LOS ANGELES (Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023) – Down 3-1 at halftime, the LA Galaxy fought back to score three second-half goals in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Minnesota United FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Wednesday night. Billy Sharp recorded the 27th hat-trick in Galaxy history, while Diego Fagundez scored the game-winning goal in the win over the Loons.
LA Galaxy Form At Home
With the win over Minnesota, the Galaxy extended their unbeaten run at home in league play to seven matches (5-0-2; 16 GF, 9 GA) dating back to June 21. In 17 games played at home (Dignity Health Sports Park, Rose Bowl Stadium) across all competitions during the 2023 campaign, the LA Galaxy hold a 8-6-3 record (29 GF, 24 GA). In three matches played at home this season for LA, Sharp has recorded five goals.
LA Galaxy Against Minnesota United FC
Wednesday’s match marked the 13th all-time meeting across all competitions between LA and Minnesota United FC, with the Galaxy leading the series 7-2-4. Against Minnesota, LA holds a 6-2-4 record in league play and a 1-0-0 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In six matches played at home against Minnesota, LA improved to a 3-1-2 record.
LA – Billy Sharp, 16th minute: Riqui Puig’s shot from inside the six-yard box deflected off Michael Boxall and fell to Billy Sharp, who buried his shot in at the near post
MIN– Teemu Pukki, 19th minute: A failed clearance inside the box fell to Teemu Pukki, whose shot was fired in off the underside of the crossbar.
MIN– Bongokuhle Hlongwane, 41st minute: Bongokuhle Hlongwane’s shot from just outside the 18-yard box was deflected off Raheem Edwards and floated into the back of the net.
MIN– Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Teemu Pukki), 45+5th minute: Teemu Pukki’s centering pass across the face of goal was finished by Bongokuhle Hlongwane from close range.
LA – Billy Sharp, 63rd minute: Tyler Boyd’s in-swinging corner-kick delivery was headed by Maya Yoshida off a Minnesota defender into the path of Billy Sharp, who poked his shot past Dayne St. Clair into the bottom corner of the goal.
LA – Billy Sharp (Raheem Edwards), 71st minute: A clearance deflected off Raheem Edwards inside the six-yard box and the ball was flicked in by Billy Sharp at the far post.
LA – Diego Fagundez (Tyler Boyd, Riqui Puig), 82nd minute: Riqui Puig played the ball out wide to Tyler Boyd, who dribbled down the right flank. Boyd delivered a cross that Mark Delgado let run past him towards Diego Fagundez, who placed his shot past Dayne St. Clair.
- With six games remaining in the 2023 MLS Regular Season, the LA Galaxy (28 GP, 8-11-9, 33 PTS) sit in 13th place in the Western Conference standings and five points behind ninth place FC Dallas (28 GP, 10-10-8, 38 PTS) for the final playoff spot.
- Following the come-from-behind win over Minnesota, the Galaxy’s now hold a 6-2-6 record (29 GF, 24 GA) in their last 14 regular season matches played dating back to May 31.
- With the win over the Loons, the Galaxy extended their unbeaten run at home in league play to seven matches (5-0-2; 16 GF, 9 GA) dating back to June 21.
- In 17 games played at home (Dignity Health Sports Park, Rose Bowl Stadium) across all competitions during the 2023 campaign, the LA Galaxy hold a 8-6-3 record (29 GF, 24 GA).
- Billy Sharp, who recorded the 27th hat-trick in LA Galaxy history, ranks tied for first on the Galaxy with six goals scored in six appearances across 245 minutes played this season.
- The last hat-trick recorded by an LA Galaxy player prior to Sharp was on April 25, 2021 by Javier “Chicharito” Hernández against the New York Red Bulls.
- Sharp leads MLS with 2.2 goals scored per 90 minutes played (minimum 50 minutes).
- In three matches played at home this season for LA, Sharp has recorded five goals.
- Diego Fagundez recorded his first career goal for the LA Galaxy, the game winner, in the victory against Minnesota.
- Fagundez has tallied 69 goals and 70 assists in 352 career MLS regular-season games played.
- In his last three appearances dating back to Sept. 10, Fagundez has recorded one goal and three assists.
- Tyler Boyd notched an assists for a second-consecutive match, and logged a game-high six chances created
- Riqui Puig logged an assist, completed four dribbles, created two chances and completed 50 of 57 passes (87.7%) in the win over the Loons.
- Jonathan Bond moved into a tie with David Bingham for the second-most regular-season appearances (85) by a goalkeeper in LA Galaxy history.
- Bond moved into a tie with Josh Saunders for the fourth-most regular-season wins (31) by a goalkeeper in team history.
