LOS ANGELES (Saturday, April 22, 2023) – Playing their eighth match of the 2023 campaign, the LA Galaxy won their first match of the season with a 2-0 shutout victory over Austin FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández tallied his first goal of the 2023 campaign, while Riqui Puig registered a goal and an assist in the shutout win over Austin.
LA Galaxy Against Austin FC
Saturday’s home match at Dignity Health Sports Park between the LA Galaxy (1-4-3, 6 points) and Austin FC (2-4-2, 8 points) marked the fifth regular-season meeting between the two clubs, with the Galaxy leading the all-time series 4-1-0. In three matches played at home against Austin, LA holds an unbeaten record of 3-0-0 (8 GF, 1 GA). In his last two matches played against Austin FC dating back to May 29, 2022, Dejan Joveljić has tallied two goals and three assists. In three regular-season matches played at home against Austin, Chicharito has recorded three goals.
LA Galaxy Firsts
Defender Julián Aude made his first career start for the LA Galaxy, logging 90 minutes and finishing the match tied for a game-high three interceptions in the match against Austin. Riqui Puig recorded his first goal and assist of the 2023 campaign, while Mark Delgado recorded his first assist of the season in the win over Austin. Jonathan Klinsmann notched his first shutout of the season at Dignity Health Sports Park in the win over Austin.
LA – Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (Dejan Joveljić, Riqui Puig), 54th minute – Just outside the 18-yard box, Riqui Puig flicked the ball into the path of Dejan Joveljić. The Serbian international slipped a pass to Chicharito, whose shot from the center of the penalty area was buried at the upper left corner of the goal.
LA – Riqui Puig (Mark Delgado), 64th minute – Mark Delgado intercepted a pass in his own half and carried the ball 40 yards. Delgado slid the ball over to Riqui Puig, whose shot from the left side of the penalty area was curled past Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
- Saturday’s home match at Dignity Health Sports Park between the LA Galaxy (1-4-3, 6 points) and Austin FC (2-4-2, 8 points) marked the fifth regular-season meeting between the two clubs, with the Galaxy improving to 4-1-0 in the all-time series.
- In three all-time matches played at home against Austin, LA holds an unbeaten record of 3-0-0 (8 GF, 1 GA).
- In four matches played at Dignity Health Sports Park during the 2023 campaign, the Galaxy hold a 1-2-1 record.
- LA recorded its third shutout of the season in the win over Austin FC.
- Chicharito recorded his first goal of the 2023 campaign in the win over Austin.
- In three regular-season matches played at home against Austin dating back to May 15, 2021, Chicharito has recorded three goals.
- Dejan Joveljić recorded his first assist of the 2023 campaign in match against Austin.
- In four regular-season matches played against Austin FC, Joveljić has tallied two goals and three assists.
- Riqui Puig tallied his first goal and first assist of the 2023 MLS Regular Season in the victory against Austin. It marks the first time in Puig’s Galaxy career that he recorded a goal and an assist in a single match.
- With his fifth yellow card of the 2023 campaign, Riqui Puig will be suspended for the next match against Orlando City SC due to yellow-card accumulation.
- Mark Delgado recorded his first assist of the 2023 campaign, and finished the match with three chances created, three interceptions, eight possessions won and 51 completed passes (91.1% pass accuracy).
- Delgado has tallied one goal and one assist in three regular-season matches played against Austin.
- Julián Aude made his first career start for the LA Galaxy, logging 90 minutes in the match against Austin FC.
- Goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann tallied two saves and his second shutout of the season in the win over Austin.
- Jalen Neal recorded a game-high seven clearances, completed 67 passes (95.7% pass accuracy) and finished the match with four duels won and six possessions won.
- In 21 minutes played off the bench, Douglas Costa finished the match tied for a team-high three chances created.
