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Galaxy fail to advance in MLS tournament after draw with Houston

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Galaxy arrived in Florida 18 days ago with high hopes and great expectations for the MLS Is Back tournament.

But they'll go home with little to show for their troubles after a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on a rain-slicked field at ESPN's Wide World of Sports on Thursday.

Houston's only goal came in the 17th minute on a bending free kick from Darwin Quintero that froze Galaxy keeper David Bingham before finding the back of net at the near post.

The Galaxy answered with a Cristian Pavon penalty kick in second-half stoppage time, his second penalty-kick goal in as many games.

Apart from that it was a game the Galaxy dominated, outshooting, outpassing and outpossessing Houston. The Galaxy also had 10 corner kicks to Houston's one -- the final one setting up Pavon's goal -- in their best performance of the tournament, if not the COVID-interrupted season.

But it wasn't enough to keep them in the tournament since the Galaxy entered the final game of group play needing to win and make up most of a minus-5 goal differential.

They did neither.

 

So they will exit the MLS quarantine bubble and limp home winless at 0-2-1 in the tournament and 0-3-2 on the season. With just two points through five games, it's among the worst starts in franchise history.

The Galaxy were without two of their three designated players in captain Jonathan dos Santos, who remained in Southern California after sports hernia surgery, and striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who sustained a calf injury in training last week. Ethan Zubak made his first MLS start in Hernandez's place and had a solid night with a team-high four shots, second only to Pavon's five.

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