LA Galaxy Eliminated from Playoff Contention Following Road Loss to Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field on Saturday Night

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023) – The LA Galaxy were eliminated from playoff contention following a 5-2 loss on the road to Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field on Saturday night. With two games remaining during the 2023 MLS Regular Season, the Galaxy next play host to Real Salt Lake at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, Oct. 14 (7:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, LA Galaxy Radio, LA Galaxy Spanish Radio).

Goal-Scoring Plays
MIN – Hassani Dotson (Bongokuhle Hlongwane), 33rd minute: In transition, Hassani Dotson received a pass down the right side of the penalty area and fired his shot in at the bottom right corner.

LA – Tyler Boyd (Maya Yoshida), 41st minute: Maya Yoshida intercepted the ball in midfield and quickly played it up field to Tyler Boyd, who dribbled down the left side of the penalty area before delivering a shot that was deflected into the far corner of the goal.

MIN – Teemu Pukki (Emmanuel Reynoso), 45th minute: Teemu Pukki received a pass over the top of the Galaxy defense and his sliding shot from inside the box snuck past Jonathan Bond.

MIN – Teemu Pukki, 60th minute: A failed clearance fell to Teemu Pukki, whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was fired in at the near post.

MIN – Teemu Pukki (Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Emmanuel Reynoso), 67th minute: Teemu Pukki received a pass on the left side of the six-yard box and fired in from close range at the far post.

MIN – Teemu Pukki (Franco Fragapane), 76th minute: Teemu Pukki was released in behind the Galaxy defense and slotted his shot from the edge of the 18-yard box into the bottom corner.

LA – Dejan Joveljić, 82nd minute: Douglas Costa’s corner-kick service into the box was flicked on by a Minnesota defender to Dejan Joveljić, who tapped the ball in at the back post.

Postgame Notes

  • Following the loss to Minnesota United FC, the LA Galaxy (8-13-11, 35 pts) were eliminated from playoff contention.
  • In 17 road matches played during the 2023 MLS Regular Season, the LA Galaxy held a 2-9-6 record (20 GF, 38 GA).
  • Dejan Joveljić tallied his fifth goal of the season and his team-high fourth road goal scored during the 2023 MLS Regular Season.
  • Joveljić has recorded an MLS-high 12 substitute goals scored dating back to the beginning of the 2022 MLS Regular Season.
  • In 87 career appearances (35 starts) across all competitions in three seasons played for the LA Galaxy (2021 – Present), Joveljić has tallied 22 goals and nine assists.
  • Tyler Boyd recorded his eighth goal in his 37th appearance (30th start) across all competitions in his first season with the LA Galaxy.
  • Maya Yoshida tallied his first career assist for the Galaxy, completed 42 of 46 passes (91.3%), won a game-high nine possessions and recorded two interceptions in the match against Minnesota.
  • In his fourth appearance of the 2023 MLS Regular Season, LA Galaxy Academy product Jonathan Pérez created two chances, won three of three duels, completed 15 of 15 passes (100%) and recorded a team-high three successful dribbles in 17 minutes played as a second-half substitute.
  • It marked the eighth time this season that the Galaxy have forced the opposing goalkeeper to make six or move saves during the 2023 MLS Regular Season, with LA holding a 2-4-2 record in those matches.
  • In 18 regular-season matches played dating back to May 31, the LA Galaxy hold a 6-4-8 record and rank second in the league in goals scored (38) and have conceded the second-most goals allowed (37) in MLS during that span.
  • Saturday’s match marked the 14th all-time meeting across all competitions between LA and Minnesota United FC, with the Galaxy leading the series 7-3-4.
  • Against Minnesota, LA holds a 6-3-4 record in league play and a 1-0-0 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • In two matches played against Minnesota this season, LA held a 1-1-0 record (6 GF, 8 GA).

Next Game
Next up, the LA Galaxy play host to Real Salt Lake at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, Oct. 14. The match on Oct. 14 kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

2023 MLS Regular Season
LA Galaxy (8-13-11, 35pts) at Minnesota United FC (10-12-11, 41 pts)

Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023 – Allianz Field (St. Paul, Minn.)

Goals by Half 1 2 F
LA Galaxy 1 1 2
Minnesota United FC 2 3 5

Scoring Summary:
MIN: Dotson (Hlongwane) 33
LA: Boyd (Yoshida), 41
MIN: Pukki (Reynoso), 45
MIN: Pukki, 60
MIN: Pukki (Hlongwane, Reynoso), 67
MIN: Pukki (Fragapane), 76
LA: Joveljić, 82

Misconduct Summary:
LA: Yoshida (caution), 50

LA: GK Jonathan Bond, D Kelvin Leerdam, D Maya Yoshida ©, D Tony Alfaro, D Raheem Edwards (Jonathan Pérez, 73); M Edwin Cerrillo, M Uri Rosell (Daniel Aguirre, 65), M Tyler Boyd, M Douglas Costa, M Diego Fagundez (Mauricio Cuevas, 65); F Billy Sharp

