Dejan Joveljic leads Galaxy to win over California United in U.S. Open Cup

  • California United Strikers goalie Jean Garman-Antoine blocked a shot from the Galaxy during their U.S. Open Cup game at Irvine Grand Park on Wednesday night. (Photo by Contributing Photographer Paul Rodriguez)

  • California United Strikers’ Shinya Kadono (left) scores a goal against Galaxy goalkeeper Dejan Joveljic during the U.S. Open Cup at Irving Grand Park on Wednesday night. (Photo by Contributing Photographer Paul Rodriguez)

  • Nobuya Kakuno (left) of the California United Strikers celebrates his goal...

    California United Strikers’ Shinya Kadono (left) celebrates his goal against the Galaxy, while teammate Omar Nuño (right) joins in Wednesday night’s U.S. Open Cup game at Irvine Grand Park. (Photo by Contributing Photographer Paul Rodriguez)

  • California United Strikers' Omar Nuno (left) and the Galaxy's...

    California United Strikers’ Omar Nuno, left, and the Galaxy’s Sasha Kleistan, right, attempt headers during their U.S. Open Cup game at Irvine’s Grand Park on Wednesday night. (Photo by Contributing Photographer Paul Rodriguez)

  • Sacha Kljestan (left) of the Milky Way appears at Cal...

    The Galaxy’s Sasha Klestein, left, controls the ball in front of California United’s Marcus Lee, right, at the U.S. Open Cup at Irving Grand Park on Wednesday night. (Photo by Contributing Photographer Paul Rodriguez)

It didn’t take long for the California United Strikers to let the Galaxy know that Wednesday’s U.S. Open game won’t be a walk in the park.

In the 20th minute of the round of 32 at Champions Stadium in Irvine Great Park, the third-tier clubs from the National Independent Football Association took the lead.

In the end, however, things started to work in the Galaxy’s favour, and thanks to Owen Lambe’s 80th-minute goal and Dejan Joveljic’s second free throw, the MLS club advanced to the round of 16 with a 3-2 victory.

Cal United kept things interesting when Kevin Garcia-Lopez scored in the 88th minute.

The draw for the top 16 is scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m., and those games will be played in about two weeks. The Galaxy’s potential opponents are LAFC, San Jose Earthquakes and Sacramento Republic (USL).

Lambe, who joined the first team on a short-term loan from Galaxy II, scored the winning goal after receiving a pass from Rayan Raveloson.

Kevin Cabral was fouled a few minutes later to give the Galaxy a second free throw, and Joveljic stepped up and converted to a comfortable 3-1 lead.

Garcia Lopez later gave the NISA club a little hope, but that was close.

Things could have been easy for the Galaxy, but that’s rarely the case these days.

Early in the first half, the Galaxy found no resistance, especially on the right flank, but couldn’t get past California United goalie Jean Garman-Antoine.

Cal United opened the scoring in the 20th minute as Omar Nuno beat the opposition with a perfect through ball and Shinya Kadono ran past Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Crean Jonathan Klinsmann. Kadono was DC United’s third-round MLS SuperDraft selection in 2019.

The hosts then came close to leading 2-0, but they failed to convert with a header close to goal.

The Galaxy finally played in the 45th minute, and Joveljic scored a penalty to drag the game into halftime and the two sides battled 1-1.

In the second half, the Galaxy seemed to be camping in the attacking half, but failed to find the last pass to untie the striker’s defense.

Galaxy coach Greg Varney hinted on Tuesday that there will be plenty of roster rotation, and that’s what he did, making eight changes in Sunday’s MLS road win over Austin FC. The trio of Douglas Costa, Raheem Edwards and Chicharito Hernandez were absent. Meanwhile, California United started three teens.

The Galaxy will resume MLS play Saturday with a home game against Dallas.

US News.

Leave a Reply