Greg Vanney continues to battle without standout LA Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig as his side prepare to host New York City FC on Wednesday in MLS.

The Los Angeles outfit are unbeaten throughout this season at their home Dignity Health Sports Park after overcoming Sporting Kansas City 4-2 on Saturday.

Vanney's men are yet to lose through eight games on their own turf, sitting third in the Western Conference and just three points behind leaders Real Salt Lake.

Yet the Galaxy remain without star man Puig, formerly of Barcelona, as Vanney continues to work around the Spaniard's absence.

"I think for me, we are positionally a little bit more stable," Vanney said, before lauding Puig.

"Our two pivots stayed in our pivots. [Against SKC] we were able to – we were more predictable even for each other in terms of our spots.

"When Riqui is on the field, he starts high, comes low, he defends high, he drops low. That sets a series of moments into play that are hard to defend, and Riqui has special qualities to be able to change the tempo of the game like nobody else in our league.

"If Riqui is here, if we can do both, stay inside the systems and use his qualities in the best way possible, and we have even another level [to go to]."

New York are fourth in the Eastern Conference after a 3-2 home defeat to Columbus Crew last time out – the visitors recording four straight wins on the road on Friday.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Dejan Joveljic

Dejan Joveljic recorded his team-leading 10th goal of the season and an assist in the win over Kansas City.

Joveljic ranks tied for sixth in MLS for goals scored during the 2024 campaign and will be keen to add to that tally here.

New York City FC – Santiago Rodriguez

Santiago Rodriguez remains the leading light of the New York attack, netting his seventh goal of the campaign in the defeat to Columbus.

The Pigeons attacker has more MLS strikes than any team-mate this term, though Cushing will be desperate his goals can help New York to victory this time around.

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

The Galaxy are unbeaten in their first eight home matches of the season (W5 D3) for the first time since 2016 (15 straight) including winning the last three in a row at home. They have lost only one of their last 18 regular-season home matches dating back to last June (W9 D8).

NYCFC have won four of their six all-time meetings with the Galaxy, though LA won the last meeting, 1-0, in February 2022. This will be the seventh meeting between the sides and the fifth in Carson.

NYCFC have won their last three road matches after winning just one of their previous 23 on the road in all competitions dating back to the start of the 2023 season (D9 L13). This run equals their longest-ever road winning streak, having also won three in a row away from home in April-May 2019.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 41.7%

New York City FC – 31.7%

Draw – 26.7%

Greg Vanney continues to battle without standout LA Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig as his side prepare to host New York City FC on Wednesday in MLS.

The Los Angeles outfit are unbeaten throughout this season at their home Dignity Health Sports Park after overcoming Sporting Kansas City 4-2 on Saturday.

Vanney's men are yet to lose through eight games on their own turf, sitting third in the Western Conference and just three points behind leaders Real Salt Lake.

Yet the Galaxy remain without star man Puig, formerly of Barcelona, as Vanney continues to work around the Spaniard's absence.

"I think for me, we are positionally a little bit more stable," Vanney said, before lauding Puig.

"Our two pivots stayed in our pivots. [Against SKC] we were able to – we were more predictable even for each other in terms of our spots.

"When Riqui is on the field, he starts high, comes low, he defends high, he drops low. That sets a series of moments into play that are hard to defend, and Riqui has special qualities to be able to change the tempo of the game like nobody else in our league.

"If Riqui is here, if we can do both, stay inside the systems and use his qualities in the best way possible, and we have even another level [to go to]."

New York are fourth in the Eastern Conference after a 3-2 home defeat to Columbus Crew last time out – the visitors recording four straight wins on the road on Friday.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Dejan Joveljic

Dejan Joveljic recorded his team-leading 10th goal of the season and an assist in the win over Kansas City.

Joveljic ranks tied for sixth in MLS for goals scored during the 2024 campaign and will be keen to add to that tally here.

New York City FC – Santiago Rodriguez

Santiago Rodriguez remains the leading light of the New York attack, netting his seventh goal of the campaign in the defeat to Columbus.

The Pigeons attacker has more MLS strikes than any team-mate this term, though Cushing will be desperate his goals can help New York to victory this time around.

