Can LA Galaxy make the playoffs after comeback win over Minnesota?
Greg Vanney’s team managed a remarkable late turnaround on Wednesday night, thanks to a hat trick from English striker Billy Sharp.
LA Galaxy kept their hopes of making the playoffs alive with a thrilling victory over Minnesota United on Wednesday evening.
Minnesota had a comfortable 3-1 lead at the hour mark but the Galaxy managed a sensational second half comeback to secure the three points. Billy Sharp scored twice in the second half to complete his hat trick, before Minnesota defender Ethan Bristow was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
With 15 minutes remaining the Galaxy pushed for a winner and Diego Fagúndez scored late on to keep his team in the hunt for the playoffs.
Speaking after the game Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney praised his team’s character to fight back from a two-goal deficit.
“I said to the group, ‘You keep fighting to the last play, trust the process, keep fighting, we can get ourselves back in it,’” he explained. “We had enough chances to score two goals in the first half, so there’s no reason why we can’t score two goals in the second half.”
Billy Sharp the difference-maker for LA Galaxy
While Vanney’s team have undoubtedly underperformed this season, they have not been helped by a series of injuries to key players. Gastón Brugman, Martín Cáceres and club captain Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández have all been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign, but other players have stepped up in their absence.
Former Premier League striker Billy Sharp arrived in August as a replacement for Chicharito and the Englishman is already proving his worth. The 37-year-old scored a crucial hat trick to lead his side to victory on Wednesday, taking his tally for the club to six goals in six games.
“He has a nose for being in the right place at the right time, and that’s what a couple of those goals were,” Vanney said in the post-match. “Billy’s goals were opportunistic, they were smart. They were getting into the right places for him as a striker.”
LA Galaxy schedule
Even with that dramatic late win the Galaxy are still some way off the playoff places in the West. Vanney’s side are 13th in the table and are five points adrift of FC Dallas in ninth, the final Wild Card spot.
However the Galaxy have played fewer games than the three teams directly above them and go into the all-important run-in on a good run of form. They were beaten by local rivals LAFC last weekend but that defeat is now their only loss in their last six matches.
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LA Galaxy would need a strong run of form to make it to the post-season from this point, but Greg Vanney believes that his side can still make it.
“It’s tight. Picking up the three points obviously was massive. Maybe it was the difference in even us having a chance at this thing,” he said.