Substitutes Not Used: GK Novak Mićović, D Julián Aude, D Eriq Zavaleta; M Adam Saldaña; F Michael Barrios

TOTAL SHOTS: 22 (Douglas Costa, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Tyler Boyd, Douglas Costa, 3); FOULS: 5 (Five players tied, 1); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 8

MIN: GK Dayne St. Clair; D Zarek Valentin, D Miguel Tapias, D Bakaye Dibassy (Devin Padelford, 75), D Michael Boxall; M Emanuel Reynoso (Sang Bin Jeong, 87), M Wil Trapp ©, M Jan Gregus, M Hassani Dotson (Franco Fragapane, 75); F Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, 75), F Teemu Pukki (Mender Garcia, 87)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Clint Irwin; D Ethan Bristow; M DJ Taylor, M Kervin Arriaga

TOTAL SHOTS: 24 (Teemu Pukki, 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 13 (Teemu Pukki, 5); FOULS: 8 (Jan Gregus, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 6

Referee: Tim Ford
Assistant Referees: Chris Wattam, Andrew Bigelow
Fourth Official: Ismir Pekmic
VAR: Kevin Stott
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 49 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

On looking back at the season, his initial thoughts and his thoughts on the context of how so many things happened this season, and how the two coexist:
“I appreciate it. Honestly, just trying to process tonight before getting in to the big, big picture. And there’s a lot of things to discuss that occurred over the course of the season that are worth a much bigger discussion and breakdown at some point. Tonight we came out in a must-win game, and again, conceded to get ourselves behind pretty quickly. Managed to equalize. We actually had a couple really good chances to even get in front of this game, at 1-1 and even at 2-1 to go 2-2. Douglas [Costa] and Sharpy [Billy Sharp]. I mean, if you can hand pick the guys you want to give chances like that, those are probably two of them. And then we concede the third. At that point we’re shifting, and we just try to put some attack on the field and see if we can’t get ourselves back into it. Tonight is a microcosm of what’s been going on. We’re a little disjointed in the defensive side. Fundamentals defensively are lacking in times. And we’re paying the price for our breakdowns. It’s just so difficult to have to score three, four goals to win games. And I don’t blame the defenders, I think it’s a collective thing. And, tonight, the spaces got really big. I felt guys were ice skating a little bit on the field and the spaces were big and we were isolated at times, one on one defending. And that’s when you can get really exposed. And I thought that started to really takeover. I know I’ll see you many, many more times between now and the short future, and we can get into the big, big picture, but I’m just trying to process where we’re at right now. And then we can get into all the things that occurred. But we’ve been chasing this season from day one in some ways because of the other thing, and today, we got a little bit put out of our misery maybe in that perspective, but this group I know will fight the last two home games to try to give our fans something at least down the stretch to appreciate and to see. But, I think everyone is disappointed in tonight.” 

On the last few games being must-win situations:_“Yeah. When I look at the last two in particular and we give up a lead pretty late, which is a drop of two points. And then we’re in the death last game, for a point, which could put us three points up of where we are now and we might be having a slightly different discussion or a slightly different approach to things. But, all through the course of the season, we’ve had situations where I thought we, and you go through this sometimes during tough years, there’s points you should take, and then there’s points that you don’t deserve and there’s points that you get that you do deserve. And, I think when you laid out the season, we’ll have a lot of both. We’ll have a lot of points that I feel like we should have taken. And we’ll have some points clearly that we don’t have points that we thought we could have done better with. And, there’s a lot of that. The season is a journey. This season felt like five seasons left of challenges inside of one season, and we couldn’t manage all of it and get ourselves to the playoffs and the final stages. I don’t know any other way to put it right now.” 

On what he told the team in the locker room after this game, and how he approaches the next two games:
“I think everyone feels the weight of the moment and the loss. The loss, running away. A lot of that is… there’s a portion of that when you start chasing the game and you start to get really stretched out, and that’s that. For me, honestly, I feel like the group, with everything that it’s endured, through injuries, off the field stuff, whatever things just going on around, things that none of these guys had anything to do with, and the unfortunate big injuries that came that, like I said, I spent seven years in Toronto and we had one ACL. And we had three ACL’s this year on top of other issues. Multiple players. It’s difficult. And this group has fought every single game. Not always clearly, not always to the perfect result or to the perfect performance. But they battled. And tonight this one got away from us. We battled a lot of games. We’ve kept them tight. We’ve been in there fighting. And the guys who have joined us have helped give us a lift, and the guys who have been grinding all year continue to grind. Tonight it got away from us in a must-win where maybe there’s a little bit of extra stress, being on the road and having a must-win. They’re going through a coaching change, which, you don’t know what you’re necessarily going to get off of that. So, there’s just a gap. But, the guys battled. We scored the last goal in this game. We stayed in it. Guys didn’t just shut it down. They kept pushing for it. And, I think that’s a lot of character. And sometimes in tough moments, just to see the positive character and this group’s willingness to work together and fight for each other and stick together, shows that this group has a lot of character. We weren’t perfect in performances for sure, but there’s something to be said for that in a year that’s had a lot of difficulty to have that kind of character and stay together as a group through the entire thing. And we’ll finish it off in the right way these last two games for sure. That’s what I said to them. I’m proud of that. But, we made a lot of mistakes, which is why we’re not in this thing, but we fought with a lot of character I think.” 