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

The Galaxy are unbeaten in their first eight home matches of the season (W5 D3) for the first time since 2016 (15 straight) including winning the last three in a row at home. They have lost only one of their last 18 regular-season home matches dating back to last June (W9 D8).

NYCFC have won four of their six all-time meetings with the Galaxy, though LA won the last meeting, 1-0, in February 2022. This will be the seventh meeting between the sides and the fifth in Carson.

NYCFC have won their last three road matches after winning just one of their previous 23 on the road in all competitions dating back to the start of the 2023 season (D9 L13). This run equals their longest-ever road winning streak, having also won three in a row away from home in April-May 2019.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 41.7%

New York City FC – 31.7%

Draw – 26.7%

LA Galaxy captain Maya Yoshida says the team are not satisfied with their position at the halfway stage of the MLS season, with Sporting Kansas City next up on Saturday.

The Galaxy's six-match unbeaten streak ended before the mid-season break, with the Chicago Fire coming from behind to beat them 2-1.

They sit fourth in the Western Conference, five points behind leaders Real Salt Lake, but Yoshida believes they should be challenging for the top spot.

"It's a big improvement on last season, but I'm still not satisfied. I'm still not happy enough," Yoshida said.

"Maybe, generally, people say the Galaxy are doing well, but I feel like we could play better and get more points. We should be top of the league. I'll always stay hungry and greedy, and I want to do more and more and more."

Head coach Greg Vanney echoed his thoughts, saying: "I'm pretty happy with the point total that we have from the first half of the season.

"We let a couple of opportunities to be a little higher go. I think we learned a lot about ourselves that we need to clean up or keep using as we understand ourselves better."

Sporting snapped a 10-match winless run last weekend with a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders, leaving them in 12th.

Peter Vermes is confident his team can use that victory as a platform to push them forward for the second half of the season.

He said: "This is a good team. The issue last year, which was different, was for the longest time, I had to be the one to tell them that. Our win over [Colorado] should reinforce that message that they're good. When they want to play, they can play."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Riqui Puig

Puig has found the net in three consecutive appearances for the Galaxy for the first time in his MLS career. The Spaniard has been involved in seven goals since the beginning of May with only four players in MLS involved in more in that time.

Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell

Russell scored his seventh career regular-season goal against Seattle Sounders in the win on Saturday, his most against any opponent, breaking a tie with three other teams against whom he has scored six times, including the Galaxy.

MATCH PREDICTION: LA GALAXY WIN

The Galaxy ended a six-match winless run against Kansas City (D3 L3) with a 3-2 road win on March 24. The win was just the Galaxy's third in their last 17 matches against Sporting dating back to October 2015 (D7 L7).

LA have lost only one of their last 17 regular-season home matches (W8 D8), including winning four of their last five in Carson (D1). The 17 matches in that run have seen a total of 67 goals for an average of 3.9 per match.

Meanwhile, Kansas City ended a seven-match losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Seattle on Saturday. Sporting came from 1-0 down in the match as they have gone behind in 10 straight league matches dating back to mid-April.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 53.5%

Draw – 23.8%

Sporting Kansas City – 22.7%

Dejan Joveljic has his eyes on the Western Conference summit as LA Galaxy bid to make it a nine-point week on Saturday, when they face the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field.

The Galaxy have won back-to-back games against Houston Dynamo (2-1) and FC Dallas (3-1) and sit second in the West, just two points behind Real Salt Lake.

Greg Vanney's team have now lost just one of their last nine matches (four wins, four draws), but Joveljic wants even more, starting in Chicago. 

"We would like to win four or five games in a row," the forward said. "But first, we have to win three and then we will see. We are in second place, so it's good, but it could be better. 

"In the playoffs, I would like to start with the first game at home. So, that means we have to be in the top four teams but, of course, our top goal is to be first."

Chicago, meanwhile, are winless in nine MLS matches (four draws, five defeats) following their 1-1 draw with Orlando City on Wednesday. 

Only the New England Revolution, with seven points, sit below them in the Eastern Conference standings. However, boss Frank Klopas has seen signs of improvement.

"I think in these last two games, we've changed how we wanted to play. We haven't got the wins, but I feel we're improving as a team," he said.

