Match Report: LA Galaxy Earn 2-1 Victory Against Minnesota United FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday Night

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LOS ANGELES (Sunday, July 7, 2024) – In the second meeting between the two teams during the 2024 campaign, the LA Galaxy earned a 2-1 victory over Minnesota United FC before 19,302 fans at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday night. Gabriel Pec registered a brace, while Riqui Puig recorded two assists as the Galaxy won their seventh match at Dignity Health Sports Park this season.

Unbeaten At Dignity Health Sports Park
In 10 matches played at Dignity Health Sports Park during the 2024 campaign, the LA Galaxy hold an unbeaten record of 7-0-3 (24 GF, 13 GA). Notably, the Galaxy have won five consecutive matches played at Dignity Health Sports Park dating back to May 25, outscoring their opponents 13-5 during that span.

Gabriel Pec Is In Form
Pec notched his first two-goal performance in the Galaxy’s 2-1 win over Minnesota United FC. In 22 games played (19 starts) with the club this season, Pec has totaled 17 goal contributions (9 goals, 8 assists). In nine matches played dating back to May 25, Pec’s 12 goal contributions (6 goals, 6 assists) ranks tied for second in MLS behind only Columbus Crew forward Juan “Cucho” Hernandez (7 goals, 6 assists).**

Goal-Scoring Plays**
LA – Gabriel Pec (Miki Yamane, Riqui Puig), 25th minute: Riqui Puig played a long ball out towards the right flank to Miki Yamane, whose first-time cross into the box was converted by Gabriel Pec from inside the six-yard box.

MIN – Teemu Pukki (Hassani Dotson), 73rd minute: Teemu Pukki’s shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was curled into the lower corner of the goal.

LA – Gabriel Pec (Mauricio Cuevas, Riqui Puig), 90th minute: Riqui Puig delivered a pass down the right side of the penalty area to Mauricio Cuevas, who took a touch and squared a pass into the six-yard box that Gabriel Pec tapped into the back of the net.
Postgame Notes

  • Through 23 matches played during the 2024 MLS Regular Season, the LA Galaxy hold a 12-4-7 record (44 GF, 30 GA; 43 points) and sit in third place in the Western Conference standings behind only LAFC (13-4-4; 43 GF, 24 GA, 43 points) and Real Salt Lake (12-3-7, 48 GF, 27 GA; 43 points).
  • The LA Galaxy rank fifth in the Supporters’ Shield race, five points behind first-place FC Cincinnati (15-4-3; 42 GF, 26 GA, 48 points).
  • In 13 games played dating back to May 5, the LA Galaxy hold a record of 7-2-4 (23 GF, 12 GA), with Gabriel Pec notching seven goals and seven assists during that span.
  • In 10 matches played at Dignity Health Sports Park during the 2024 campaign, the LA Galaxy hold an unbeaten record of 7-0-3 (24 GF, 13 GA).
  • The LA Galaxy have won five consecutive matches played at Dignity Health Sports Park dating back to May 25, outscoring their opponents 13-5 during that span.
  • Gabriel Pec finished the match with two goals scored, six of seven dribbles completed, nine of 12 duels won and two fouls suffered.
  • In nine matches played dating back to May 25, Pec’s 12 goal contributions (6 goals, 6 assists) ranks tied for second in MLS behind only Columbus Crew forward Juan “Cucho” Hernandez (7 goals, 6 assists).
  • With two assists in the 2-1 win over Minnesota, Riqui Puig has now totaled 16 goal contributions (6 goals, 10 assists) in 19 games played (18 games started) during the 2024 campaign.
  • Notably, Puig ranks first amongst all MLS players this season in multi-assist performances (4).
  • Miki Yamane tallied an assist for a third consecutive match, bringing his total to six for the 2024 campaign, in the 2-1 win over Minnesota.
  • John McCarthy recorded six saves for a third consecutive match dating back to June 29 in the 2-1 win against the Loons.
  • In his first start at home this season, John Nelson completed 51 of 58 passes (87.9%), won three of six duels and finished the match with a team-high three interceptions against Minnesota.
  • In his last three appearances (0 starts) dating back to June 29, Mauricio Cuevas has tallied one goal and one assist.
  • LA is unbeaten (8-0-5) in each of Diego Fagundez’s 13 starts during the 2024 campaign.

Next Game
Next up, the LA Galaxy travel to face FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday, July 13 (5:30 p.m. PT, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV).

