Match Report: LA Galaxy Earn 1-0 Shutout Win Over Seattle Sounders FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday Night

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LOS ANGELES (Saturday, March 30, 2024) – Playing in their third match at home during the 2024 campaign, the LA Galaxy extended a six-match unbeaten run by earning a 1-0 shutout win over Seattle Sounders FC before 22,736 fans at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night. Gabriel Pec scored his first career goal for the Galaxy, while Joseph Paintsil and Riqui Puig both notched assists in the victory against Sounders FC.

Unbeaten Start to Begin 2024 Campaign
With the Galaxy’s first win over Seattle at home dating back to a 3-0 victory on Sept. 23, 2018, LA extended its unbeaten run to six matches (3-0-3, 13 GA, 9 GA) to begin the 2024 MLS Regular Season. The last time the LA Galaxy began a season unbeaten through the first six matches was back in 2010 (5-0-1, 16 points). The 12 points earned through the first six games to begin the season for LA ranks as the sixth best start in the team’s 29-year history in MLS. Notably, the Galaxy sit in first place in the Supporters’ Shield standings during the 2024 campaign.

Goal-Scoring Plays
LA – Gabriel Pec (Joseph Paintsil, Riqui Puig), 4th minute: Riqui Puig scooped a ball into the penalty area to Joseph Paintsil, whose first-time pass to Gabriel Pec was volleyed in at the near post.

Postgame Notes

  • Through six matches played during the 2024 MLS Regular Season, the LA Galaxy hold an unbeaten record of 3-0-3 (13 GF, 9 GA; 12 points; +4 GD) and sit in first place in the Supporters Shield standings.
  • Saturday’s match between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC marked the 49th meeting across all competitions between the two teams, with the Galaxy trailing the all-time series 17-19-13.
  • Against Seattle, the Galaxy hold a 11-14-13 record in league play, a 4-3-0 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs and a 2-2-0 record in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • In 20 regular-season matches played at home against Seattle, the Galaxy hold a 7-6-7 record.
  • The win over Seattle marked the club’s first victory against Sounders FC dating back to Sept. 24, 2018, a run of 11 regular-season matches without a win.
  • The LA Galaxy rank second in MLS in goals scored (13; 6 games played) behind only Inter Miami CF (14; 7 games played), and lead the league in goals scored per match (2.2).
  • In 13 career regular-season matches managed against Seattle Sounders FC as head coach of the LA Galaxy and Toronto FC dating back to 2015, LA Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney holds a 2-8-3 record.
  • Gabriel Pec scored his first career goal for the LA Galaxy, starting and playing 90 minutes, creating two chances, winning 11 of 16 duels and a game-high 11 possessions, completing five of eight dribbles, winning three of three tackles and winning three fouls in the win over Seattle.
  • Joseph Paintsil registered his second assist of the 2024 campaign and hit the post for a league-high third time this season in the win over Seattle.
  • Riqui Puig notched his fourth assist of the 2024 MLS Regular Season, and tallied a goal or an assist for a fifth consecutive match dating back to March 2, 2024.
  • Julián Aude won three of four tackles and seven of 12 duels, logged two interceptions and recorded a game-high six clearances.
  • John McCarthy made two saves and earned his first shutout of the season.

Next Game
Next up, the LA Galaxy will travel to face LAFC in the 22nd edition across all competitions of El Tráfico_ at BMO Stadium on Saturday, April 6 (4:30 p.m. PT, FOX, MLS Season Pass).
2024 MLS Regular Season
LA Galaxy (3-0-3, 12pts) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (0-3-2, 2pts)

Saturday, March 30, 2024 – Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
LA Galaxy                     1          0          1
Seattle Sounders FC     0          0          0

Scoring Summary:
LA: Pec (Paintsil, Puig), 4

Misconduct Summary:
SEA: A. Roldan (caution), 59
SEA: Ruidiaz (caution), 68
SEA: Tolo (caution), 90+3