"There's a big belief in the group, but there's also frustration, for sure. There are a lot of emotions because of where we are.

"We have to keep going. It's great that we're playing on Saturday again, it's going to be a great crowd, and we have to come out with the same attitude against Galaxy."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

Chicago Fire – Hugo Cuypers 

Cuypers scored the Fire's goal in their draw with Orlando on Wednesday.

The Belgian forward has now either scored (four) or assisted (one) five of Chicago's last nine MLS goals.

LA Galaxy – Riqui Puig

While Gabriel Pec assisted Joveljic for Galaxy's first goal on Wednesday, Puig scored the third (Joveljic netted the second from the penalty spot). 

At least one of Pec or Puig have been involved in 12 of the Galaxy's last 13 non-penalty goals in MLS, including the last nine in a row.

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY

Galaxy are unbeaten in six straight MLS matches (two wins, four draws), including winning their last two in a row. 

This is LA's 18th two-match winning streak since the start of the 2021 season, but Galaxy have not won three straight matches in all competitions since a four-match streak between August and September 2020.

Galaxy have a great chance to achieve that feat this week, though, with Chicago winless in nine league games. They have gone 10 or more consecutive matches without a victory in a single regular season three times before, most recently between April and May 2022.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Chicago Fire – 32.9%

LA Galaxy – 41.5%

Draw – 25.6%

Nico Estevez feels FC Dallas have made big strides as they prepare to embark on a tough three-game road stretch, starting with Wednesday's visit to the LA Galaxy. 

Dallas are unbeaten in five games in all competitions (three wins, two draws) after only winning one of their previous nine (two draws, five defeats).

They visit Dignity Health Sports Park on Wednesday before going to Los Angeles FC and Minnesota United for their next two games in MLS.

Though Estevez was furious to see his team squander a 3-0 lead in a 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake last Saturday, he is convinced things are moving in the right direction overall.

"We have to recover because we have three away games in a row. It's going to be challenging, we go to LA and then we go to Minnesota," Estevez said. 

"It's going to be hard, but there's been improvement of the team against Austin, Houston, and now, against RSL. We're going in the right direction. 

"We'll review things, we'll try to find the things we have to improve, but also it's about the mentality. Some of the mistakes we made were too much like youth players, we cannot do that at the pro level."

The Galaxy, meanwhile, ended a run of four straight draws by beating the Houston Dynamo 2-1 last time out, with Gabriel Pec scoring as they went within four points of the Western Conference summit. 

"The team is getting better little by little. After three ties in a row, getting back home and getting a result, the feeling is very good," Pec said.

"The team has been doing great. Also, myself. I hope I can help my team moving forward."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

La Galaxy – Gabriel Pec 

Pec has scored in his last four home games for the Galaxy, becoming the first player to do so since Javier Hernandez in 2022. 

Only six players in club history have scored in five consecutive regular-season home appearances, with only three (Dejan Joveljic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robbie Keane) doing so in the last 20 years.

FC Dallas – Asier Illarramendi 

As well as being one of just three Dallas players with more than one goal to his name in MLS this year (two), Illarramendi has played 15 key passes, a tally only bettered by Paul Arriola (16). That is despite the Spaniard only making six league starts this season. 

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

Dallas have collected just two points on the road this season (two draws, four defeats), tied for the fewest in MLS alongside Nashville SC. 

They have just two wins in their last 17 regular-season road games, though one of those two victories came at the Galaxy last October. 

A repeat is not expected on Wednesday, though, with the Galaxy unbeaten in six straight home matches (three wins, three draws). They have lost only one of their last 16 regular-season games at Dignity Health Sports Park (seven wins, eight draws).  

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 47.5%

FC Dallas – 26.3%

Draw – 26.2%

Greg Vanney is aiming to build some momentum for the LA Galaxy as they look to end a run of four draws against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

The Galaxy are on a five-match winless run in MLS, with another goalless draw against Charlotte last weekend seeing them drop to fourth in the Western Conference.

After a run of four away games in their previous five outings, LA are now due to play four of their next five at Dignity Health Sports Park, which is also where they got their last win.

"This is a big phase for us to really build some momentum in all ways, being in front of our fans and being at home for this next stretch," said Vanney, as quoted in The Galactic Tribune.

