LA Galaxy Postgame Media Assets, Notes and Quotes: LA Galaxy Fall 2-1 to Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field on Saturday Night

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CHICAGO (Saturday, June 1, 2024) – Playing their 10th road match of the 2024 MLS Regular Season, the LA Galaxy fell 2-1 to Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field on Saturday night.
Goal-Scoring Plays
LA – Riqui Puig (Penalty Kick), 7th minute: After Chicago was whistled for a handball inside the box, Riqui Puig’s ensuing penalty-kick attempt was drilled into the bottom left corner.
CHI – Hugo Cuypers, 32nd minute
*: A failed clearance in the box fell to Hugo Cuypers, whose sliding shot from close range snuck in at the near post.

CHI – Brian Gutierrez, 61st minute: Brian Gutierrez intercepted a ball in midfield, drove towards goal and fired a shot from distance that deflected in off the far post.
Postgame Notes

  • Through 17 matches played during the 2024 MLS Regular Season, the LA Galaxy hold a 7-3-7 record (31 GF, 25 GA; 28 points).
  • Saturday’s match between the Galaxy and Chicago Fire FC marked the 56th all-time meeting across all competitions between the two teams, with LA leading the series 26-21-9. Against Chicago, the Galaxy hold a 23-16-8 record in league play, a 1-3-0 record in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and a 2-2-1 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • In 10 matches played on the road during the 2024 campaign, the LA Galaxy hold a 3-3-4 record (15 GF, 14 GA).
  • Riqui Puig finished the match with a goal scored, created three chances, completed 97 of 108 passes (89.8%) and three dribbles, won seven of 13 duels and six possessions and was fouled three times.
  • The goal marked Puig’s third consecutive match with a goal scored dating back to May 25.
  • In 12 matches played dating back to March 23, Puig has 12 goal contributions (4 goals, 8 assists).
  • The goal marked Puig’s fourth career penalty kick conversion (4 of 6) for the Galaxy.
  • LA is three for six on penalty-kick attempts during the 2024 MLS Regular Season.
  • Jonathan Pérez made his first career MLS start, winning four of seven duels and three possessions, completing two of three dribbles and 23 of 25 passes (92.0%) in 60 minutes of action.

Next Game
Following the international break, the LA Galaxy return home to play host to Sporting Kansas City at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, June 15 (7:30 p.m. PT, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV).

2024 MLS Regular Season
LA Galaxy (7-3-7, 28pts) at Chicago Fire FC (3-8-6, 16pts)
Saturday, June 1, 2024 – Soldier Field (Chicago)

Goals by Half 1 2 F
LA Galaxy 1 0 1
Chicago Fire FC 1 1 2

Scoring Summary:
LA: Puig (penalty kick), 7
CHI: Cuypers (penalty kick, 32
CHI: Gutierrez, 61

Misconduct Summary:
CHI: Pineda (caution), 29
LA: Cerrillo (caution), 45+4
CHI: Herbers (caution), 74
LA: Cuevas (caution), 77
CHI: Arigoni (caution), 90+5

LA: GK Novak Mićović; D Miki Yamane, D Maya Yoshida ©, D Martin Cáceres, D Julián Aude (Mauricio Cuevas, 72); M Edwin Cerrillo (Daniel Aguirre, 72), M Mark Delgado, M Riqui Puig, F Gabriel Pec, F Jonathan Pérez (Dejan Joveljić, 60), F Miguel Berry (Diego Fagundez, 82)

Substitutes Not Used: GK John McCarthy; D Emiro Garces, D Jalen Neal, D John Nelson, M Tucker Lepley

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Julián Aude, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Riqu Puig, 2); FOULS: 6 (Edwin Cerrillo, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2

CHI: GK Chris Brady; D Jonathan Dean, D Rafael Czichos, D Carlos Teran, D Allan Arigoni, M Mauricio Pineda (Arnaud Souquet, 46), M Kellyn Acosta (Gaston Gimenez, 76), M Fabian Herbers ©, M Brian Gutierrez (Chris Mueller, 85), M Maren Haile-Selassie (Georgios Koutsias, 76); F Hugo Cuypers (Tom Barlow, 67)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Spencer Richey; D Wyatt Omsberg, M Javier Casas

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Brian Gutierrez, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 16 (Rafael Czichos, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 3

Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Brian Dunn, Stephen McGonagle
Fourth Official: Jeremy Scheer
VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero
Weather: Showers, 66 degrees
Attendance: 25,237

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

Postgame Media Assets
LA Galaxy postgame soundbites from media availability and match photos can be accessed when ready below.

