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The Galaxy’s new signing Riqui Puig makes his debut in a 3-3 draw against Seattle

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Aug-20 13:46 first published at 13:46 PM


On Friday night at Dignity Health Sports Park, New Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig, left, moves the ball past Seattle Sounders midfielder Jimmy Medranda. The game ended in a 3-3 tie. (Associated Press/Raul Romero Jr.) Galaxy coach Greg Vanney is usually as modest as a one-piece bathing suit. So it stood out when he gushed about new signing Riqui Puig. “This is arguably one of the league’s most significant signings,” Vanney said of the former Barcelona midfielder, who joined the team last week. “Having a young player of this caliber choose the Galaxy to further his career is extremely humbling.” It remains to be seen whether it will be the spark Vanney’s team requires to make the playoffs, and the early results have been mixed, with the Galaxy surrendering a two-goal lead in the second half, then rallying on a penalty kick in stoppage time to escape with a 3-3 draw against the Seattle Sounders at Dignity Health Sports Park on Friday night. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Victor Vázquez scored for the Galaxy in the first half, and Dejan Joveljic scored from the penalty spot in the 92nd minute after Seattle’s Xavier Arreaga was called for a hand ball. Dejan Joveljic, left, scores the game-tying penalty kick for the Galaxy against Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei in the 91st minute. (Associated Press/Raul Romero Jr.) Seattle got goals from Kelyn Rowe, Ral Ruidaz, and Jordan Morris. The Galaxy (10-11-4) moved into sixth place in the Western Conference, one spot above the playoff line, by rallying for the tie. However, it was not pretty, as the team surrendered a halftime lead for the first time in seven games this season. Puig, 23, once one of Barcelona’s brightest young stars, arrived in Los Angeles on a three-year contract, and for a time it appeared that his MLS debut would be cause for celebration, with the Galaxy jumping out to a 2-0 lead before he even took off his warmups. By the time Puig entered the game in the 62nd minute, they had given it back, with Rowe sending a right-footed shot from the center of the box into the roof of the net in the 53rd minute and Ruidaz tying the score on a header eight minutes later. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández of the Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates his first-half goal against Seattle. (Associated Press/Raul Romero Jr.) Morris then gave Seattle its first lead in three games in the 73rd minute, tapping home a rebound of a sprawling Jonathan Bond save on Yeimar Gómez’s header. The score remained unchanged until a late-game video review revealed Arreaga’s hand ball. The draw extended Seattle’s winless streak to three games, but it was enough to put the Sounders above the playoff line, ahead of Vancouver, Portland, and Nashville on the total wins tiebreaker. Since joining MLS in 2009, Seattle has never missed the playoffs. This story first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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