2024 MLS Regular Season
LA Galaxy (12-4-7, 43pts) vs. Minnesota United FC (8-9-5, 29pts)
Sunday, July 7, 2024 – Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles)

Goals by Half 1 2 F
LA Galaxy 1 1 2
Minnesota United FC 0 1 1

Scoring Summary:
LA: Pec (Yamane, Puig), 56
MIN: Pukki (Dotson), 73
LA: Pec (Cuevas, Puig), 90

Misconduct Summary:
LA: Nelson (caution), 20
LA: Puig (caution), 22
MIN: Jeong (caution), 89

LA: GK John McCarthy; D Miki Yamane, D Martin Cáceres, D Maya Yoshida ©, D John Nelson (Mauricio Cuevas, 79); M Diego Fagundez (Edwin Cerrillo, 65), M Mark Delgado, M Riqui Puig (Emiro Garces, 90+3), M Gabriel Pec, M Joseph Paintsil, F Dejan Joveljić (Miguel Berry, 46)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Novak Mićović; D Jalen Neal, D Eriq Zavaleta; M Tucker Lepley

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Joseph Paintsil, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Gabriel Pec, 3); FOULS: 4 (Four players tied, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 6

MIN: GK Alec Smir; D Devin Padelford, D Miguel Tapias, D Michael Boxall ©; M Joseph Rosales, M Robin Lod, M Alejandro Bran (Teemu Pukki, 61), M DJ Taylor (Caden Clark, 45+1), M Hassani Dotson (Carlos Harvey, 77); F Jeong Sang-Bin, F Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Franco Fragapane, 77)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Francesco Montali; D Zarek Valentin, M Morris Duggan, M Moses Nyeman, F Jordan Adebayo-Smith

TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Joseph Rosales, Jeong Sang-Bin, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Seven players tied, 1); FOULS: 13 (Robin Lod, 3); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 2

Referee: Pierre-Luc Lauziere
Assistant Referees: Jose Da Silva, Jeffrey Swartzel
Fourth Official: Mark Allatin
VAR: Sorin Stoica
Weather: Clear, 72 degrees
Attendance: 19,302

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 Defender John Nelson (English)
  • LA Galaxy Defender Mauricio Cuevas (English)
    **Please credit LA Galaxy for any use

Please credit LA Galaxy for any use


On tonight’s game:
“I thought we found a little more energy again. We made a couple of subs, Mauri (Mauricio Cuevas), trying to get him over on that right side, Gabe (Gabriel Pec) pinched in a little more, get Mauri (Mauricio Cuevas) sprinting up the line. Miki (Yamane) had done a lot of it during the game. I thought just getting Mauri (Mauricio Cuevas) on could give us more energy and sprinting up the side, trying to get some numbers back, the attack, things like that. We just found a little more energy, maybe sprinted a little bit more ahead of the ball. Our challenge on the night was there was a lot of space in the middle of the midfield, especially in transition moments and when we lost balls, we were conceding some territory and ground. That became a little bit of a challenge for us. We had chances and we had moments that looked like we were going to put the game away. We let them slide, which always on these nights is always a tough one. It's a third game in a week after a really emotional game on Wednesday. It's always -- these games are always a little weird. I feel like maybe tired legs, maybe a little bit tired minds we didn't put the game away but we felt like it was there. Yeah, we had to suffer a little bit and we had to deal with some balls in our box and some tough moments as well. I think sometimes in these third games you put away some of the stuff that you normally are really, really picky on and you just got to suffer through it a little bit and we did it enough tonight to get the three points and we'll take it and we'll talk about how we want to keep improving and get better and attack the next week, so just I'm glad we managed to get the three points.”

On any concerns two days after the LAFC game:
“Always when you play a game like the one at the Rose Bowl, it's a big occasion, it's emotional. It just takes an extra toll. We were pushing to the end. You empty the tank in that game. We came back with a few pieces, one with Martin (Caceres), then John (Nelson), and Diego (Fagundez) coming in midfield a little bit and we started off that way with some level of continuity coming from the game on Thursday knowing that we could probably bring in a couple guys. We don't have a ton of guys on the attacking side necessarily. We were going to have to figure out the long play on that tonight in terms of how we would adapt if we wanted to, anything in the attack. We had Miguel (Berry) who came on for Dejan (Joveljić). We were trying to measure through it knowing that options are not aplenty at the moment. We have to get a few guys healthy, get Jonny (Jonathan Perez) back and fill out the group but credit to the guys out there. They pushed themselves. I think they suffered through the game and I think we left some things on the table that maybe would have made that game a little more controlled and maybe see it out a little bit earlier. They had a tough week, too, in fairness to them. They had to go Portland back to Minnesota to play and back to the west coast so part of it for us is if we could really push them especially early and make them really have to work. Down the stretch we could’ve build a little bit of momentum against them but I don't think we took advantage of our moments and at the end, we finely got our goal.”

On forward Dejan Joveljić:
“The last action of the first half when we had a really good chance I think or Riqui (Puig) played one wide and we tried to square it across, I don't remember, it was one of the last good transition attacks in the half. He laid it off and he turned to sprint and he felt something grab a little bit in his hamstring. I don't know if there's anything to it but I don't think he really broke on a sprint but I think he felt it a little awkward, I don't know. But it's a leg injury and I'm a little concerned. I saw it, probably everyone saw it, him starting to rub back there a little bit and when I asked him, I just said you're done because we don't need to take any risks with this so I don't know anything beyond that.

