t won since Sept. 6, the final victory in a four-game winning streak. The club followed that with a scoreless draw against San Jose and it had been all losses since then.

This was the second meeting between the teams. Vancouver defeated the Galaxy 1-0 all the way back on March 7, the Galaxy’s home opener.

The Galaxy will return to action Sunday, Oct. 25 at LAFC.

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Galaxy continues downward spiral with a sixth consecutive loss

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon (10) tries to recover the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy defender Emiliano Insua (3) vies for a header against San Jose Earthquakes forward Cristian Espinoza (10) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan (16) headers the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Yony Gonzalez (11) vies for a header against San Jose Earthquakes defender Tanner Beason (15) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Yony Gonzalez (11) looks for an open teammate against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon (10) brings the ball up the pitch against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) maneuvers the ball around San Jose Earthquakes defender Tanner Beason (15) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday October 14, 2020. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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CARSON — If last week’s loss to Portland was considered a low point by coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, then the Galaxy slipped even further Wednesday.

The Galaxy again turned in a listless performance at Dignity Health Sports Park and was played off the field by its Northern California rival as the San Jose Earthquakes won 4-0.

The loss was the sixth consecutive for the Galaxy (4-9-3), a team that is mired in last place, stuck on 15 points, in the Western Conference. The six-game losing streak is the longest for the Galaxy since 2007.

San Jose was in the Galaxy’s shoes just last month, but with the win, its fourth in the last five games, the Earthquakes (6-7-5, 23 points) have moved above the playoff line and into sixth place.

The questions facing the Galaxy front office after this performance is whether this group, with Schelotto in charge, can mount a late-season charge to save the season or is it time to make an in-season coaching change?

The Galaxy has six games remaining in the regular season, with a potential seventh, a makeup game with Colorado that has yet to be rescheduled.

The Galaxy’s troubles began early Wednesday as the Earthquakes took control of the game by creating chances and threatening the backline. In the 44th minute, their work paid off as Nick Lima opened the scoring as he found himself open after taking a pass from Andres Rios.

The Galaxy was lucky to be trailing only 1-0 at halftime. In the second half, things went from bad to worse.

San Jose went up 2-0 on a goal by Rios in the 52nd minute, and that was followed by Tommy Thompson with a top class strike from a tight angle from the right side of the goal.

Lima capped the night’s scoring with a shot from distance in the third minute of extra time.

The Galaxy managed just three shots on goal, and to complicate matters Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was subbed off in the 54th minute.

Jonathan Klinsmann got the start in goal for the Galaxy, replacing David Bingham. Since he joined the Galaxy in 2018, Bingham has started all but two games.

 

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San Jose wins 2nd straight, beats LA Galaxy

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Andy Ríos scored on a penalty kick in the 82nd minute and the San Jose Earthquakes beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 on Saturday night.

The Earthquakes (4-6-5) have won two straight, both against Los Angeles teams. The Galaxy (4-7-3) have lost their last four.

Sebastian Lletget scored his sixth goal of the season to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead four minutes in when he punched in a short rebound that was ricocheted off the post on a shot by Javier “Chicahrito” Hernández.

Twenty-year-old Marcos Lopez tied it at the 42nd minute mark with his first MLS goal, scoring on an uncontested shot from about 12 yards out.

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