- The Galaxy scored four goals for the first time this season.
Next up, the LA Galaxy travel to face Austin FC at Q2 Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 24. The match on Sept. 24 kicks off at 6:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and FS1.
2023 MLS Regular Season
LA Galaxy (8-11-9, 33pts) vs. Minnesota United FC (9-10-10, 37 pts)*
Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023 – Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
LA Galaxy 1 3 4
Minnesota United FC 3 0 3
LA: Sharp, 16
MIN: Pukki, 19
MIN: Hlongwane (Dotson), 41
MIN: Hlongwane (Pukki, Dotson), 45+5
LA: Sharp, 63
LA: Sharp (Edwards), 71
LA: Fagundez (Boyd, Puig), 82
MIN: Tapias (caution), 27
MIN: Gregus (caution), 28
MIN: Boxall (caution), 29
MIN: Bristow (caution), 54
LA: Boyd (caution), 54
LA: Sharp (caution), 68
MIN: Bristow (second caution, ejection), 74
LA: Delgado (caution), 81
MIN: Tajouri-Shradi (caution), 88
LA: Edwards (caution), 90+1
LA: GK Jonathan Bond, D Kelvin Leerdam, D Maya Yoshida, D Chris Mavinga, D Raheem Edwards (Julián Aude, 90+1); M Mark Delgado, M Edwin Cerrillo, M Uri Rosell (Diego Fagundez, 45), M Riqui Puig ©, M Tyler Boyd; F Billy Sharp (Dejan Joveljić, 86)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Novak Mićović, D Tony Alfaro, D Mauricio Cuevas; M Jonathan Pérez; F Michael Barrios
TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Riqui Puig, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 11 (Billy Sharp, 5); FOULS: 13 (Raheem Edwards, 3); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3
MIN: GK Dayne St. Clair; D Miguel Tapias, D Michael Boxall; M Joseph Rosales (Ethan Bristow, 36), M Emanuel Reynoso (Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, 45), M Wil Trapp ©, M Jan Gregus, M DJ Taylor, M Hassani Dotson; F Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Sang Bin Jeong, 77), F Teemu Pukki (Mender Garcia, 77)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Clint Irwin; D Bakaye Dibassy, D Brent Kallman, D Zarek Valentin; M Franco Fragapane
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Teemu Pukki, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Teemu Pukki, 3); FOULS: 17 (Ethan Bristow, 4); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 6
Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
Assistant Referees: Lyes Arfa, Brooke Mayo
Fourth Official: Mark Allatin
VAR: Daniel Radford
Weather: Cloudy, 68 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
LA GALAXY POSTGAME QUOTES
LA GALAXY HEAD COACH AND SPORTING DIRECTOR GREG VANNEY
On how he saw that game change for his side, and Billy Sharp’s role in tonight’s game:
For me, the first half, we weren’t terrible. We had some chances. We just committed some colossal errors. I thought offensively, we, in our press, and defensive side of things, like I said, we weren’t bad, and I felt like we created enough chances. They had to clear a couple off the line. We had some good looks. But, we have a couple colossal errors. You can call it an unlucky deflection, but it comes from an error, right? They put us in the situation. But, at 3-1, as I said to the group, you keep fighting until the last play. Trust the process. Keep fighting. We can get ourselves back in it. We had enough chances to score two goals in the first half, so there’s no reason why we can’t score two goals in the second half, but we have to be cleaner defensively. And, ultimately, when you play these midweek games against teams on the road, you just try to build momentum. And, if you can build some momentum, you can get them a little tired, and you try to just building momentum. And, if you can, anything can happen. You can score goals. Guys commit fouls. Things that happen in the second half, can happen. To be honest, we didn’t change a lot of things tactically, we didn’t even talk about tactics at halftime. We shifted one player to get one guy a little big higher up the field instead of having the two pivots, I asked Mark [Delgado] to step a little higher and kept Diego [Fagundez] a little higher and tucked in, so that when Riqui [Puig] had some freedom dropping down, we still had enough numbers ahead of the attack to get going. I think, again, it’s just battle until the end. Things can happen. And we did. Sometimes it’s simple. Sometimes it’s not a complicated game, sometimes it’s just simple things. And, Billy [Sharp] obviously played a huge role, because, like I said, it’s just… he has a nose for being in the right place at the right time, and that’s what a couple of those goals were. We had a fortunate one that they played it off of their own guy, and then it falls for us and we have an opportunity. But, Billy’s goals were opportunistic and smart. They were getting into the right places for him as a striker. But, again, look, I thought there were some decent things inside of the game. I don’t think we played poorly over the course of the night, just, like I said, we’ve got to stop putting ourselves into a hole with some of the plays and some of the mistakes that are happening.”