LA: GK John McCarthy; D Miki Yamane, D Maya Yoshida ©, D Martín Cáceres (Eriq Zavaleta, 31), D Julián Aude; M Mark Delgado, M Gastón Brugman (Edwin Cerrillo, 66), M Riqui Puig, F Gabriel Pec, F Joseph Paintsil (Diego Fagundez, 85), F Miguel Berry (Dejan Joveljić, 67)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Novak Mićović; D Mauricio Cuevas, D John Nelson; M Daniel Aguirre, M Jonathan Pérez

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Riqui Puig, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Joseph Paintsil, Gabriel Pec, 1); FOULS: 11 (Edwin Cerrillo, Miki Yamane, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 2

SEA: GK Stefan Frei ©; D Nouhou Tolo, D Jackson Ragen, D Yeimar, D Cody Baker (Danny Musovski, 60); M Josh Atencio (Dylan Teves, 85), M Cristian Roldan (Paul Rothrock, 78), M Albert Rusnak, M Alex Roldan; F Jordan Morris, F Raul Ruidiaz (Danny Leyva, 79)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Andrew Thomas; D Nathan, D Xavier Arreaga, M Sota Kitahara, F Jonathan Bell

TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Raul Ruidiaz, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Albert Rusnak, Danny Musovski, 1); FOULS: 7 (Nouhou Tolo, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 1

Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Jeremy Hanson
Fourth Official: Matt Thompson
VAR: Michael Radchuk
Weather: Light Rain, 53 degrees
Attendance: 22,736

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


On the defensive effort of the group:  
“I thought the group was resilient. I mean, we had an easy field to play on, at least for us, anyway. And when we attacked, we attacked fast, and again, we get a little bit separated from front to back, which meant the guys that were underneath the ball or behind the ball had some work to do. I think we dealt with 25, or something, crosses that guys had to clear out and in the grand scheme of all that, not many of them turned into something dangerous. We won the initial ball on a lot of them. I think the one that was scariest for me was the [Jordan] Morris one at the end. The rest I think we handled quite well. Just the resiliency of the group. Again, they dealt with some awkward, I think, number situations coming at them a few times, and they did a good job of just kind of pulling together and dealing with stuff whether it was crosses or things coming at us. Just a resilient effort, and one we needed today because it wasn't, for us, for a number of reasons, it wasn't the easiest day to possess and keep the ball. We were a little bit in a rush when we got our chances to two forward and yeah, the guys behind it just had to stay strong.”

On the difference between the team from this year and last year: 
“I think it's a good group. It's an energetic group. They like each other. They work together. They spend time together. They enjoy playing together. I think they look at each other's qualities and see how fit and work, and they are enjoying that. You know, getting results early helps, always. Not having stuff going on around the outside that's stressful for everybody also helps and, when the guys come out and they train, they train. They enjoy it. They get after it. When they play, they look like they enjoy playing together. Again, when results come and good things come… I feel like the energy around the club in the off-season with the addition of the guys we got and the injection of some pace and some individual quality brings some excitement. Like every time we touch the ball, something can happen with the guys that are out there. So I think that keeps even the fans engaged, because at some point, any possession could turn into a breakout, a run or something that can be interesting. I think all these things kind of fit together into a group that's feeling really confident. And you know, even today at times we suffered a little bit defensively just to get things done, but they were willing to do it, protecting a lead. Getting out in front in games is important. That wasn't something that we did a lot last year, either, but getting out on the front end and protecting a lead but also going for the second one. So just a lot of things. I just think a lot of positive energy is inside the building, around the club. This group is an energetic group that's exciting, and so that's also helping the situation.”

On the injury to Martín Cáceres: 
“I don't know exactly. I don't think it was knee. I think it was more a muscular precaution type of thing, but I don't know exactly. I'll find out as I go check in. But I think he was starting to tighten up precaution I hope. We'll see.”