On defender Julian Aude:
“Julian is, in fairness to him, he's been grinding a little bit. He's just had some abdominal, groin sort of -- I don't know what you want to call it. It's like inflammation that if it doesn't get checked, it can turn into a sports hernia type of thing. We saw it a little bit with Jalen (Neal) last year and we just try to be mindful with shutting him down. We got to a point where we can utilize these couple of weeks, but also possibly even the break for Leagues Cup just to try to get him healthy on the other side of Leagues Cup so just a calculation of we need to give him a chance to heal. With John (Nelson) stepping in, you get experience, you got a guy back there who, he's probably a touch more conservative than Julian (Aude) in his approach. Julian (Aude) is a little more up and down and Nelly (John Nelson) is a little more conservative, a little more defensive controlling and he did find his moments, though, to get himself moving into the attack, but he's a good defensive reader of things. He made a great play in the box and then he makes a hell of a tackle with a yellow card late in the game, made me a little nervous but he made a great tackle. He's just a good, solid, experienced right back who understands the defending things and he has a calculation for risk/reward that can help us, too.”

On defender Mauricio Cuevas:
“He meant the touch. I think he has a really bright future. Let's talk about what he can do. We've seen him come in as a winger and create some really good moments, really mindful tactically aware when we ask him to do certain things defensively. He's very aware of his potential sense. I see him as a fullback ultimately and one of the things I like is he's an up and down, he's got an engine, he can get up and down the line. He gets himself like tonight into attacking positions. We brought him on because, again, with Miki (Yamane) had done 80 minutes of up and down at times and up 1-0 he was getting a little more conservative. We talked about choose your moments when we're up 1-0 and that came to being really conservative. We pulled out John (Nelson), brought Miki (Yamane) over and brought Mauricio (Cuevas) get Gabe (Gabriel Pec) running in front of the goal and get going and we'll see if Riqui (Puig) can switch it or someone can switch it, similar to the first goal. He's a wonderful crosser of the ball. He hits a very hot but kind of friendly ball across the back line that's really difficult to defend. His timing is really good own his running. Again, he has an engine. The things that he's going to continue to improve upon are a little bit on the defensive side of things just having to defend one on one and some of his reeds and choices and some of those situations that we're going to keep bringing him along. I like his future, I like his mentality, it's fantastic. We have used him in situations where we needed an attacker, someone to add a little something in the attacking part of the game and I thought he did a great job again tonight and he makes the difference and he's done that in a couple games now.”

On forward Gabiel Pec:
“He’s playing with a ton of confidence. He's happy, he's settled into the team and he's understanding the league and his English is becoming really good. I think he's just understanding his environment a little bit better and the things we're asking from him. Today I said against the back five. I don't want you to just stand against the line because their wing back will stand with you. I wanted to get him coming inside and bringing the full back around where he can create separation. How he scored both of those goals are exactly what we drew up for him in the pre-game, just get yourself moving around that space and arrive in the box as the full back is coming and get yourself in front of the goal and he did it, so credit to him. He did the running, he did the work and put himself in a great spot and got two goals out of it. He's super confident in the 1-V-1 now you see him freezing defenders. He'll go right, left, he's done fancy stuff where you see that flair from him. I also like that he's chosen possession and be solid that way. He's been in great form. We've needed it. As Joe (Joseph Paintsil) gets fit and sharper, he's going to continue contributing goals, the strikes, Riqui (Puig), those guys will continue contributing goals but he's hot and feeling confident and he wants to stay on the right side so he's going to keep scoring and getting goals.”

On forward Joseph Paintsil:
“I think his running and the danger and all the things are there for him right now, which has been steps in him getting back after being off for a while. One of the things tough to get back is that sprint repeatability. We saw more of that tonight. I think it's just getting sharpens sometimes it's the touch before the finish, sometimes it's just the finish getting a little bit sharper. The first one that he has in the first half, Riqui (Puig) rounds the corner as he makes a darting run across the face, I think it's probably two yards two long and the keeper is able to get close enough to take the angle away but it's a really good run. He has a couple others in the half where or in the second half where he's behind and then he has a chance and he tries to cut it back to his left. What I would like to see him do, and this is our discussion, I feel like he's decelerating a tiny bit to make the finish a little more perfect or to try to -- I would like to see him keep his speed and finish running through the play at top speed and just trust the spot and I think when he's decelerating he's trying to be perfect with it. Sometimes you just need to do things at top speed and you have a better chance. He's got to sprint repeatability back. Now he just needs the sharpness of doing things at top speed which is the next thing to come back. He's there in a good spot and I think the rest will fall in place for him.”

