Match Report: LA Galaxy Earn 3-0 Shutout Win Over Chicago Fire FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday Night

LOS ANGELES (Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023) – Playing their first game in the span of 28 days, the LA Galaxy earned a 3-0 shutout win over Chicago Fire FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night. Tyler Boyd, Riqui Puig and Billy Sharp each recorded goals, while Jonathan Bond made four saves in the win over Chicago. 

Galaxy Run Of Form
With the win over Chicago, the Galaxy improved to 4-1-4 (18 GF, 13 GA) in their last nine regular season matches played dating back to May 31. Additionally, LA extended its unbeaten run at home to four matches (3-0-1; 10 GF, 4 GA) dating back to June 21.**

LA Galaxy Against Chicago Fire FC
**Saturday’s match marked the 55th all-time meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy and Chicago Fire FC, with LA leading the series 26-20-9. Against Chicago, the Galaxy hold a 23-15-8 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 23 all-time regular-season matches played at home against the Fire, the Galaxy hold a record of 13-6-4. Notably, in 13 regular-season matches played against Chicago dating back to Sept. 4, 2010, LA holds an unbeaten record 8-0-5.

Debuts For The LA Galaxy
Four players made their LA Galaxy debut in the match against Chicago. Maya Yoshida and Edwin Cerrillo both started and played 90 minutes in the win over the Fire. Billy Sharp tallied a goal in his debut off the bench and Michael Barrios logged nine minutes off the bench in the victory against Chicago. 

Goal-Scoring Plays
LA – Tyer Boyd, 29th minute: Douglas Costa’s in-swinging free-kick delivery into the box was headed down by Maya Yoshida to Tyler Boyd, whose half-volleyed shot found the back of the net from close range.

LA – Riqui Puig (Douglas Costa), 72nd minute: Douglas Costa pass into the right side of the penalty found Riqui Puig, who fired his right footed shot past Chris Brady. 

LA – Billy Sharp (Penalty Kick), 90th minute: After Daniel Aguirre was fouled inside the penalty area, Billy Sharp’s penalty kick was fired into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. 

Postgame Notes

  • With the win over Chicago, the Galaxy improved to 4-1-4 (18 GF, 13 GA) in their last nine regular season matches played dating back to May 31.
  • LA extended its unbeaten run at home to four matches (3-0-1; 10 GF, 4 GA) dating back to June 21.
  • Saturday’s match marked the 55th all-time meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy and Chicago Fire FC, with LA leading the series 26-20-9. 
  • Against Chicago, the Galaxy hold a 23-15-8 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 23 all-time regular-season matches played at home against the Fire, the Galaxy hold a record of 13-6-4. 
  • Notably, in 13 regular-season matches played against Chicago dating back to Sept. 4, 2010, LA holds an unbeaten record 8-0-5.
  • When scoring first across all competitions this season, the LA Galaxy improved to 7-3-1 overall and 6-2-0 at home.
  • In his LA Galaxy debut, Maya Yoshida recorded a game-high six clearances and completed 65 of 65 passes (100%) in 90 minutes played in the win over Chicago.
  • Riqui Puig tallied a goal, created three chances and completed an MLS season-high 110 passes in the win over the Fire. 
  • Douglas Costa has recorded seven assists in his last eight league appearances dating back to June 11. 
  • Tyler Boyd notched his sixth goal across all competitions in the win against the Fire. 
  • In his LA Galaxy debut, Edwin Cerrillo completed 98 of 100 passes (98%), won six possessions and recorded two interceptions in 90 minutes of action. 
  • Jonathan Bond made four saves and posted his third shutout in league play this season for the Galaxy. 
  • Raheem Edwards made his 50th career regular-season appearance for the LA Galaxy in the match against Chicago. 
  • Mark Delgado tied Greg Vanney for 87th all-time in MLS history in regular-season matches played (270) with his appearance in the match against the Fire.