On why Dejan Joveljić didn’t start:
“Yeah, I think first, with Dejan, it was towards the end of the [last] game, right around when he scored. I think he just felt some groin issue. Soon after that, he checked in with them [medical team] on the field. He checked in with me. He asked for the sub. So we took him off in the last game. This week, he didn't really train until yesterday he trained a little bit. Early in the season, I know he was going for a record potentially, but he's too important to risk him for the long haul. So again he got through training yesterday so we felt like he was comfortable for a short run or a short stint, but we didn't want him out there for the long haul. And so that was his run for today. I think he'll progress and he'll be fine. It was a minor issue but again, precaution at this point in the season is important. Miguel [Berry] always puts in a shift. He works and works and works, and he's powerful. He's a powerful runner. He had a couple chances here and there in the game. As we keep building with him, I'd like him to get a little more efficient at times with where he's putting in the work and when, and continuing to just grow and get used to the group and team and stuff like that. He's a handful and he'll run hard which makes gives a challenge for center backs, and gives you more size to compete when he comes in. I really like him towards the end of games. I feel like he's a big handful when he comes on towards the end of the game. So today was a chance for him to start and so he what he could bring to the equation. But I like him. I like him complementary to Dejan at times, and we have seen them together and they combined for a goal, if you recall, in Nashville. I like his work rate and we'll just keep building off that.”

On the upcoming match against LAFC:
“For us, now that we are up there on top of the table or somewhere up there, okay, that sounds good -- I thought so. I thought I saw a picture. We want to stay there. That's the challenge. We want to stay unbeaten. We want to stay on the top. We are going and playing our rivals, and like I said, highly emotional contest, and we look forward to it. These challenges that have been presented to us at the beginning -- when I looked at our schedule to be honest with you at the start of the season, I thought, this is going to be a really difficult start to the season. Because a number of these games are on the road against really good opponents that are hard to beat that we don't have particularly great record against, and the guys have managed each of these in our own way. We've managed each of these to get something out of them, which has been special. This next week is going to be no different from that way and it's going to be a huge challenge, but the resiliency of the group and the quality of the group makes me excited to go in there and see what we can do.”

On scoring his first career goal for the LA Galaxy:  “First of all, thanks to God for this opportunity to play with a lot of fans in a full house. It’s very special to be performing in front of the fans. Looking forward to the next game. It's going to be a derby.”

On the goal:
“The goal was on a daily basis we try to get together. I try to get to know my teammates and to come out in a game like this. I scored my first goal, this is what I've been doing, trying to make the goal, the pass from Riqui [Puig] to Joseph I was in a beautiful position to score and very happy to.”
On playing in the rain:
“The cold weather… I couldn't feel my feet today in the game, also, the half-field, the halves were fixed because of rain, and definitely it was a difficult thing today in the game. But definitely do my best and get the win. I'm glad that I could score today. I'm very happy with my performance, and also I was feeling happy that I scored a goal so far. It's good to score a goal after a little time here. I can't wait to do the next one.”
On getting the first shutout of the season:  _“Well, of course, if we can win 3-0, 4-0 that would be great every time. But the goal is more important part in soccer. I understand sometimes you have to wait, and that kind of game, defensively, we need to have a lot of patience and today we had a good patience. And Gabriel [Pec] scored the first goal, and as a young DP, also, I think he got a lot of pressure because everybody expecting high and, well, he's tried adjusting and returning, and especially for the attacker, the first goal is very difficult for the new club and also Miguel [Berry]. Hopefully this is the first one of the catchups and there's more to come and of course, the defenseman, we need to protect. We need to make the clean sheet today, because today is the last game for Vicky [Mercado] and Vicky has contributed to the club ten years and [I want to give a] special thank you for her from our squad and our team. Since I came here, I really appreciate what she has done, and this is part of soccer. Sometimes good people go very quickly, and no good people stay for a long time. Soccer is very small world, so we can see each other again next season probably and I hope good luck for her and we keep going.”

On Martín Cáceres being subbed off due to injury and Eriq Zavaleta filling in to secure the shutout: 
“It's everything possible for anybody, and today it happened to Martín unfortunately. As a center back, it's very difficult to come in middle of the game, but Eriq did it well, especially in the first half. He tried to play simple and I tried to play simple as well. But probably more long balls than you could see than in normal games. But we get three points and we keep moving forward and we analyze what we need to improve. Of course we want to play like Barcelona every game, but on the pitch, on the condition, the fitness, everything, and sometime you have to be very realistic sometimes, yeah.”