Match Report: LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake | October 14, 2023 

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LOS ANGELES (Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023) – The LA Galaxy extended their unbeaten run at home to nine matches with a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake before 20,673 fans at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night. The Galaxy close out the 2023 MLS Regular Season against FC Dallas on Saturday, Oct. 21 (6:00 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, LA Galaxy RadioLA Galaxy Spanish Radio).

Goal-Scoring Plays
LA – Dejan Joveljić (Daniel Aguirre, Douglas Costa), 7th minute: Douglas Costa quickly passed the ball towards the top of the box to Daniel Aguirre, who dribbled down the right side of the penalty area. Dejan Joveljić received the ball in the center of the box and squeezed his shot in at the near post. 

LA – Douglas Costa (Dejan Joveljić, Billy Sharp), 34th minute: Billy Sharp drove up field and played the ball towards the top of the box to Dejan Joveljić, whose first-time pass was smashed into the back of the net by Douglas Costa. 

RSL – Anderson Julio (Nelson Palacio), 45+1st minute: Anderson Julio’s shot from the left side of the penalty area was deflected off Mauricio Cuevas and found its way into the back of the net. 

RSL – Diego Luna, 76th minute: A failed clearance inside the box fell to Diego Luna, who avoided a challenge before firing his shot into the lower, far corner. 

Postgame Notes

  • In 19 regular-season matches played dating back to May 31, the LA Galaxy hold a 6-4-9 record and lead the league in goals scored (40) during that span. 
  • The Galaxy extended their unbeaten run at home to nine regular-season matches played (5-0-4; 21 GF, 14 GA) dating back to June 21. 
  • In 19 games played at home (Dignity Health Sports Park, Rose Bowl Stadium) across all competitions during the 2023 campaign, the LA Galaxy hold a 8-6-5 record (34 GF, 29 GA). 
  • Dejan Joveljić recorded one goal and one assist and created three chances in 90 minutes of action. 
  • Douglas Costa tallied one goal and one assist, recorded two chances and completed two dribbles in the match against RSL.  
  • Costa has recorded three goals and 10 assists in 13 games started for the Galaxy dating back to June 11. 
  • In his 50th career appearance across all competitions for the Galaxy, Daniel Aguirre recorded an assist and completed 44 of 47 passes (93.6%) against RSL. 
  • In six appearances at home, Billy Sharp has recorded 5 goals and one assist during the 2023 campaign. 
  • Novak Mićović made his MLS debut for the LA Galaxy, logging four saves in the match against Real Salt Lake. 
  • Saturday’s match marked the 58th meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, with LA leading the all-time series 24-20-14. 
  • Against RSL, the Galaxy hold a 20-17-12 record in league play, a 4-1-2 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs and a 0-2-0 record in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. 
  • In 25 regular-season match played at home against Real Salt Lake, the Galaxy hold a 14-7-4 record. 
  • Notably, LA is unbeaten in its last seven home matches played (4-0-3; 12 GF, 6 GA) against RSL dating back to Sept. 30, 2017. 
  • In three matches played across all competitions against Real Salt Lake during the 2023 campaign, LA held a 1-1-1 record (7 GF, 7 GA). 

Next Game
Next up, the LA Galaxy play host to FC Dallas in the 2023 MLS Regular Season finale at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, Oct. 21. The match on Oct. 21 kicks off at 6:00 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. 
2023 MLS Regular Season 
LA Galaxy (8-13-12, 36pts) vs. Real Salt Lake (13-12-8, 47 pts)
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023 – Dignity Health Sports Park (Los Angeles)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
LA Galaxy                     2          0          2
Real Salt Lake              1          1          2

Scoring Summary:
LA: Joveljić (Aguirre, Costa), 7
LA: Costa (Joveljić, Sharp), 34
RSL: Julio (Palacio), 45+1
RSL: Luna, 76

Misconduct Summary:
RSL: Eneli (caution), 54
LA: Alfaro (caution), 66 
LA: Aguirre (caution), 75

LA: GK Novak Mićović, D Mauricio Cuevas, D Maya Yoshida ©, D Tony Alfaro, D Julián Aude (Raheem Edwards, 72); M Douglas Costa, M Edwin Cerrillo, M Daniel Aguirre, M Tyler Boyd (Jonathan Pérez, 73); F Dejan Joveljić, F Billy Sharp (Diego Fagundez, 84)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Jonathan Bond; D Chris Mavinga; M Adam Saldaña, M Gino Vivi; F Michael Barrios; F Preston Judd

TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Three players tied, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Dejan Joveljić, Billy Sharp, 2); FOULS: 10 (Tony Alfaro, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4

RSL: GK Zac MacMath; D Andrew Brody (Jasper Loffelsend, 75), D Bryan Oviedo, D Brayan Vera (Bode Hidalgo, 45), D Marcelo Silva; M Nelson Palacio, M Maikel Chang (Zavier Gozo, 84), M Emeka Eneli, M Diego Luna; F Damir Kreilach © (Andres Gomez, 59), F Anderson Julio (Axel Kei, 84)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Tomas Gomez; M Scott Caldwell, M Griffin Dillon 