Next up, the LA Galaxy travel to face Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium on Saturday, April 29. The match on April 29 kicks off at 4:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
2023 MLS Regular Season
LA Galaxy (1-4-3, 6pts) vs. Austin FC (2-4-2, 8pts)
April 22, 2023 – Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
LA Galaxy 0 2 2
Austin FC 0 0 0
LA: Chicharito (Joveljić, Puig), 54
LA: Puig (Delgado), 64
LA: Puig (caution), 3
ATX: Urruti (caution), 40
ATX: Väisänen (caution), 43
LA: Boyd (caution), 61
ATX: Ring (caution), 90+1
LA: Chicharito (caution), 90+1
LA: Aguirre (caution), 90+4
ATX: Unknown Player (caution), 90+6
LAG: GK Jonathan Klinsmann; D Calegari (Eriq Zavaleta, 88), D Jalen Neal, D Martín Cáceres, D Julián Aude; M Mark Delgado (Uri Rosell, 90), M Gastón Brugman, M Riqui Puig, M Tyler Boyd (Douglas Costa, 69), F Dejan Joveljić (Daniel Aguirre, 69), F Javier “Chicharito” Hernández © (Preston Judd, 90)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Simon Jillson; D Séga Coulibaly, D Raheem Edwards, M Memo Rodríguez
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Riqui Puig, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Riqui Puig, 2); FOULS: 16 (Tyler Boyd, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 12; SAVES: 2
ATX: GK Brad Stuver; D Leo Väisänen, D Jon Gallagher (Adam Lundkvist, 70), D Nick Lima; M Dani Pereira, M Alex Ring, M Owen Wolff (Jhojan Valencia, 70), M Emiliano Rigoni (Will Bruin, 80), M Sebastian Driussi ©, M Ethan Finlay (Rodney Redes, 70); F Maxi Urruti (Gyasi Zardes, 80)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Matt Bersano; D Kipp Keller, D Hector Jimenez, D Aleksandar Radovanovic
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Three players tied, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Ethan Finlay, Gyasi Zardes, 1); FOULS: 15 (Owen Wolff, 4); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 6
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Stefan Tanaka-Freundt
Fourth Official: Jeremy Hanson
VAR: Jair Marrufo
Weather: Clear, 69 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
HIGHLIGHTS: LA Galaxy vs. Austin FC | April 22, 2023
LA GALAXY POSTGAME QUOTES
LA GALAXY HEAD COACH AND SPORTING DIRECTOR GREG VANNEY
On his thoughts on the night, the 3-5-2 formation and what he liked and didn’t like:
“First, I thought it was a very solid, professional performance for most of the night. I thought we did a great job of finding good spots and being able to play through their lines, and be able to create attacks. The first half, we had a lot of attacks that looked really promising, that we weren’t able to really get something out of. But, I thought that, again, we were in really good spots and it was really difficult for them to pick up on us. And I thought that from that, we were able to control a lot of the play and be dangerous in moments where, again, just a little more efficiency and connection in the final action we would get something out ofthe half. In the end, we stayed solid defensively for the most part. JK [Jonathan Klinsmann] had one or two early, that I think fall in big saves. And, again, I thought against a good team, that knows how to attack, they’re a good team with good players, we didn’t have to manage the moments in the course of the game. The second half, again, was more of the same, and we found some opportunities in transition and some other opportunities to get ahead of the game. Aside from maybe in Dallas, early, when we gave the ball back pretty quickly if I recall, was the first time we’ve been up a goal in the game. As I’ve said, if we can get up in games, then gaps and spaces are going to open up, transitions are going to open up for us. Things like that are going to open up for us to be able to get the second. And we were. And we probably left a couple of the table that we probably could have gotten. But, beggars can’t be choosers right now. We take it and we take three points and grow from it.”
On the 3-5-2 formation:
“It was something that, again, we felt we could disrupt a little bit of their shape. Something they wouldn’t really expect. We got Dejan [Joveljić] and Javi [Javier Hernández ] up there. A little more presence in front of the goal. I thought they did a really nice job of playing off of each other in terms of just showing, opening and creating some space. And, just, I thought it worked. I don’t typically like just a straight 4-4-2, but it was a way for us to keep our midfielders in their positions, doing the things that they do while still having the power of two strikers. I thought
Julián [Aude] was outstanding. And Tyler [Boyd] did a great job as well, giving us width and giving us options out of on the outside.”
