Match Report: LA Galaxy Battle Back to Earn 2-2 Draw at GEODIS Park on Sunday Afternoon 

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sunday, March 10, 2024) – Down 2-0 in the 58th minute, the LA Galaxy battled back to earn a 2-2 draw on the road against Nashville SC at GEODIS Park on Sunday afternoon. Riqui Puig scored a goal for a second consecutive match, while Dejan Joveljić tallied his team-leading third goal of the season in the come-from-behind draw.

LA Galaxy Against Nashville SCSunday’s match marked the fourth meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy and Nashville SC, with LA holding an all-time unbeaten record of 2-0-2 (5 GF, 3 GA). Against Nashville, the Galaxy hold a 1-0-2 record in league play and a 1-0-0 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In two career regular-season matches played against Nashville, Puig has tallied two goals.

Goal-Scoring Plays
NSH – Teal Bunbury (Penalty Kick), 54th minute: Teal Bunbury fired his penalty-kick attempt into the bottom right corner.

NSH – Dru Yearwood (McKinzie Gaines), 58th minute: Dru Yearwood’s shot from the center of the box was drilled into the back of the net.

LA - Riqui Puig, 67th minute: Riqui Puig picked up the ball in midfield and curled his shot from 22-yards away in off the far post.

LA – Dejan Joveljić (Julian Aude), 82nd minute: Mark Delgado’s shot from outside the 18-yard box was parried away down the left end line. Julián Aude recovered the ball and his pass into the middle of the penalty area was fired in by Dejan Joveljić.

Postgame Notes

  • Through three matches played during the 2024 MLS Regular Season, the LA Galaxy hold an unbeaten record of 1-0-2 (6 GF, 4 GA, ) and sit in third place in the Western Conference standings.
  • The Galaxy rank tied for third in the league in goals scored (6), and are tied for third in the league in goal differential (+2) behind only Inter Miami CF (+6) and the Portland Timbers (+4).
  • Sunday’s match marked the fourth meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy and Nashville SC, with LA holding an all-time unbeaten record of 2-0-2 (5 GF, 3 GA).
  • Against Nashville, the Galaxy hold a 1-0-2 record in league play and a 1-0-0 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • In three career regular-season matches managed against Nashville SC as head coach of the LA Galaxy dating back to 2022, Greg Vanney holds a 1-0-2 record.
  • Riqui Puig finished the match with a goal scored, a game-high 144 touches, 107 of 125 passes completed, 48 completed passes into the final third, seven possessions won and three fouls won.
  • In two career regular-season matches played against Nashville, Puig has tallied two goals
  • Dejan Joveljić tallied a goal for a third consecutive match, and had four of six shots taken on target.
  • Joveljić became the fifth player in club history to score in each of the LA Galaxy’s first three games to start an MLS regular season with his goal against Nashville SC. He is the first Galaxy player to accomplish the feat since Edson Buddle in 2010.
  • Notably, Joveljić is tied for the league-lead in goals scored (3).
  • Mark Delgado recorded a game-high five chances created, won four of six duels and won two tackles against Nashville.
  • Maya Yoshida notched a team-high nine possessions won, completed 92 of 96 passes (95.8 %) and won four of five duels in the draw against Nashville.

Next Game
Next up, the LA Galaxy return to Dignity Health Sports Park to play host to St. Louis CITY SC on Saturday, March 16 (7:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass).*
2024 MLS Regular Season
LA Galaxy (1-0-2, 5pts) at Nashville SC (0-0-3, 3pts)
Sunday, March 10, 2024 – GEODIS Park (Nashville, Tenn.)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
LA Galaxy                     0          2          2
Nashville SC                 0          2          2    

Scoring Summary:
NSH: Bunbury (penalty kick), 54
NSH: Yearwood (Gaines), 58
LA: Puig, 67
LA: Joveljić (Aude), 82

Misconduct Summary:
NSH: Yearwood (caution), 38
LA: Cáceres (caution), 42

LA: GK John McCarthy; D Miki Yamane, D Maya Yoshida ©, D Martín Cáceres, D Julián Aude (John Nelson, 88); M Mark Delgado, M Edwin Cerrillo (Gastón Brugman, 61), M Riqui Puig, F Diego Fagundez (Miguel Berry, 61), F Joseph Paintsil, F Dejan Joveljić (Daniel Aguirre, 90+3)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Novak Mićović; D Mauricio Cuevas, D Eriq Zavaleta; M Gino Vivi; F Jonathan Pérez

TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Dejan Joveljić, Riqui Puig, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Dejan Joveljić, 4); FOULS: 7 (Three players tied, 3); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 2