TOTAL SHOTS: 20 (Damir Kreilach, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Anderson Julio, 2); FOULS: 6 (Six players tied, 1); OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 5

Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistant Referees: Jeffrey Swartzel, Eduardo Jeff
Fourth Official: Calin Radosav
VAR: Chris Penso
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 68 degrees
Attendance: 20,673

_All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


On his thoughts on the match, and what he liked and didn’t like in what he saw:
“I thought, generally, in the first half we were pretty solid. We got the 2-0 lead. It’s just the moments in the first half that are exciting, because we were counter attacking and we were going at top speed across the field. Sometimes at 60, 70 yards in these counter attacks. And they looked good. Sometimes we get chances, sometimes we don’t. But the challenge of it when you’re up 2-0 is your team gets separated, back to front. And if you don’t finish those attacks and they come back to you, then, typically guys don’t sprint back quite as fast as they sprint forward to try to get the balls. The one they hurt us really was the last one in the half, when you’re at 44, 45 minutes. We transition out. We’ve got a 2-0 lead going into the halftime and we try to finish that attack fast. We don’t and it comes back and we’re separated. Because we have a counter coming, and they have more numbers on the backside of that counter, and they’re able to clear it out and they’re coming at us with numbers, and we’re kind of just trying to manage the situation. As we’re coming back, we don’t get to the crosser, and the ball get whipped in front of our goal and we don’t deal with it. So, what could have been a good half and a really positive feeling and going in up two, you come in having just given one up at the tail end. I think this is the third game in three or four that we’ve given one up at the death of a game or half. So, it’s again, just finishing out these minutes a little more mature, more aware of the situation. And make sure that we take the lead that we deserve. The 2-0 to the half. Second half, they adjusted into more of a 2-5-2, so they got an extra number in the midfield. Because we were both kind of in a 4-4-2 in the first half and I felt like we were able to overload the middle of the field a little bit better and create some options. They went to a 3-5-2, which, in terms of getting ourselves rotated right away to get the overloads, we were sometimes there, but not always there. Which made it difficult for us to control the middle of the field for a second half. Which meant that we didn’t have a ton of the ball. We were defending through stretches and transitioning through counter attacking, and again, there was some opportunity inside of it, but it was a lot of work inside of the defensive effort because we weren’t necessarily all that clean in controlling the middle of the field over the course of the second half. Which, in having little sustained possessions where you can rest with the ball and control the game maybe in their half of the field. So I thought we lost a little bit of momentum on that side. And second goal, I can’t remember exactly off the top of my head the series of events… I don’t know exactly how they got there, but again, we don’t clear a ball clean. That seems to be kind of a thing that’s going on for us right now is we deal with things sort of, but not fully, and then it lands on somebody’s foot on the other side and ends up in the back of our net. So then we’re at 2-2. We’re trying to adjust a little bit. I liked the two forwards in some ways because it certainly gave us some outlets from some of the pressure, and when we were building some speed in the attacks those two guys I thought did a nice job of working off of each other and certainly had some chances and opportunities together throughout the course of the game. But we also needed to find a way to get an extra number to see if we couldn’t get a hold of the ball a little bit longer, so we slide Douglas [Costa] inside. I always wanted to get Jonny [Pérez] on the field today. I think these two games are an opportunity for him just to get some experience. He shows some of the qualities that he has. And what I talked to him about is just being a little bit more connected and learning a little bit more on the defending side so that he feels more comfortable and we feel more comfortable with him out there in 90 minutes because he can manage a little bit of both sides of things. But when he has the ball, and when he’s running, he’s wonderful to see what he’s capable of doing. But continuing to mature is just one thing for him. So, wanted to get him minutes along with a couple other guys. We’re trying to win games, but at the same time, I want to get a couple guys some minutes like Novak [Mićović] and some other guys.”

On Novak Mićović and Mauricio Cuevas and what he saw from them tonight:
“I thought by and large Mauricio [Cuevas] had a solid game. Again, it wasn’t a super easy game. They’ve got a lot of speed and guys on the wings that will run at you. I thought he managed those situations pretty good. I think he’s comfortable with the ball. A couple situations that I was just asking him to get us off the side sometimes and he would kind of take us back to the same side. I wanted him to help us to get the ball across the field where we had a superiority on the other side and he wanted to keep feeding it to Douglas [Costa], which, who can blame him when you’re a young player to get the ball to Douglas’ feet as much as you can. But, yeah, I thought, again, it was a great experience for him. Another day. He knows Diego [Luna] very well. These are two guys that play on the U20s together, so I’m sure they’ve competed against each other many times, so I’m sure he felt relatively comfortable with who he was across from, and then he got [Tomás] Gómez who is an absolute flyer and opposite type of player, totally different from Luna, so he got to see two different types of wingers, which is a great experience for him over the course of the game. Novak [Mićović] I thought generally he was pretty solid. I think there’s a couple times I would like to see him be more aggressive to see if he can come take things out of the air, where he was a little bit stuck on his line. Again, maybe with more games and a little more experience under his belt he comes and takes them, because he’s capable of doing it. And I know it’s helpful for our group. We aren’t the biggest team. Maya [Yoshida] certainly has helped give us the aerial presence, but for our goalkeeper in that box to be able to come take a few of those and we don’t necessarily have to clear them and deal with second balls. But come take them and then control the play can be helpful. I thought he was solid with his feet. Good decisions. Things of that nature. I feel like the stops he should make, he made. The first goal was deflected, so it’s a tough one, not much you can really do with that. So, again, I think he made the stops that he should. And generally I thought it was a pretty clean night. A couple things as he gets more games and more comfortable, he’ll extend himself a little bit further in some of the players where he was a little more cautious tonight.”