"Obviously, we've got to go on the road once more, but hopefully build on the momentum and get some points."

Houston Dynamo have won just one of their last six MLS matches and dropped more points in a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas last Saturday as they sit eighth in the West.

Ben Olsen is upbeat about the Dynamo’s recent performances, though he admits they need to learn lessons from their recent results.

"The reality is the performances aren't necessarily resembling the points that we're getting," he said.

"We're actually in a nice rhythm of consistency. I know it's hard to say that when we're not maximising points, but the way we're going about the games is pretty good, and it's pretty consistent.

"We'll keep working at it. That's all you can do. What else are you going to do, quit?"

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Joseph Paintsil

Paintsil has contributed to at least one goal in four straight home matches (two goals, three assists), including recording an assist in the last three.

Only one Galaxy player in the last decade has recorded an assist in four straight home matches: Douglas Costa between June and August 2023.

Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

Amine Bassi scored his first goal of the season in Houston’s 1-1 draw with Dallas last weekend, becoming the ninth different Dynamo player to find the back of the net.

However, only one player has netted more than a single goal for them this campaign, with Aliyu netting four.

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

The Galaxy’s 0-0 draw with Charlotte on Saturday was their fourth consecutive draw and they’ve shared the points a joint-league high seven times this year. LA have drawn five consecutive regular-season matches only once before, doing so in May 2009.

The Dynamo have lost only one of their last six away matches against the Galaxy dating back to 2017 (two wins, three draws). Houston have kept clean sheets in each of their last two visits, and the only team to keep three straight clean sheets at the Galaxy in MLS play is the Columbus Crew, who did so between 2004 and 2006.

However, the Dynamo have alternated between wins and losses on the road this season, including a 1-0 defeat to Austin in their last away match. Houston have won four away matches in a single regular season just once since 2014, winning four times away from home in 2022, including at the Galaxy.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 42.4%

Draw – 25.6%

Houston Dynamo – 32%

Dean Smith is looking for his Charlotte FC side to build upon their 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire when they host the LA Galaxy this weekend.

Charlotte made it three wins in a row as they narrowly beat the Fire during midweek thanks to Ashley Westwood's 60th-minute winner.

The three-match win streak has taken Charlotte all the way up to fifth in the Eastern Conference, and though Smith was not enthralled by the manner of the victory over Chicago, he appreciated his side's mindset.

"I saw the mentality, but I didn’t see a game of football that I liked. It certainly won’t make the highlight reel," Smith told reporters.

"It wasn't a thriller of any sort. It was an untidy game from both teams but we showed real good mentality to limit them to few chances, and we took the one we had from a set piece."

The Galaxy, meanwhile, drew 2-2 at Minnesota United on Wednesday, leaving them fifth in the Western Conference and four points off leaders Real Salt Lake.

Minnesota equalised with just 10 minutes to play, but Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney still thought it was a solid point for his side.

"We've got to try to take this point and start to heal and start to recover and move on to the next one," Vanney said.

"[It is a] good, hard-earned point at the end of the day even though there was a chance for us to get three there at the tail end."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Charlotte FC – Ashley Westwood

Westwood scored the lone goal in Charlotte’s win over Chicago on Wednesday at the hour mark. Nine of Charlotte's 11 goals since March 23 have been scored after half-time, and Westwood will be hoping to spur his side on once more this Saturday by finding the net again.

LA Galaxy – Riqui Puig

Puig assisted both of the Galaxy's goals against Minnesota on Wednesday after also recording assists on both Galaxy goals on Saturday against Salt Lake. Puig is the first Galaxy player to record multiple assists in consecutive matches since Romain Alessandrini in 2018, and he will hope to make it three such games in a row this weekend.

MATCH PREDICTION – CHARLOTTE WIN

Charlotte and the Galaxy have each recorded a 1-0 away win against the other. Both goals were scored after the 70th minute.

The Galaxy have drawn each of their last three matches with the last two ending 2-2. In their last 22 matches, the Galaxy have scored two or more goals 15 times and allowed two or more goals 17 times.