  • LA Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney (English)
  • LA Galaxy Midfielder Jonathan Pérez (English)
  • LA Galaxy Defender Maya Yoshida (English)

*Please credit LA Galaxy for any use

Please credit LA Galaxy for any use


On the defense in tonight's game:
"I think first half, I don't think we collectively defended the way we talked about ask wanted to defend, and we were in between things the whole first half of how to get pressure it the ball, how to deal with the numbers in midfield, the two strikers. And for me, we just didn't create clarity for ourselves in the first half, which meant a lot of work trying to deal with possessions, then getting deeper in our half then they probably should have. And you do that, you deal with more things in and around your goal and your box and invariably, you have more of a likelihood that something can go wrong. That defined a little bit of the first half. Maybe you have to defend a couple more set pieces because of it. You don't get the advantage in the counterattacks because you end up a little bit in a lower block, lower than we wanted to be. And then because we are a little bit scrambling defensively, that means, I believe, on the attacking side we are a little bit all over the place again. We didn't really establish a clear shape in the first half. It was very fluid, very mobile but that's not necessarily a good thing. That's sometimes creates a little bit of chaos. I don't think we need to (have) moved so much. I think we need to organize our structure better and be a little more patient in our positions. Set up our numbers where we feel like we are going to be able to create numbers and hurt them. When you play teams that play in a back five, you've got to be able to be smart about how you organize your numbers. Flip to the second half, I thought we organized our defending a little cleaner. I don't feel like they did anything in possession that was really hurting us. Goal kicks they were just hitting long because we organized our press properly and they didn't even try. They just hit the ball long. We were able to recover most of the balls in good places. And then, we hurt ourselves off of a lot of possessions where we maybe tried to force one through the middle of the field when building our numbers off the outside and working across was a little more effective for us. Having said that, we had some good chances. Mauricio (Cuevas) played some great balls across the face of the goal that we'd like to be able to put on goal. We had some chances in the second half when we were able to orchestrate our attacks a little bit cleaner and not specifically or necessarily straight through the middle of the field. The over movement and not necessarily the discipline of the positional play, and also just the fulfillment of our defensive responsibilities in the first half I felt it cost us, in my opinion."

On midfielder Jonathan Pérez’s first MLS start:
"I thought Jonny's performance was pretty solid. In the grand scheme of things, playing against a back five and having to deal with a wingback and with more numbers there, he didn't have as much space to run and that's one of his strengths is to be able to pick up the ball and run with people or run without the ball, and it was a little bit tougher given that they had five across the back line. And we weren't as efficient with creating our attacks in the first half. It was, as I said, a little bit random. I thought he did his job on the defensive side. Something we are working with Jonny is consistent execution on the defensive side, little roles here and there. But it became difficult because I think there was a collective miss which was making each guy's decisions a little more complicated than they needed to be and Jonny suffered a little bit from the complication of those decisions instead of just having the simple, very clear references that he should have had to deal with, he had to do more things. The second half, I think in transitions, when he was able to build speed, I thought he had some good moments. He's able to get some shots. When I thought we were missing against the five was really kind of like a second forward up there. You know, in the first half, they were taking Teran (Chicago Fire defender Carlos Teran) and he was literally just marking Miguel (Berry) everywhere he went and just kind of looking up our forward. Whenever we were trying to come back across the middle or come into the area of the goal or to link off of our forward, it was very difficult to be able to utilize Miguel (Berry). And their two outside center backs were able to release with freedom to get wherever they wanted to get pressure on the ball and release their wingbacks. I just felt like we needed another forward to try to get the three, to really have to worry about two instead of being able to play one-on-one and let everybody else flow around. And I felt like it would open up actions in the wide channels a little bit more for us to be able to get crosses with more numbers in front of the goal with more possibilities to break their lines and to get some goal-scoring chances. By and large, I think some of our chances came after there, and things were a little clearer as with Mauricio (Cuevas), we were able to get him wide and in crossing positions. And we were able to get our two forwards and another midfielder in higher in spaces where we were able to overload a little bit more. We were able to get in some spots and create some chances because we created some uncertainty for their back line. It just wasn't so clear as it was in the early stages of the game. Did we get it? Yeah, for the most part. We didn't get the goal. So we didn't get everything we wanted out of it. But I feel like Dejan (Joveljić) maybe had a decent look. I felt like Diego (Fagundez) came in and had a decent look. Probably there might have been a couple others in there. Once you're behind in a game and teams are sitting a lot of numbers behind, it's not as easy as it sounds. But we were able to get to some good spots, I thought, and weren't able to execute to even up. The incidents on the goals were, again, as I said to the guys, when you have a tendency sometimes to jam plays through the middle of the field, when they don't come off, they come right back at us really quick. We weren't able to organize the pressure on the ball; he finishes it. The first goal, I'm still not even quite sure how it ends up bouncing in our box but it didn't really bounce because the field is a little bit soggy. I think Maya's (Yoshida) attempt to clear; the ball didn't pop up. He fanned on it, is what I recall. Again, I haven't seen. Again it's just like a series of events. But I think that the series of events comes from the lack of clarity that was kind of going on in front of things."