NSH: GK Elliot Panicco; D Jack Maher, D Josh Bauer (Jacob Shaffelburg, 86), D Taylor Washington; M Brent Kallman, M Teal Bunbury © (Sam Surridge, 75), M Amar Sejdic (Tyler Boyd, 71), M Dru Yearwood, M Alex Muyl (Shaq Moore, 45), M Brian Anunga; F McKinze Gaines (Hany Mukhtar, 71)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Joe Willis; D Daniel Lovitz, D Lukas MacNaughton; M Anibal Godoy

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Dru Yearwood, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 15 (Dru Yearwood, Brian Anunga, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 6

Referee: Wesley Costa
Assistant Referees: Albert Escovar, Jose Landa Jr.
Fourth Official: Jorge Luna
VAR: Mark Geiger
Weather: Clear, 50 degrees
Attendance: 28,316

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


LA GALAXY HEAD COACH GREG VANNEYOn the emotions of falling behind 2-0 on the road and whether or not the team is frustrated to not come away with the win after tying the match late: 
Yeah, in some ways, yes. I think it's fair to hit each of those emotions. Again, I felt like the first half, this is the first time we played against the back five over the course of this preseason in-season and the first half I felt us trying to work through how to penetrate and create chances was a little murky. Having said that, we get a penalty, another missed penalty or saved penalty, which is maybe points that have added up now twice. And then I felt like, again, we get to half time at zeros, and then we concede one pretty early obviously in the second half. Joseph [Paintsil] makes an incredible effort to work back to win the ball initially and maybe fatigue brain a little bit, he cuts to the inside and tries to eliminate the player on the dribble. I haven't seen it back yet to see if it's soft or not but nevertheless, we put ourselves in the situation and now we're chasing it a little bit. I tried to stick with our shape for a little bit longer because I felt like we were starting to grow into some of the opportunities, and then we concede off of a non-clearance that we kind of chest down for them and they finished another, what I'll call it a mistake. After that, we made some adjustments into something that I felt really helped us inside of playing against the back five with -- that is, three strong center backs and deep. We put a second guy up in there, and I felt like we started to create and penetrate and create better actions to get better looks at goal. But we had some looks. Joseph hits one off the post. We have obviously two goals. Dejan [Joveljić] has a pretty good look there at the end. Some moments start to shape up a little bit. But frustrated because I feel like again, the goals we gave up were a little bit unnecessary. We were working through how to penetrate and really create chances. We missed the another penalty, frustrating. But I appreciate and I was really pleased with just the fight back being 2-0 on the road in Nashville, and to keep pushing and create opportunities and getting one back and getting the second back is just a great mentality for the group. I think there was opportunity for us to, you know, to take three today if we execute and we defend properly, if we execute over the day, there's something more for us I think on the occasion. But good mentality to fight back.”

On the resiliency of the group to come back from a 2-0 deficit on the road: 
“Yeah, I think this group is a resilient bunch. They come and they work hard every day, and I think as we've -- we haven't thrown a lot of different things at them. But today I threw kind of a different shape and pushed a second forward, which we haven't really done in preseason. Brought somebody in. They quickly adapted inside of that shape and I also thought made use of it pretty well. So I think just the resiliency … They continued to compete. I think the group feels like with the guys that are out there they can create opportunities and they can create chances. It's just I feel like I needed to help them a little bit to get the right guys in in the right spaces to create some problems for the other team defensively just in terms of how they were going to organize the defending of us. Once we did that, I think it unlocked us a little bit and we got dangerous. But the mentality was great. Yeah, I think this group feels like they have special qualities and I feel like they can do special things, and so there's no reason why, you know, they shut it down because they are, you know, they are young and hungry and they are going for it, and they have veteran guys in the back that have been great at dealing with stuff and show their experience in dealing with plays. I think it's great. Again, it's early in the season. So we utilize this opportunity to take some lessons on it but maybe grow on the mentality side to do something a little different coming from behind today.”

On a missed penalty for the second time this season: 
“You know, it's interesting, because over the last couple weeks we've been having guys take penalties and guys are taking five a week and Dejan has been five for five each of the weeks and other guys have been five or five in penalties over the course of the week. Maybe it's next man up, we'll see. But I think when guys get up there, they just need to be clear. The issue that Dejan ran into, and I see it a little bit in training, is if you go down the middle you have to put it a little higher, and if you're going to smash it, you've got to go high because the goalkeeper needs a little bit of time to get out of the way if he's going to be diving somewhere. And he hit it hard, but kind of kept it at that foot level. Otherwise I think it would have been a decent penalty. Yeah, we need to make those. Those are opportunities to take goals as they did, and we need to finish those off. So we are going to find somebody or somebody needs to step up and be the guy who can at least hit 90 percent, maybe not 100 percent but we've got to get most of them. We are at zero percent right now. That's not good.”