Charlotte have won three straight matches, keeping clean sheets in all three. This is the first time Charlotte have kept clean sheets in three straight matches in club history, and with home advantage this weekend, they look the favourites to pick up the three points on Saturday.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Charlotte: 47.3%

Galaxy: 25.8%

Draw: 26.9%

Miguel Berry was the hero last time out for the LA Galaxy, but he hailed veteran defender Martin Caceres.

Berry scored in the dying seconds as the Galaxy salvaged a 2-2 draw with Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake at the weekend.

It was a point that saw Galaxy maintain the two-point gap between themselves and RSL, with Minnesota United – who sit second in the West – next up for Greg Vanney’s team.

Berry’s last-gasp equaliser sparked wild celebrations, and Caceres – the former Juventus defender – was heavily involved, despite being a substitute.

And Berry was quick to point out the 37-year-old’s importance to the Galaxy’s squad.

“[Caceres] is one of those people who makes your day better every single day. He's incredibly funny and unique and he's had a great career, and he's such a big part of the group,” said Berry, in quotes reported by The Galactic Tribune.

“For him to celebrate like that with us shows how much it means. He's played Champions League finals, won Champions League finals and played four World Cups. It's incredible, guys like that, celebrate with the team, means a lot.

“It's obviously a great feeling as a team to have those moments and when you look back on your career and your life, those are the moments that stick with you.”

The Galaxy have drawn their last two games, while Minnesota head into Wednesday’s meeting on the back of three straight wins.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Minnesota United – Teemu Pukki

Pukki has scored five goals in his first two matches against LA Galaxy, the sixth player in league history to score five or more times in his first two matches against a single opponent and the first to do so against the Galaxy.

LA Galaxy – Riqui Puig

Puig recorded the primary assist on both of the Galaxy’s goals on Saturday, setting up strikes for Gabriel Pec and Miguel Berry. Puig’s 10 primary assists for the Galaxy have set up goals for nine different players with Gaston Brugman the only teammate he’s set up more than once.

MATCH PREDICTION: MINNESOTA WIN

Minnesota have won three consecutive matches for the first time since August 2022. The Loons’ only winning streak of longer than three games in all competitions was a seven-match run in June-July 2019.

Dating back to last September, the Galaxy have lost only four of the last 10 matches in which they trailed by multiple goals (W2 D4), including losing only one of four this year (W1 D2).

Galaxy have won six of their first eight meetings with Minnesota United (D2, including playoffs), but have won just one of the six meetings (D2 L3) since.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Minnesota United – 53%

LA Galaxy – 21.7%

Draw – 25.3%

Greg Vanney believes the LA Galaxy are in a good spot both physically and mentally ahead of Saturday's clash with fellow Western Conference high-fliers Real Salt Lake.

The Galaxy sit third in the West through 11 matches of the season, though they have failed to win back-to-back road games against Austin FC (0-2) and the Seattle Sounders (0-0).

They are, however, unbeaten in all four of their home league games this term (two wins, two draws), and Vanney is looking forward to returning to Dignity Health Sports Park next time out.

"Physically, first and foremost, we're in a pretty good spot. We have a few guys coming back from issues that were pretty minor," Vanney said.

"It's good. We've been able to stay in that space for a while and now we're going into a busy part of the schedule we can make some choices about how we want to attack the week.

"Where are we mentally? We're good. It's nice to be home, it's a challenge to play a lot of games on the road early doors.

"We like the spot we're in and we want to keep building, but we've got to get through this tough stretch of games."

Real Salt Lake are top of the Western standings with 21 points, only losing twice in 11 league games this year.

However, they were dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup by New Mexico United on Wednesday, Pablo Mastroeni shuffling his pack for a 4-2 road loss.

"We completely tuned out," Mastroeni said after watching his team go 2-0 down within 20 minutes.

"The emotion is like, 'poor me,' and when you operate from that space, you can never think reasonably."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Gabriel Pec

The Galaxy (12 shots) and Seattle (19) combined for 31 shots in their scoreless draw last time out.

Pec – who has two goals in 10 league appearances since joining the Galaxy in the offseason – recorded six of his team's attempts, but only hit the target once. He will be targeting an improvement here.

Real Salt Lake – Cristian Arango 

Arango is the first Real Salt Lake player to contribute to at least one goal in five straight regular-season away matches, recording four goals and five assists during his streak.