On the movement from his side, and if this was the best game they’ve played this year:
“I think it was arguably the best full 90 minutes that we’ve put together. I think in terms of just consistency over the 90 minutes, I felt like we were engaged. We were finding good spots. We were making, by and large, for most of the game, good decisions in transition of when we tried to go fast and when we would choose when to slow it up and control the game. The one at the end when maybe Tyler [Boyd] rushed one on the switch towards the end of the first half that kind of caught us open, and we survived an offside call there. That was probably one of the few moments where I thought we rushed it a little bit. Otherwise, we went when we should go and we controlled it when we should control it. I thought guys did a good job of transitioning and connecting defensively and to our block. And, you know, we weren’t losing guys so easily, so everyone was engaged for 90 minutes, by and large. Again, in terms of just complete performance, even some of the little details that I think we’ve lacked in some of the other games that have cost us, I thought we did a better of those things tonight. Which, translates into a win. So, we’ve got to keep building. I don’t think we’re played poorly through some of the stretch of challenges. But we’ve had little gaps that have killed us. So, this is… tonight it was nice to eliminate some of those gaps and certainly get goals and an overall good performance and a win.”
On Riqui Puig being electric on the field tonight, and losing him for next game:
“It’s… you know, he’s feisty and fiery and he seems to be in the middle of a lot of things, so it didn’t take him long to that threshold. But, for us, one of the challenges we’ve been working through in the first part of the season is reading his movements and trying to still fill the right spaces at times so we can build some attacks with right numbers and all that kind of stuff. And tonight, I thought we were filling those spaces better, which also had presence in front of the goal with one of the strikers, sometimes two strikes. I think the presence of the so called wingbacks, if you will, gave us a constant presence in the wide areas that sometimes we lose in full stretches in games for one reason or another. I don’t want to get into the overall tactics of it. But, tonight I just felt better with our structure. It was cleaner and better and guys were popping into good spaces at good times, and that combination play was very, very solid.”
On the back line being made up of 19 and 20-year olds and Martín Cáceres, and what gives him the confidence to be able to put those players in these situations in Major League Soccer:
“Yeah, I mean, looking across, when you look at [Calegari], he’s 20, 21-years old, but he’s also played 70 matches in Série A and Brazil. And was an under 20 in Brazil. So, he’s got experience. Even though he’s young, he has experience. The second we saw him in training, we’ve seen him in the games, we could tell right off the bat that he’s got a good education for the game. He reads the play as well. He’s got a great demeanor. I love defenders that are just cerebral, read plays and make smart decisions. He’s not a flyer, like, say Julian [Araujo] was last year. He plays you out of situations that look like you’re going to get stuck, and he has great angles and a great way to, both on the ball and off the ball, just make really solid decisions over the course of 90 minutes. He’s proven that since he arrived, and so I have tons of confidence in him. Jalen [Neal] has proven himself through preseasonand through the early games. And there’s not much to say more about what he’s been able to do. And Julián [Aude] is another guy… I’ve watched Julián for a couple years. Because I was actually, I think I said this in a previous, when I was watching the left back on [Club Atlético] Lanús that, when Julián wasn’t playing, so, I saw this tall, lanky kid coming through. So, I’ve actually seen him play for a couple of years, and he’s played through difficult times of Lanús and through good times of Lanús. You know, they had, a couple years ago, they were not having a great season, so he’s had to play through some of those tough moments. And then they had a good season. And, again, tonight I thought he was outstanding. For his first start, his capacity to get up in the attack but also recover back defensively again to make great plays in possession, I thought he was just really good. I mean, I think one of the things that you see as we continue to build this team, is we’re trying to build the team that can compete right away, which, we’re working on and tonight is the first step in showing you that, but also a team that has a really bright future. And so, you know, you see that in those three guys and others that are out there. I mean, Riqui [Puig] is only a ’99, Dejan [Joveljić] is only a ’99, so when you’re talking birth years, these are pretty young players that have an expectational future here.”
