Recap | Loons’ Rollercoaster Evening Ends Even


After a week in which they got to hit pause on their regular season schedule and recharge a bit, the Loons took the pitch for the first of two matches in a week. Wednesday night’s opposition would be a legit challenge with a rejuvenated LA Galaxy squad that came into the evening’s matchup neck-and-neck with MNUFC near the top of the table in the Western Conference standings. While the first half would have the Loons looking like they just might run away with this one, the Galaxy would put in a gritty second-half effort and bring the boys in Black and Blue back down to earth in a hurry. But, after squandering the goal advantage they took into the half, the Loons refused to fold, showing poise in the face of pressure and salvaging a point in the standings with a late equalizer to secure a 2-2 draw with LA.

The Loons certainly looked the part of Western Conference contender in the first half. The stout defense of the backline kept the Galaxy attack at bay for a majority of the first 45 minutes. MNUFC’s attack was just as impressive in the early aughts of the evening, as they would relentlessly attack the Galaxy backline and put LA goalkeeper John McCarthy on his heels. The first-half peppering of McCarthy would finally see Bongi Hlongwane break the scoring seal in the 30th minute of play, when he fired a blast from just outside the LA box that would deflect off the top crossbar and just over the line to put the boys up 1-0.

After keeping LA in check the rest of the first half, the Loons would head into the locker room with all the momentum on their side. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t exactly fit the narrative for the second half, as LA would very quickly flip the script on MNUFC. After subbing onto the pitch just 2 minutes prior, LA attacker Dejan Joveljić would send a shock to the Loons’ system with his score in the 61st minute. Shock would give way to panic just a few minutes later, when LA midfielder Diego Fagúndez put the Galaxy ahead with his score in the 68th minute. And, just like that, a match that seemed within their control had quickly slipped away.

If there is a silver lining to be found after squandering their early advantage, it came through in the Loons refusal to quit. The boys would show poise under LA’s pressure and would kickstart the attacking engine in the home stretch of the second half. Reapplying the pressure to LA’s defensive third would bear fruit in the 80th minute when a Joseph Rosales corner kick found high-flying Kervin Arriaga at the back post. Arriaga’s well-placed header would be the equalizer the boys needed to once again bring the match level and take at least a point from a Galaxy squad that showed they will likely be a challenger to contend with in the West as the season progresses.

The Loons will do their best to regroup and recoup their winning ways on Saturday evening when the Portland Timbers come to Allianz Field to do battle with the boys in Black and Blue.