On the busy schedule followed by an open week:
“It’s been a busy week, an open week followed by a busy week and then an open week so we try to use the open weeks to recover a little bit at the beginning so guys will have a couple of days from a busy an emotional week just to reset physically and mentally and then you start to prepare for what's going to be another busy week after. We start off in Dallas, which Dallas is always tough, especially this time of year. It's a special kind of tough with the weather. Then we come back for two more at home. We'll road map out how we want to approach next week and prepare the group. It's nice doing that coming off a win. It feels a lot better as you go into this week and everybody can kind of relax and enjoy the next couple of days and then we get right back to work. It can be a little bit of a grind, but I'll tell you from the guys' perspective, they would rather play games than train all week, so this formula or whatever this series of three and then off a week is manageable and the key is we have to keep as many guys healthy so each one of those didn't get more challenging on each guy because we get a little thinner roster-wise. We'll look at the next week and decide what the best way is in terms of our -- how we want to lay it out for the players so we finish this stretch before Leagues Cup.

On playing under pressure:
“We knew they were going to sit back a bit, especially at the start of the game. It's going to be a bit of fatigue, sloppy, but, no, I think we did well for the most part. We gave Pukki (Minnesota United FC Forward Teemu Pukki) that chance, he came down the middle and he did well. He's a class finisher and you give space like that to a good finisher and he's going to punish us, but for the most part, I thought we were fine absorbing all the -- of course we were, I don't want to say lucky at the end, but a goal's a goal and a win's a win.”

On progressing as he’s gotten more minutes:
“I think I'm getting better every day. I know the start of the season with how Greg (Vanney) likes to play, the left back a bit higher, tucked inside, especially when Riqui (Puig) likes to come put the ball lower so you have to change spots with him, but, no, I think I'm getting a lot more comfortable in the attack. Today I thought I was really good defensively and even getting attacked whipping in some balls. I think it's something to keep improving on and keep going.”
On winning tonight’s game:
“To be honest, I think we know it should have been 3 or 4 nothing. Before they even scored. We were a bit sloppy in the final third in holding the ball up, but like you said, a win's a win. It's the third game in a week or eight days so we'll take it.”

On bouncing back after a loss to LAFC:
“After the LAFC game, we knew it wasn't good enough, especially that first half, and Greg (Vanney) said in the locker room after, ‘hopefully it's not a big speed bump, let's just keep going.’ We can't drop points at home. We need to keep going. We can't get a tie or a loss at home. I think we're still building into it. We showed really well these past few weeks how many games we can win in a row, but going to keep going and keep getting some guys back healthy and flying.”

On his offense tonight:
“I think it's something I'm getting more comfortable especially how Greg (Vanney) likes to play. If Riqui (Puig) comes and goes to the left back spot, for example, you tuck inside, it's hard for the other team to defend. I think I'm getting a lot more comfortable with it and getting balls in there you can turn, drive at them, it's really hard to defend, so, yeah, that's what Greg wants.”

On defender Mauricio Cuevas and midfielder Edwin Cerrillo:
“I's awesome to see the young guys contributing. Edwin's (Cerrillo) getting a lot more minutes now but the guys that haven't been getting a ton of minutes, staying after, putting in the work, grinding every day. It's awesome to see them getting minutes. Mauricio (Cuevas), he's done well. He's done well in training and now he's had a goal three games ago and now he's had a nice assist so it's cool to see he's contributing and he's doing well in training so it's awesome to see.”

On the ball from midfielder Riqui Puig:
“Yeah, reaction for sure, ball came fast, reacting to the pass that Riqui (Puig) gave me and as soon as I saw that I was behind the defender, just trying to put the ball into space for a tap-in, for sure. Just reactions, that's all, yeah, just reactions. Been playing a lot of teqball lately. I guess you can say that helps.”

On coming in to make a difference:
“It’s a day in day out thing every single day. Going into the mentality of improving myself every single day so the coach and the team can count on me and just being there for the team and helping in whatever way I can.”

On his confidence growing:
“For sure. Getting more minutes, right wing, left back, wherever the team needs me, wherever the coach needs me and going out there and giving my all every single day. That will never miss for me. I will always give my all, that's for sure.”

On playing different positions:
“Yeah I grew up playing every position, I think, center back, right back, defender, midfielder, except for goalie. Yeah, you can say I'm pretty comfortable.”

On a ceiling for the team:
“100%. There is no ceiling for this team, I think. This team is unbelievable from all, just from the coaching to every single player and I think this team can go very far as long as we just keep putting the work in day in day out, that's for sure.”

On a win as a response to the last match:
“100%, yes. We know that we wanted this response and we wanted a great comeback. Like we always say, no great team loses twice in a row, that's for sure.”