On Dejan Joveljić’s goal and the importance of him finishing off the season with confidence:
“I think really important. The kid has beat himself up over the course of the season. Going a long stretch of games without being able to get a goal, help the team. Solidify, back up some of the things he did last year. It’s been hard for him going through the process. But I think he came out and I thought he was very active tonight. He was busy. Maybe having a second forward up there too meant that he had a little bit more freedom to move around and he didn’t always have to give you that point target type of nine. Because that’s not really his game, he’s not a pure target. So, Billy [Sharp] was able to hold up some things, take some balls in. Even Dejan [Joveljić] laid some balls off, which was nice. He was able to be a little more mobile while we still had more presence around the goal with Billy. And the two of them were good at just being aware of each other. Connecting off of each other, and some of the actions were really good. But I thought he was active. I thought he was busy. I thought he found his speed and his pace inside of the game. One of the things I was happy with… he was linking up play pretty well over the course of the night, which is something he’s had a hard time during the season, just taking balls in and linking them up. And he did a nice job. So, I thought there were some positive signs for him tonight for sure. And I know it was a sign of relief for him to get a goal, get an assist and be actively involved in some of the attacking stuff.”

On scoring a goal tonight:
"Obviously I'm very happy when I score every time but it was little bit late, I woke up late but like I said it's so nice to score especially in front of our fans and to get an assist for Douglas [Costa]. One great game and I'm looking forward for the next game."

On playing alongside Billy Sharp tonight:
"I think that we play good, we had really good connection especially the first time we played together against Austin. We created some great actions and he made one assist for me against Austin and almost I made one good assist for him but unfortunately he didn't score. I hope in the next game we are going to start again and that he is going to score some goals."

On his confidence this season:
"To be honest this season was I can say bad also we had a lot of injured players I think five players from the first eleven so that was very unlucky but hopefully next season we are going to be healthy and we are going to make playoffs. I was always confident when I get the chance I try to make something but sometimes it goes on your side and sometimes not. This season wasn't like the previous one but hopefully next one will be better."

On tonight's game:
"Two nil up, two nil up and again the same things happen in last minutes of the first half. I think they are very obviously just crossing and in the first couple of minutes we are struggling a little bit but after that it was okay. Again nothing special happened and we just couldn't clear the ball and then deflection and we are 2-1. Second half I think today we managed the game okay but then again from nothing to concede again. It's the same things just nothing special they didn't make you go wow but we conceded again. The problem is we could create a lot of chances home and away and we have a lot of opportunity to score and at the same time we lack stability and endurance probably but I think that is why I'm here but unfortunately I couldn't for 12, 13, 14 games. Unfortunately I feel uncomfortable for that to be honest. For sure the next season we need to improve these kind of things. Also as I said in the dressing room after the game just win next game. Last home game, last game of the season I want to win I don't want to lose I don't want to finish the season like that. This is showing respect for the fans, the family and the team staff who contribute to our squad to prepare well for every weekend for 90 minutes. So just win."

On the team's defensive mistakes:
We need to have a good balance attacking and defending. Sometimes especially in the second half and also in the end of the first half before we conceded we are attacking with five players in front then we couldn't score then they drive the ball back and we have to drop because there is a big space and no one can press but we are two nil up we don't have to go and we have to control the game, we have to manage the game this is reading the game and that is very important as well this is part of the tactics. This is very difficult to teach because today the goalkeeper changed, the full back changed, some midfielders changed a lot of changing. We spoke before the game that we need to speak out loud especially in set pieces because set pieces are always difficult when some changes. I think Mauri [Cuevas] played well, the goalkeeper played well so we have nothing to lose and we tried many things.”

On trying to end the season with a win in their next game:
"We need to finish the season strong and this has already started the preseason for the next season. Like today Salt Lake had to win for playoffs but we just play with nothing to lose but I want to win every game this is how the soccer player is and if you don't feel this it is better to retire that is how I feel. I'm 35 but I still want to win every game, I don't want to lose every game like that. That's why like I said this is the last game of the season and people may say it doesn't matter if they win or not but I want to win because I want to show my respect to the fans, my family who help me every single day and also the staff helping the club, the people and players everyday so this is part of my pride."