Getting the nod from the start, Loons fullback DJ Taylor made just his third start this season under Adrian Heath, as Romain Metanire continues to rehab a nagging thigh injury. The 24-year-old rescued MNUFC late with a lovely assist to talisman Robin Lod in the 87th minute, rescuing a point in a 1-1 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Allianz Field Wednesday evening.
Taylor’s performance saw him go all 90 minutes + stoppage time, but it was an attacking-minded effort that drew eyes towards him all evening. The goal saw Robin Lod slot home after making a surging run into the box from the midfield, but that ball does not arrive without a sprinting Taylor pushing to the endline and sending the ball back to the top of the box. Lod praised his teammate for creating the opportunity postgame.
“It was amazing. Amazing effort. Amazing individual. Through there to come from the throw-in, I guess, if I remember correct, and making the push in the box and then making the right decision on the final pass. All the credit for him. It was amazing. Amazing setup,” Lod said.
Head coach Adrian Heath applauded Taylor’s efforts and his “excellent” performance, and has a game plan for Taylor going into the match. Taylor took to the pitch and put on a clinic, but that doesn’t happen without him instilling confidence in himself.
“It was mainly just about you know, being positive with everything that I do. The gaffer [Head Coach Adrian Heath] harmonized on me crossing all the time because he knows I have good quality of crossing and, sometimes I do play negative instead of positive,” Taylor said. “So my main focus was just to play positive and I knew you know, LA Galaxy’s wingers weren’t really kind of tracking back so that’s why I was like if I get a chance just go ahead and go for it and create attacks.”
Taylor reflected on the moment postgame, and despite the Loons horrid finishing on the evening, he was thrilled that they found the back of the net late to rescue a point in a night where both he and Lod dubbed it “two points lost” rather than one-point gained.
“Yeah, so just a one-two play with Adrien Hunou. Quick throw in and a one-two to get around somebody. I saw the space, talking about being positive, I took a good first touch to take that space past Chase [Gasper], the defender. Then I just cut it back because we’ve been talking about it at halftime, cut back, because the LA Galaxy defenders dropped back really early so luckily, Robin Lod was there to tap it in with a great finish so it was a lot of good work for him too.”
Taylor’s performance at fullback was a bright spot for an MNUFC side that struggled in the final-third all evening. Taylor registered two shots on the night, with one great attempt on target in the first-half; he completed 83.3% of his passes with a combined XG+XA of .29.
In total the Loons had 17 shots with 8 on target over the course of all 90 minutes, finishing with a total XG of 2.7 on a night where they simply couldn’t find the back of the net. Their attacking woes continued while both Designated Players Adrien Hunou and Luis Amarilla began on the bench, with both coming into the match late.
The result saw MNUFC take something from the match, but it truly felt like an evening to forget for the Loons. It was an underwhelming attacking performance that saw abysmal finishing in the final-third take center stage. Now, a trip to an in-form FC Dallas awaits them as they head on the road in week 13.