**LA GALAXY FORWARD JAVIER "CHICHARITO" HERNÁNDEZ**
On how he’s feeling after the win:“Amazing man. I was talking with JK [Jonathan Klinsmann] about it because he asked me how I felt after I scored. I said the sensation is like a release and more like happiness and excitement. It’s more of a release because I think when you are in these types of clubs, and when I say type, I mean very, very successful clubs… The pressure of the responsibility and the standards are very high. It’s not the same to be in another club and you don’t win six games. [If you don’t win] six games in LA… As you can see, we don’t even have fans in our stands. Imagine, how’s that? It was a release… Like a confirmation moment because this team, this organization… We’re in a good momentum because the players that are here, the coaching staff, and I want as well, everyone is trying to do the best that we can to put this team in the best position. Last season, we qualified in fourth and we [had a very good season last year]. I think the pressure about our neighbors is the thing that they are blinding us a little bit. A part of it, of course, is the last, I don’t know how many years, the LA Galaxy haven’t won any championship and you know my word is every season you need to be fighting at least to get a championship. But the sensation is just released confirmation. It’s just one game and then on Tuesday we need to turn the page like always and start focusing on Orlando, a very difficult travel and game against an Eastern Conference team. So we’re excited; of course this is going to give us a lot of confidence
On the importance of having fun on the pitch:
“That’s an amazing question. Thank you very much because I want to take the opportunity to say this. People confuse sometimes that fun is just about the outcome. The fun is about the process to get where you want to get. Because if you knew already that you’re going to win regardless of what you’re doing, so why do you walk the path if you already know that you’re going to win, right? So the uncertainty that that gives you and the hard work, the belief, the faith and as well that certainty that you need to feel already that you’re doing something correct and good and the obstacles and you have resilience. That’s the fun. That’s the fun that I learned and that’s the fun that I’m trying to transmit to my teammates. The fun of today started when I got injured, for example. This outcome is a thank you for the recovery that I did. It’s not about because I scored now I enjoy. I lost six and I don’t enjoy; no, I enjoy the other moments because without the darkness, the sun doesn’t taste or feel the same. It would be boring. That fun of the evolution of the growth of the resilience that you can show is what makes every story or movie more interesting. If you want to watch a movie that’s always flat, you don’t like it. You like the uncertainty and the bad problems and the bad situations. I’m a believer of that, but as well I’m a believer of something that I enjoy way more is something that’s in my control and my control is how I react to everything. I’m having fun and I will have fun and I will enjoy it. Of course it feels better today than last weekend. But I enjoyed it because it’s like let me transform those feelings and how am I going to [channel] those to evolve, grow and be better. Sometimes people don’t believe me like when I get out and I’m outside, I’m not thinking about the God damn score. You know which way I’m thinking? I’m thinking of the offside and the miss that I had with my left foot. That’s the one that’s going to be stuck in my head always. Because that’s what improvement is. Because when I score, I scored. I did it correctly. Why didn’t it work? This touch, this turn. It means you should have run to this post. You should have protected the ball better. Those are the things. That’s the fun. That the fun in getting better. And of course the outcome… That’s why we are here because we are speaking about probably these guys are going to win. Well, it could happen or not. That’s the beauty of it. So that fun part is I want my teammates to believe that lets have fun in the process. Let’s stick together. Let’s learn. Even not having fans in the stadium, it’s more gasoline to get better and to improve.
**LA GALAXY MIDFIEDLER RIQUI PUIG \[Translated from Spanish\]**
On what this win does for the team:
“The truth is we are very happy. We needed these three points and I think looking ahead these points will give us a lot of life. The win was very important for the group.”
On the team’s transitions:
“Yes, because I think this is a moment where the team can do a lot of damage in transitions, just like my goal. It’s a moment where the opposing team doesn’t sit back and defend and we have a lot more spaces, and that benefits the Galaxy.”
On Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Dejan Joveljić playing together up top:
“Yes, today we changed the way we played. I think when you have two center forwards you have a lot more spaces, I think you can create more spaces. And I think for me, this really benefits me and you can tell from today’s game that we were able to score two goals and had a lot more chances on goal.”
On creating width and opening up the pitch and how that affected his game today:
“I think the team, since the beginning, had a different idea than previous games. Today was a must-win game, the three points were very important. And the team noticed that a lot.”
On receiving a yellow card early in the game and missing the next game:
“It’s something that I would rather not talk about. I think it gives too much importance to a person who I think needs to go unnoticed. The referee needs to do his job and no one should have to talk about the ref. But I get kicked during the 90 minutes ofthe game, maybe it’s the same player kicking me six times, and they don’t get shown a yellow card. But I kick someone in the firstminute and the referee didn’t even think twice and shows me a yellow card. I think that is very unfair. The team is now leaving to Orlando and I can’t travel, and this doesn’t help the team. I’s true that referees in MLS set meetings to talk to players about things that need to change, but I think that the creative player need to be protected more, and I am a creative player. And sometimes because I talk too much I get yellow carded. But that’s because I see things that are very unfair and aren’t valued. And I think that sometimes referees need to get better with that.”