On midfielder Gastón Brugman's status:
"He should be back seven to ten days, should be back on the other side of this break, or at least preparing to get back in. It's a bone bruise. It's nothing more severe than that. We found that news out yesterday. He's not here, so he's already started his recovery and rehab and all that kind of stuff. He'll benefit from this break for sure, and hopefully he'll be on the right side of it when we return, as should Joe (Joseph Paintsil). This break comes at a decent time for us, midseason. I'm pretty happy with the point total that we have in the first half of the season. I think we've let a couple opportunities to be a little higher go, and I think we've learned a lot about ourselves in the first half of the season that we are going to need to, a, clean up, and b, keep using, as we understand ourselves a little bit better as we move into the second half of the season, which is going to be a super important part as we know."
On the rotation and if (Jonny) Perez's start was due to his good play in the last match:
"For Jonny, it's a reward for not just the last match but he's trained really well. He's been really dynamic. I think came on in last game and he looked good. He's put a lot of work to get his opportunity. It's not so easy for a young winger when you have two DP (Designated Player) wingers that are ahead of him. So he earned the opportunity. We wanted to also take a look of where he's at and what he's going to bring as we move into the second half of the season. This was an opportunity to take a look at him. So he earned it, and he certainly didn't hurt his chances. I think, again, it was a tough game and a little bit of a tough setup for him. With Jalen (Neal), he has to the played a ton back-to-back and he's about to go to the Olympic camp, so he's not going to get a break in this period. He's going to be going straight into another camp and have to play at least one game if not more than one game. I'm still trying to play long game with Jalen a little bit after coming off the injury that he had. So we rotated the center back. Again, a little bit more with Martín (Cáceres), those guys have been rotating a bit. With Dejan (Joveljić), it's the same with Dejan. He's had a stop/start season. So, we want him to come in for the last 30, 40 minutes, whatever it was, while also not trying to force him too long at the start after travel and after coming back from an injury. Some of it is just management and trying to get some of these guys who have had issues either coming from the off-season or beginning of the season, something like that, trying to make sure we get to this break as healthy as possible but also for guys who earned opportunities to see how they would do out there."

On Gabriel Pec in tonight's game:*
"I think Gabriel (Pec), Jonny (Pérez), those guys were a little bit the subject of some of the same challenges. You have a back line of five, who was fairly stable as a five in the first half it was hard for them to find sort of their spaces and be able to work off of the opposition. Because again they just took their middle center back, marked our forward and now if our wingers played inside, their center backs were jamming them. If they stayed wide, their fullbacks, their wingbacks were jamming him up. I felt like because we were not really overloading the sides and creating a certain level of uncertainty, it was hard for our wingers to really get involved in the possession stuff and be dangerous, and then so there are only moments where we're really in transition thought that was a little bit better in the second half. We moved Gab (Gabriel Pec) a little more centrally at the beginning of the second half, and he was on the right and he slide over to the left. We were trying to find different areas of space where we could bring him more into the game. We were trying to find different ways to get him involved. The game was not always finding him with the right scenarios there for him to be able to execute some of the things that we would like to see him but it can happen."

On the defense in tonight's game:
"We play what they wanted to play. They have a very clear idea. No counterattack. Set pieces. And instead, we having the ball and taking too much risk in the midfield and individual error, including myself. We discuss a lot, and we should not have done like that. If we finish like nine points this week, it would be great but now we bring back six points. Still, we are in good position. We almost finished half of the season, and we need to see ourselves what we need to improve and what we could improve for the rest of the season. It's obviously defensive side. We should have played much better first half. Every game first half we are struggling, and then second half, much better. That's also something we mentioned. And of course now they know how we distribute and how we dominate the break line. Most of the team making defensive -- so we have to invade that kind of defensive wall. This is also our point of improvement for the rest of the season."
On the team nearing the halfway point of the season:*
"It's a big improvement since halftime (last) season, that's obvious. But I'm still not satisfied enough. I'm not happy enough. Maybe generally people say, yes, you are actually well, but I feel like we could play much better. Still we need more points. We should be in the top of the league at this point. I'm always -- stay hungry and greedy so I will do more and more and more and more."

On finding out he'd be starting:
"To be honest, I think I was prepared for this moment. I don't think I was -- I wasn't really nervous. I was more excited, having my first start. But I think I prepared myself pretty well, and yeah."

On starting tonight:
"I think I was very happy and when Greg told me that he was going to give me the opportunity today to be able to start, obviously -- was held back with my injury but I was working really hard to get back and working really hard in training. Thank my teammates for pushing me and preparing me for this moment. But I think along the way, and along the process, they really prepared me for this moment today and the start today and to be able to be the best version of myself and try to help my team in any way.”

On showing what he can do for national teams:
"I feel like if I continue playing more and continuing showing what I can do, I think the opportunities will come for Mexico and also hopefully with the U.S. I'm hoping, as well, with the U.S. Right now for me, I think I'm just going to continue on to get the minutes and do my best and hopefully if I get called up with either national team. But as of right now, my main focus is just getting minutes and getting my rhythm back because I haven't really been playing as much but I think that's my main focus as of right now."