Next Game
Next up, the LA Galaxy travel to face the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on Wednesday, Aug. 30. The match on Aug. 30 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 (6-10-7, 25pts) vs. Chicago Fire FC (8-9-8, 32 pts)
Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023 – Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
LA Galaxy                     1          2          3
Chicago Fire FC            0          0          0

Scoring Summary:
LA: Boyd, 29
LA: Puig (Costa), 72
LA: Sharp (penalty kick), 90

Misconduct Summary:
CHI: Giménez (caution), 2
CHI: Giménez (second caution, ejection), 27
CHI: Dean (caution), 89

LA: GK Jonathan Bond, D Calegari, D Eriq Zavaleta (Tony Alfaro, 70), D Maya Yoshida, D Raheem Edwards; M Edwin Cerrillo, M Uri Rosell (Mark Delgado, 81), M Tyler Boyd (Daniel Aguirre, 86), M Riqui Puig ©, M Douglas Costa (Michael Barrios, 81); F Dejan Joveljić (Billy Sharp, 70)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Novak Mićović, D Julián Aude, D Kelvin Leerdam; M Diego Fagundez

TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Riqui Puig, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Riqui Puig, Douglas Costa, 2); FOULS: 11 (Tyler Boyd, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 4

CHI: GK Chris Brady; D Carlos Teran, D Rafael Czichos ©, D Miguel Navarro, D Jonathan Dean; M Xherdan Shaqiri (Maren Haile-Selassie, 77), M Brian Gutierrez (Jairo Torres, 77), M Fabian Herbers (Ousmane Doumbia, 45), M Gaston Gimenez, M Federico Navarro (Daniel Aceves, 84); F Kei Kamara (Geogios Koutsias, 78)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Spencer Richey, GK Jeffrey Gal, D Wyatt Omsberg, D Arnaud Souquet

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Three players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 6 (Gaston Gimenez, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 6

Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, Kyle Atkins
Fourth Official: Alexis Da Silva
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 76 degrees
Attendance: 19,762

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

On how the first half was evident the team hadn’t played a game in a month, but the second half looked like a 180, and how he turns that around for his side:
“I would agree. I thought we were a little bit rusty. We gave away a couple balls early in the game on bad passes, with, really, we didn’t have pressure, then they sprung a couple attacks against us. Then we just weren’t sharp and I think everything was just a little too slow. The rhythm of the game and ball movement and stuff like that. I knew it was going to be a process of us building into the game, it’s just the game, because it’s been four weeks since we played a formal, competitive game. I think as the game progressed, obviously they go down a man, which gives you more space and time on the ball. But, I thought we got structurally a little bit smoother and we started using spaces better. The one thing I’d say, we still need to get… we had some, and when we did, the vertical runs, the guys running through the backline, direct sort of runs that were coming off the possession. I think when we got those movements, they started to be a lot better for us. So, we need to do more of that. And I think it’s an important game for us to get a win because we haven’t played for a while. However you do it, you do it. And now you build some momentum and turn around and play quickly again in a few days.” 

On getting better with the acquisitions, and being able to bring on quality in the new signings and how that helps the team going forward:
“It’s nice. The additions. I thought Maya [Yoshida] and those two guys that started were very good on the day. We’re pleased to have those guys, and they were in the lineup. When we were looking down the bench today, there was guys’ fire power to bring on. [Billy] Sharpy came on and has a great chance, gets a goal off the penalty. Obviously [Diego] Fagundez, who, unfortunately, we’ll get to that, didn’t get himself on. But, Mikey [Michael Barrios] brings on another dynamic layer. So, it’s nice when you look down your bench and you know you have guys that can either lock down a game, or can help you control the game and actually help you see a game out and really win it and take it forward and be aggressive. It was a nice day. It was a little bit of a different mind of thinking for me in some ways, over the course of the season, when we’ve been really thin because of injuries and the number of things. So, it was nice. The challenge that I have as a coach now it keeping all those guys happy. Because they want to be on the field a lot and they want to play. But I think when you can get results like this, it obviously helps. And when they can help each other… it’s a close group. Even the new guys who have come in really have integrated into the group, so that’s been nice and well. It’s a group that wants to work together and compete together. They got that tonight, and we’ll build momentum off of that.” 