On two home games left in the season, what he’s looking to accomplish and see from the team in these games:
“What I’m looking for from the group is continued fight all the way to the end. And to come home and perform at an expected level. For each guy to do their best. To give their best and to fight and to work as a group. And, of course, we would love to perform better than we did tonight, but perform. And score goals. And I’d love to see us actually get a shutout. That would be nice. But I just think that we have to see this out in a very, very professional manner for our fans, for our club, for also the character that the group has shown during the season. We have to do that. I think there will be some opportunities for guys inside of this as well to gain some experience here at the end of the year that can hopefully serve them well in preparation for a new season. But there’s also going to be some guys that have an opportunity to continue to help the team be stable and perform and play well down the stretch. If we can play spoilers a little bit in the last two games then that’s a role we can play. But I think we really want to perform at our best level and go into the offseason on some good performances.”

On being eliminated from playoff contention, and what the experience of this season has been like for him, on and off the field:
“Definitely more downs than ups for sure. It wasn’t the first season that I imagined. Just devastating not to make it to the playoffs. Not good enough, really. But we’ve had a lot of injuries. A lot of players out. So, it’s just been unlucky on that aspect, as far as having a lot of our main guys out. Just devastated to be honest.”

On Greg Vanney has handled this season and managed the team, as they’ve been in it for a lot of these games:
“I think we fought hard. We fought hard to come back from games. We got some good results. Since the end of May, we’ve strung together quite a few games. I just think it’s tough. How many injuries do we have? Eight? We’ve had four of five season-ending injuries. And like I said, to some of our most important players. It’s tough. You train all year. You start to develop some chemistry between the starting XI, the players and the player group, and we have crazy injuries like that. So, it’s so hard to manage that sort of situation.” _

On scoring seven goals this season, the most in league play in his career, and being able to do that with the LA Galaxy:
“It’s good. I think it’s one of the first years I’ve actually played all season, and had proper minutes. So, yeah, it’s nice scoring a few goals. But the end goal for me is playoffs and the trophy at the end. So it’s bittersweet. Obviously, I never take it for granted to play for this club, and it’s a blessing to score and help contribute. But, yeah… My head isn’t’ really thinking about that right now.”

On being eliminated from the playoffs, and his thoughts on this season, the ups and downs and everything that has gone on since the start of the year:
“It’s obviously been a difficult season for us. We’ve been playing catch up for the last two thirds of the season. Basically off the back of a not-great start. And we can put that down to many things, as obviously you can all imagine, but whatever happened in that first 10 games, it set us back a lot. We were aware that since May or so, we’ve been probably in the top two, three teams in terms of points per game. We weren’t winning every game, but we were in good form, we weren’t losing many. Probably drawing too many along the way, in order for us to catch up. But, if you want to talk about the season as a whole, the first 10 games were very difficult. Also the fact that the MLS season is reasonably short. Suddenly 10 of them gone, you’re running out of games. It happens very quickly. So, that’s probably where we’ll look back if we’re talking about the season as a whole.” _

On Greg Vanney has handled this season and managed the team, as they’ve been in it for a lot of these games:

“Yeah, I mean, obviously we’ve had some difficult results throughout the season, but I never heard any of the players have a bad word about Greg [Vanney]. And that’s honestly quite rare when things aren’t going the way of the team sometimes. I think absolutely no one here really has anything bad to say about Greg. He’s always been supportive of us, even in the tough moments. Going back to obviously the fact that we’ve had a long season, he’s had to deal with, first of all, a transfer ban. And we had some sporting director upstairs kind of stuff. And we had the protests at the start of the season. And then we’ve kind of tried to fast forward some development halfway through the season by bringing a lot of players in, but suddenly then you’ve got to get them to settle down. And, we kind of did. We were picking up good results, as I mentioned. I mean, there’s a fine line of giving you guys excuses. We obviously know we’ve got to be better. But there have been things that you just can’t ignore when you look at the season as a whole. Injuries to Gastón [Brugman], to Martín [Cáceres] to Chicharito [Javier Hernández], to Riqui [Puig], Lucas [Calegari]. And they’re not kind of four, five-week injuries. They’re season-ending injuries and we’ve got about five or six of them. So, look. We know we’ve got to control what we can control, and we had to have been better throughout the season. We get that. But, I’m not stupid and neither is anyone here. It has been a difficult season and we’ve had a lot of hurdles to overcome.”