On the live standings fluctuating throughout the night, and how important the game on the weekend in Austin is:
“Each of these games are that right now. Because, we’re all playing each other. These points are transitioning from one team to the next every single match day. If anybody wins, and if you lose, you’re separated immediately. So, it’s tight. Picking up the three points obviously was massive. Maybe it was a difference in us having a chance in this thing. The second half probably does keep us in to a fighting chance in the season. Again, the teams that are between us and the spot we’re trying to get to we play. If we can eliminate some of these moments we’re having that are costing us goals, which, we’ve talked about a lot, then, why not. Because we are scoring goals now. In my opinion, we’re scoring goals. And we’re creating chances.”
On if this is the best win for this group this season that show off resilience, and Douglas Costa and Jalen Neal’s statuses:
“I think it was the most important win of the season. For sure. Obviously, for the reasons. Because of the timing of it, the way we came back and battled and got the points. It’s the most important win of the season. I think the resiliency was massive. I think, also, hopefully, the momentum we can build going into the next game, hopefully we can utilize some of that from the second half, and certainly build some confidence and momentum into the next one, hopefully. But I think it was vital. For the table. When you even look at the table, it’s going to feel a lot better. Because we have games in hand. And we’re still staying in that, or we picked up a point or two tonight, so, it certainly feels better. So, for me, in that reason, it feels better, yes. Douglas [Costa] wasn’t on because Thursday last week, I mentioned it, he was on the bench in the last game, but we tested him our prior to the last game, and he just couldn’t get the top speed. He was hitting free kicks after training and working on some stuff just on his own after training, and that afternoon, he called and said he felt tight. So, we’ve been trying to manage him back. And he’s kind of day to day right now, so, the issue is yesterday he couldn’t get to the speed he needs to play, and if you just keep trying to do it every single day, you’re only going to make the process longer. We felt like if we could just give him a couple few days, don’t know what it will look like on Sunday, but, if we ca give him a few days, we think we can get him back for this final few stretch. It became just not even possible. You can’t have a guy out there who can’t get to the top speed, so, unfortunately, even as talented as he is. Jalen [Neal] had a hernia surgery. Yesterday. Just, the issue, he couldn’t get beyond it. The [groin]. It started off kind of as a [groin] strain, then it was the pubis. And we just couldn’t get the inflammation from enough where he felt the freedom and the ability to move, and as he fatigued, it got worse. So, the next step, because he wasn’t available to play, was to move the process along. And the sport hernia diagnosis came in. Sometimes you can play through that, sometimes you can’t. It depends on the severity, and he wasn’t free enough to play. So, he had surgery, and he has the potential to get back if we, for the last week or so of the season, and, or any playoff things. So, he’s not out for the season, but he’s out for the foreseeable future.”
On the emotion of this win, walking off the boos at halftime from the crowd, to the joy following the second half and what it brought him:
“For me, I was part time lunatic on the side. I was trying to drive the guys emotionally out there as well. Again, I saw the body language at the end of the first half, and it didn’t look promising for us. We were frustrated, clearly, for the goals that we had given up. Immediately, at half time, the discussion was about mindset. It was about our second half mentality and going for it, and pushing. And doing certain things cleaner. And trusting the process and what we do. So, it was… it was a game. Honestly, if you’ve been around the league long enough, that’s what these games are like at the end of the season. Because the table is just so prevalent now, people are… for us, three points was a prevalent thing, so we had to go for it. For them, maybe they felt one was okay, because they had three, it looked like, in the bag and maybe one was okay, but these games at the end of the season can look like a lot of things. If they run on. You’ve seen that. Because of the table. Because teams have put in a long shift. There’s a lot of reasons. So, that’s what I was telling our guys after. You just have to battle to the end, because at our league at this time of year, anything can happen at any point, and you just have to try to see it out all the way.”
LA GALAXY FORWARD BILLY SHARP
On getting a win after being down 3-1 at the half:
"Obviously we knew we had to win the game tonight. We are chasing down four or five teams which is quite good for us because it is not just chasing one team were chasing quite a few teams and we have to play all those teams. It was quote disappointing in the changing room because we gave away sloppy goals but we know we got quality in the team that if we got that second goal to get us back in the game we could start to build momentum and you could just feel it on the pitch and obviously then they get a man sent off, we take control of the game and we take away the chances. I was quite disappointed at half time because I probably should have had more than one goal. The one where I somehow get a flick on it and the keeper saves it and then Chris [Mavinga] get more contact than I did and the keeper saves that one and then they go to the other end of the pitch and score the third goal which is a big blow but as a group it showed what we are about. The character was huge to come back and like I said you could feel it on the pitch and the second went in and the third went in. To be honest I'm delighted for Diego [Fagundez] because I think he's unlucky to not start the game tonight but he showed what we need from players as a squad. He came into the game and for me he did really well to change the game and I'm delighted he got the winning goal because like I said he probably deserved to start the game but he didn't sulk he just got on with it, team player and he got his just reward tonight."