On if these signings remind him of this time last year when he brought in three new players that really changed the way the season ended:
“I hope the regular season looks similar to how we did last year. I think we did 5-1-5. I think we only had one loss in the last 11 last year, and we need something like that again this year. But bringing guys in and being very pointed in types of players and who you’re able to bring in midseason to really help the group was good work by everyone involved. We needed a veteran centerback, someone to help us lead, because we lost Martín [Cáceres]. We needed a defensive midfielder because we lost Gastón [Brugman]. We needed some goal creation, some goals, some finishing. We have Diego [Fagundez], we have Mikey [Barrios], we have Sharpy [Billy Sharp]. We brought in some guys who really know our league so it doesn’t take them any real time to transition to that real part of it, and we brought some guys who are experienced and have played in a lot of places and who understand how to adapt pretty quickly. So, it was good work. I hope the outcome is similar in what it means for our team this year. But, I certainly think tonight, those guys got an opportunity to integrate. We got a win. And we should be better next game for having that experience together tonight, and it should get better as we continue to go.”

On who the designated penalty shot shooter is, if anyone:
“I mean, Riqui [Puig] was stepping up at that point because of the guys that take them, he was the guy on the field. Billy [Sharp], I think he wanted to take it, because all strikers want to take it. Get themselves going. Riqui had the option of taking it or handing it over, and he handed it over to Billy, because, I think all of us know, we need to get our strikers scoring goals and get them in a rhythm. Whether it’s Dejan [Joveljić] or Billy, or whoever is up there. We need our strikers to score. I thought it was a great gesture, and a way for him to get off the mark and get started. Goal scorers are about confidence. They’re about putting the ball in the back of the net, seeing it. So, I thought it was a positive gesture in that.”

On what happened with Diego Fagundez when he was attempting to sub into the game, and wasn’t able to:
“I’ll give you to the best of my knowledge. I still need to do a full investigation to understand completely. Diego [Fagundez] was wearing number 21. Evidently at the league office, he’s still number 14. Not sure exactly why, because that was his number at Austin. So when he was populated on the roster for the day, he was populated at number 14 from the league perspective. Don’t know why that change hadn’t happened with the league and didn’t happen on the roster paper and why that wasn’t picked up in the process. And, I don’t really know why when he was brought in and given a number, why that wasn’t immediately changed at the league level, so we didn’t have an issue like this. It was some sort of clerical, administrative error, which, unfortunately, we got through it tonight because we won the game. It was disappointing for Diego, and as I said to him, I apologize for him because this is… we don’t ever want these things to obviously happen. There are things that just need to be taken care of. And, I don’t know exactly where it gets lost. If it’s on the league side, if it’s on our side, or where it is. But, ultimately, I do think it’s on us to make sure things are correct and everything is there. When players switch teams and change numbers, there’s a process that evidently needs to take place so it’s more formal than what actually took place on our side.” 

On if they brought out number 14 for Diego Fagundez as well:
“We did bring out number 14. We were going to put him on, but then they said we couldn’t put him on with the 14. We tried to… and, I don’t know, that’s why I say full investigation, and we need a whole committee to do that. I don’t know exactly where all of these hang ups were, even once we changed the number.” 

On if it’s because they already have a number 14 on their roster:
“I would assume that has something to do with it. And it shouldn’t populate two 14s within our roster. It should probably say something if that’s going to happen. Or we pick it up. One of the two. But something needs to happen in that. So, that’s an area to investigate again.” 

