Teemu Pukki’s 4 goals power Loons to win over Galaxy
Posted on: 08 Oct, 2023 at 02:59 AM
Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Teemu Pukki scored a franchise single-game record four goals as the host Minnesota United kept their MLS Cup playoff hopes alive with a 5-2 victory over the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday night in Saint Paul, Minn.
The Galaxy were eliminated from playoff contention.
Hassani Dotson also scored and Bongi Hlongwane added two assists for Minnesota United (10-12-11, 41 points), who snapped a franchise record-tying seven-game winless streak. The Loons, playing their first game under interim manager Sean McAuley, won for the first time since defeating the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 30.
Dayne St. Clair finished with six saves.
Tyler Boyd and Dejan Joveljic scored, and Jonathan Bond made eight saves for the Galaxy (8-13-11, 35 points), who fell to 2-9-6 on the road.
Minnesota United put the pressure on the Galaxy from the start, attempting 10 of its 14 first-half shots in the first 20 minutes, but they couldn't get one of their three shots on target past Bond.
Dotson finally broke through for the Loons in the 33rd minute on their 12th shot of the game. He scored his third goal of the season -- second in two games -- on a right-footed try from the right edge of the six-yard box off a Hlongwane pass.
Los Angeles tied it eight minutes later on Boyd's seventh goal, a left-footed shot from the left side of the box that scooted past St. Clair.
But United took a 2-1 lead just before halftime on Pukki's first goal of the game. Emanuel Reynoso set up the score with a looping through ball and Pukki then fired a right-footed shot from the right side of the box that trickled past Bond.
The Loons extended the lead to 3-1 in the 60th minute when Pukki picked up a loose ball at the top of the box and blasted a spinning right-footed shot into the left corner of the net.
Pukki then got his hat trick in the 67th minute to make it 4-1 with a right-footed shot from the center of the box off a Hlongwane pass. The Finnish international then made it 5-1 in the 76th minute with his 10th goal in 12 appearances for the Loons, and ninth in the last seven games, with a right-footed shot from the left edge of the box into the far right corner.
Joveljic cut it to 5-2 in the 82nd minute when he tapped in a corner kick by the back post.
--Field Level Media