CARSON, Calif. – Minnesota United’s recent surge stalled Sunday night against an opponent that spent most of the season playing like a first-year expansion team.
Romain Alessandrini scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 3-0 win in front of 23,377 at the StubHub Center.
The Loons (10-17-6), who were unbeaten in six of their previous eight matches, faced a squad having its worst season ever (8-17-8).
But MNUFC coach Adrian Heath expressed exasperation with his club’s play — even though the Loons took more shots, executed more crosses in open play and compiled better percentages in passing and possession.
“I don’t take any satisfaction in the fact that we probably were the best team in the second half,” Heath said. “I want to know why we weren’t like that in the first half. I am not going to go through this next year. I’m not prepared to come into away games wondering how we’re going to start games.
“I keep going through this, keep going over it. But with players, it obviously doesn’t sink in with some of them. Maybe we’ll have to get some more people.”
MNUFC was shut out for the first time since Sept. 13 in Vancouver. In their previous eight games, the Loons scored 15 goals.
“From an offensive standpoint, we were hitting on all cylinders,” midfielder Ethan Finlay said. “Tonight, that wasn’t really the case. Goals change games.”
Facing a normally porous defense made the frustration worse.
“There were plenty of holes out there,” Finlay said. “There have been plenty of holes in that defense all year.”
Alessandrini put Los Angeles ahead in the 11th minute, after Kevin Molino pushed the Galaxy’s Giovani Dos Santos from behind for a foul that resulted in an indirect free kick.
On a quick restart, Giovani Dos Santos sent a short pass to Alessandrini, who dribbled into the right side of the penalty area and took a 17-yard shot between Marc Burch and Collin Martin that settled inside the far post.
Alessandrini helped the Galaxy expand that lead in the 22nd minute. Jonathan Dos Santos’s header off Alessandrini’s pass from the right wing struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced behind the goal line. Referee Alex Chilowicz did not immediately allow the goal but video reply overturned his decision.
The Loons had their best chance to score in the 31st minute. Marc Birch began the potential scoring sequence with a pass from the left wing that Molino headed to Finlay in the penalty area.
Finlay trapped the ball with his chest and fired a 9-yard shot that Galaxy goalkeeper Clement Diop blocked with his feet. An unmarked Abu Danladi secured the rebound but Danladi’s 8-yard shot from the right side of the penalty area missed the far post by four yards.
“From that angle and that far out,” Finlay said, “I expect to do better with it.”
Alessandrini finished the scoring in second-half stoppage time with a 16-yard shot from the left side of the penalty area that rolled inside the far post for his 13th goal.