On being able to help the team battle for a playoff spot:
"I promised my two kids I'd get one of these [game ball] in my time here so I managed to do that. I wanted to come here to score goals. Yeah I'm 37 but I still got a lot of life left in me and a lot of goals so to get the goals tonight was brilliant personally but goals to help win games is extra special and to do it here in front of the LA Galaxy fans was special from me tonight because like I said I probably should have had four or five but to get the three and to get three points was huge tonight to build momentum to go to Austin on the weekend."
On the new players creating an impact on the team:
"I know the players that are out injured are big players for this club and they would probably be in the starting eleven so they are big misses and the new signing have had to come in and try to make the group stronger and like you've said Maya [Yoshida] has experience under his belt and he's a leader, Edwin [Cerrillo] is great on the ball, technically does things I would love to be able to do and I say Diego Fagundez is a very good MLS player. He's got over 75 assists I think and I don't know how many goals he's got, but I know he's got a lot so to come on and get the winner I'm delighted for him because we are going to his old team over the weekend so hopefully he has some confidence and belief going into that game now.”
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER DIEGO FAGUNDEZ
On the scoring the game winning goal:
"If I remember correctly I remember probably like 10 minutes before I told Ty [Boyd] hey look for the cut back I'm always there and of course in this play ball goes wide, he goes down the line and of course he finds the cut back and I see Mark [Delgado] about to touch the ball and I yell at him leave it! Leave it! And he does and I just had to do my part and try to touch it in. I'm very glad the ball went in and I got my first one for LA so hopefully a lot more come but at the end of the day what matters is that we got three points at home on a Wednesday night and everybody showed up."
On being a veteran of the league and having experienced games like this in the past:
"I've seen this too many times and it is kind of sad we go down 3-1 and when you go into a locker room everybody is frustrated. We gave some goal that probably shouldn't be happening but at the end of the day we have characters on this team, we have good players and we all stepped up and the energy definitely showed up in the second half and you can see it as soon as we got one everybody just kept going. At the end of the day we need to step up for 90 minutes not just 45. I think in the first half we had chances but we can't be giving away goals like that and in the second half we kept going and once you get the rhythm and the energy to go forward the game definitely showed up for us."
On Billy Sharp:
"We all know he's a goal scorer. We see it in training, we see it all the time he's been scoring and that is what is nice to see when you have a number nine that feels confidence in the box and scoring goals it's amazing. You saw it today he is a true nine, he gets those little tap ins and sometimes we all wish we could get those goals, the easy ones but when you're in the right spot you deserve it and today he played a hell of a game. He probably could have had a couple more goals but at the end of the day like I said we won so everybody is happy but now we have to move forward and look towards Austin."
LA GALAXY DEFENDER RAHEEM EDWARDS
On the team’s mindset and how the team turned things around for the second half:
“The 3-1 was tough to take. Obviously it’s typical goals that we give up, just shooting ourselves on our foot. The talk [at halftime] was just more of a mentally thing. Being through and down, we weren’t necessarily playing bad. Just having bad moments. Obviously with turnovers, clearances, stuff like that, deflections and what not. And yeah, it was just a mentality talk, just to hone in and keep playing how we were playing and shift the momentum as fast as we could.”
On his tying assist:
“I think as the game went along, obviously the first 15 minutes we started off sharp, we started off fast on the front foot. Then Diego [Fagundez] came on and gave us something really different. Diego came in and helped us a lot. With the play, I just kept running with the ball and luckily the ball just kept finding me. And you know, unlucky clearance by them, it goes straight to Billy [Sharp] and Billy can sniff something out of nothing. And Billy does what he does best and scores.”
On what Billy Sharp brings to the team:
“He gave us a lifeline, obviously. We were kind of depleted right now for goals and this is a guy who is obviously experienced. He knows where to be, as you can see with the second goal with Maya [Yoshida], to sniff out stuff like that, you can’t really teach it. Billy [Sharp] has been vital for us. Insuring us goals and what not, so yeah, Billy has been vital.”