On if he has to sign off on a roster sheet that those are the official players:
“Yes. I have it with the names, but now I’m going to start looking at the numbers. It’s not something I ever did in the past, but I’m going to make sure the coaches are the right coaches, the players are the right players and now I will start to pay attention to the numbers more closely, yes.”

On taking the penalty tonight:
“There was no discussion before the game, I just asked for the penalty and I owe Riqui [Puig] one. He gave me a gift tonight, so I am very happy to score on my MLS debut and hopefully there’s many to come.”

On scoring on his debut:
“Yeah I’ve only just joined the club. I’m very grateful and very thankful to be here. I want to come here and score goals and I want to make a difference. Every single player and staff member have made me feel really grateful. Like I said, I am happy to be here. I wanted to try and score on my debut tonight so for Riqui to give me that chance I am very grateful to him as well so I owe him one back in the near future.”


On playing the first game after the long break:
"It's obviously been a long time before we played a game, it was a big gap and we've gotten a lot of additions. There is always going to be a bit of a process but it is good that we got the three points and I think the red card obviously helped us settle a little bit and gain a foothold in the possession. I thought after that we looked really comfortable. A lot of teams just because they are a man up don't necessarily go on to win the game three nil so we dealt with game and situation as it panned out and all the new additions got to come on and get good experience."

On Maya Yoshida:
"Obviously he's an amazing experienced and steady influence on the team. He's vocal, he's someone when I'm communicating to him he's also listening and when he communicates with me I can listen there is a clear path of communication and obviously with Eriq [Zavaleta] as well and with Tony [Alfaro] coming on it was very easy to kind of navigate through the game in terms of that and no language barriers so that definitely helps from that point of view. He's been a pleasure to train with for five weeks and he had a great performance today."

On getting the clean sheet:
"Clean sheets are obviously important for us. I think Greg [Vanney] touched on it that the end of last season when we started to pick up some clean sheets and gain some momentum and if we're going to gain that momentum and push us into the playoff then clean sheets are going to be key to that. We got a lot of players now, throughout the squad and even on the bench that are big goal threats so I don't think we're going to struggle to score goals which maybe we did a little bit at the start of the season so now it is just about us kind of keeping it as tight as we can as a team as an eleven and I thought we did that really well today."

On playing his first game with the Galaxy:
"Not bad. I've been here three or four weeks and fortunately or unfortunately we had the hurricane so I had extra time to prepare well. As I said at my first press conference the team is treating me very well so I can focus on the first game and prepare well for the first game and of course the first game is not always easy especially since the last time I played 90 minutes was in May so for more than three months I hadn't played 90 minutes so I had a little bit of doubt and I tried to play simple as much as possible. After the red card every changed and it was much easier for us and we could score the first goal and then after that we had to wait for the second goal and after that it was much easier." 

On tonight's game:
"Of course it is difficult after they went one man down probably the intensity is not the same as usual but as I said I hadn't played in a long time so for me it was in terms of fitness it was really good for me individually and other players in the squad hadn't played in a long time. Chicago had already played a game which makes a huge difference so for all of us it was a good start today with three goals and new player also scored and of course defensively we got a clean sheet, I'm very happy about that but we still need to win a lot of games in the next eleven games and luckily we have a lot of home games so we have to win every home game and if we win our away game on Wednesday it will benefit us to keep going." 

On the team's style of play:
“Technically we have good passing football and the coach also wants to distribute from behind so we are building confidence and understanding each other especially a new player like me, Tony [Alfaro] or Billy Sharp also have to understand how to play football here. That's a huge difference from Schalke, huge difference from Sheffield so we have to adapt and like I've said we had plenty of time to prepare well so I didn't have any doubts about that but still can understand each other and we have to build up the confidence and combination. Also we have to reduce the sloppy mistakes especially in the middle because it can be a risk for a counter attack. I watched highlights and lot of goals were conceded from that kind of mistake so that we have to improve a lot."