On the play of Mark Delgado this season:
“Yeah, obviously I've been with Mark for a long time. So when I make tactical adjustments, Mark has seen all of them, so he's very comfortable. Early in the game we started with him a little bit higher, and as he's been doing in the last several games, playing a little higher in the gap on that right side and working with Joseph and creating some opportunities on that. But as we switched our shape, I dropped him down into more of a second pivot to be able to cover Miki [Yamane] because I wanted Miki to get a little higher so I could bring Joseph inside, and so Mark quickly shifts into the next responsibility. For me, he's the great balancer on our team because he just does whatever we need to do, and he recognizes in the run of play that there needs to be a certain player in a certain spot, and he'll go fill that spot, even if for that moment. That's not necessarily his job; he will do it because he knows the team needs it done during that period. I’ve always say this about Mark… The speed at which he transitions from attacking to defending and defending to attacking is second to none. He never reacts any other way than just to get back to work and try to deal with situations. So when you're chasing leads and games get a little bit opened up, you like to put him in positions where he can react in transition and try to recover balls or help you to keep games in the attacking half of the field, things like that. So again, we utilize him in different ways but he always pretty seamlessly falls into whatever the role and the task is and he gets it done. So I think he's been off to a great start this season. He's gotten a couple of assists and today he just did a lot of work on both sides of the ball for the team.”

On his general thoughts after the match:   _
Definitely, yeah, I mean, yeah, the game turned out how it did. It is what it is. I think we should be proud with the point. We dug deep. Got two goals, and we move on. And I feel like with the years in this league, I know these points in the beginning, they are always crucial at the end. So for me personally, this point is huge, and it will definitely help us in the long run.”

On if the team feels different from last season through three matches played: 
“Definitely. We've always had the quality in the midfield. But now we've just got a threat on the wings now, right. We've got wingers who will make runs behind and we've got the speed, right, which was I think the difference from last year to this year where you know, if we get to look forward, we have got runners running in behind, we'll have speed that are dangerous, not just always want to go face, and so I think that's the difference. We've got Miki [Yamane] who has fit in nicely, and Julián [Aude] has stepped up and done really well as well. So there's an overall understanding in what we want to do as a group. You know, the message from Greg has been very clear and I feel like the unity within the group as players and brotherhood as well, it's there, it's great, and we all get along very nicely, and on the field, we are just having a good time.”

On whether or not he’s having fun on the field with the way the team is playing: 
“Of course, yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah. It's a great time. I mean, the ball is moving. You've got guys running. We're playing football and we’re having a great time out there, especially me personally. I think compared to last year, you know, last year's just in the rear-view mirror and it's gone, right? This year is just full of positive and good energy and obviously you know from the first three games, you can see -- and this game as well coming back deep, coming back and digging deep, we are just -- you know, when we play, there's a lot of joy and it's fun to watch, and it's fun to be part of it as well. So we are definitely all having a good time out there.”

On his relationship on the field with Miki Yamane:
“It's been easy. At the end of the day you're playing football. As a good footballer and having a good IQ for the game, it's easy to understand and obviously sometimes there's a little bit of a language barrier. But you just kind of point and you get it right away. You're like, okay, got it, next, and we move on. It's been easy, honestly, and his English for certain things is good and then we get by like that. So I've learned a little bit of Japanese as well. Not on the field but trying to learn a little bit. But overall, like it's been easy and it's been fun. He has legs and he's really smart and he can get up and down. He has good feet. It's been a joy to play with him.”

On his thoughts on the team fighting back to earn a draw on the road:  _
I think it a great fight from our group showing the resilience in the group. It was like you said, down 2-0, if you can fight back and get a point on the road and possibly three, we had a couple chances; it's something to take some pride in for the group. I think it says a lot about the group and the mentality of a team that won't give up and has each other's backs.”

On what he saw on the two goals the Galaxy gave up to begin the second half:
“I think it was a good game defensively. I don't see much, maybe a mental error here, a mental error there. It was a good defensive team effort. There's nobody to point any fingers at or anything. It was a group effort. So to come back like that…  There was great resilience in the group. Wish we had three [points] but when you get points on the road, that goes a long way in the season.”

On if the team was disappointed to not get three points or relieved to come away with a point:
“No, like I said, I think you go into every game, you want three points. So when you're down 2-0, the positive is to come back and take it 2-2, and we had a couple chances in the first half, couple chances in the second half that we capitalized on, and a few more chances that I think the group said that we could have capitalized even more on. So three points were on the table. So there was some tough times when you don't get three points. But we were positive, because like I said, when you get a point on the road, that can go a long way in the season.”

On how he communicates with the backline with a number of languages being spoken:
“Yeah, there's a lot of languages there for sure. But it's also a cool thing because you get to try to learn and speak to other people and have different conversations on and off the field and make each other feel welcome. You want to have the team understanding each other as much as possible. So when it comes down to crunch time, you guys have belief in each other, and you know you have each other's backs. You definitely have to work on each language, but we're a solid group back there. It's been fun.”

On if he’s learned any Japanese:
” Yeah. Maya [Yoshida] is Ojiisan. It means grandfather. He’s older.”