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Dejan Joveljic scores twice to lead Galaxy to U.S. Open Cup win over California United



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

The third-division club out of the National Independent Soccer Association took a lead in the 20th minute in the Round of 32 game at Championship Stadium at Great Park in Irvine.

However, eventually things started to swing in the Galaxy’s favor and thanks to Owen Lambe’s 80th-minute goal and a Dejan Joveljic second converted penalty shot, the MLS club held on for a 3-2 victory to advance to the Round of 16.

Cal United made things interesting late as Kevin Garcia Lopez scored in the 88th minute.

The Round of 16 draw is scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m., with those matches to be played in approximately two weeks.

Lambe, who joined the first team on a short-term loan from Galaxy II, scored the game-winner after taking a pass from Rayan Raveloson.

Minutes later, Kevin Cabral was fouled, giving the Galaxy a second penalty shot, which Joveljic stepped up and converted for what looked like a comfortable 3-1 lead.

Garcia Lopez gave the NISA club a bit of hope later, but that was as close as it would get.

Things could have been easy for the Galaxy, but that has rarely been the case lately.

Early in the first half, the Galaxy found no resistance, especially down the right flank, but couldn’t get anything past Cal United goalkeeper Jean Gamain Antoine.

Cal United opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Omar Nuno beat the defense with a perfect through-ball that Shinya Kadono ran onto and slotted past Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann. Kadono was a third-round MLS SuperDraft selection in 2019 by D.C. United.

Later, the hosts nearly grabbed a 2-0 lead, but they failed to convert on a header that was close to the goal.

The Galaxy finally got on the board in the 45th minute when Joveljic drew a penalty, which he converted to send the match into halftime knotted at 1-1.

In the second half, the Galaxy seemed to camp out in the attacking half of the field but was unable to find the final pass to unlock the Strikers’ defense.

Galaxy coach Greg Vanney hinted Tuesday that there would be heavy roster rotation and that’s what he did, making eight changes from Sunday’s MLS road victory over Austin FC. The trio of Douglas Costa, Raheem Edwards and Chicharito Hernandez were not available. Meanwhile, Cal United started three teenagers.

The Galaxy resumes MLS play on Saturday at home against FC Dallas.



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