He is just the second player since the start of last season to record a goal contribution in five straight MLS away matches, after the Columbus Crew's Cucho Hernandez.

MATCH PREDICTION – LA GALAXY WIN

The Galaxy have lost only one of their last 13 home matches against Real Salt Lake (nine wins, three draws) including going unbeaten through the last seven in a row. 

The last two meetings in Carson have both ended level, though, after the Galaxy won nine of the previous 11 (one draw, one defeat).

However, Vanney's team have only lost one of their last 14 regular-season home matches dating back to last June, winning six and drawing six while averaging 2.2 goals per game throughout this run.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LA Galaxy – 44.8%

Real Salt Lake – 27.8%

Draw – 27.4%

LA Galaxy coach Greg Vanney has urged his team to start sharply when they take on the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.

The Galaxy went down 2-0 to Austin FC last time out, and will look to get back to winning ways when they head up the West Coast to face the Sounders, who they beat 1-0 in March.

Vanney’s side found themselves 2-0 down after just 19 minutes against Austin, though, and the Galaxy coach is growing increasingly frustrated with his team’s sloppy starts.

In quotes reported by The Galactic Tribune, Vanney said: “We've got to do a better job of not starting slow and getting ourselves behind the game one and two goals because then it certainly incentivises the opposition to sit a little bit lower and really kind of protect the face of the goal.”

Vanney also pointed out that sluggishness in the final third is proving equally as costly.

He added: “The speed of our final actions when we are in possession and we do find those moments that we need to break, with the timing of things, needs to be sharper. I feel like we weren't so sharp on that side of things so that we can get to the necessary spots.”

For experienced defender Maya Yoshida, there were few excuses after the Austin loss.

“We were not enough. I don't deserve anything for my performance,” he said. “We deserved to lose. We are very disappointed. We have to learn from this defeat.”

The Galaxy went into the weekend second in the Western Conference, 10 places and nine points above the Sounders.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Seattle Sounders – Raul Ruidiaz

Ruidiaz and team-mate Jordan Morris have each scored nine goals against the Galaxy in their MLS careers. Since 2016, the only players with more goals against a single opponent are Carlos Vela (10 vs. Galaxy), Jeremy Ebobisse (10 vs. Galaxy) and Kei Kamara (10 vs. Montreal).

LA Galaxy – Riqui Puig

Puig had a fine campaign last year and the former Barcelona midfielder has picked up where he left off, scoring three goals and creating two more so far this season.

MATCH PREDICTION: SEATTLE SOUNDERS WIN

The Galaxy’s loss to Austin ended a run of 18 straight matches with at least one goal in all competitions, scoring 41 total times during that run (2.3 goals per match). It was the Galaxy’s longest run of games with a goal in all competitions since a 21-match run in 2014.

The Sounders won their second match of the season on Tuesday, a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia. Seattle have scored eight goals in their two wins this year (5-0 vs. CF Montreal in April) and six goals in their other eight matches (D3 L5).

The Galaxy beat Seattle at home on March 30, ending an 11-match MLS winless run against the Sounders (D4 L7). The Galaxy last won consecutive MLS matches against Seattle in April-August 2015.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Seattle Sounders – 53.9%

LA Galaxy – 20.1%

Draw – 26%

LA Galaxy coach Greg Vanney is satisfied with where his team are at in their development, with the next step for him being better game management.

The Galaxy beat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-3 last time out, and they are top of the Western Conference with 18 points from nine games.

Next up is a trip to Austin FC, who have won three of their last four MLS fixtures.

“We want to build some momentum and keep looking at things we can keep improving,” said Vanney.

“Austin are a team that are improving, they’ve figured out a few things with their group.

“All these games on the road are difficult, we’ve got to keep taking steps forward, learning from each of these games, things we can carry on into the next game and be a little better. I’m happy with where we’re at, for sure, and the process continues.”

The Galaxy raced into a 3-0 lead against the ‘Quakes, though Vanney was disappointed with how his side failed to maintain control.

He said: “At 3-0 with an opportunity to see it off into half-time, they score a goal that helps them get back into it, so I think game management is an important piece of that.

“Again, I think inside of that, is choosing our moments when we can really force the opposition to defend in numbers in their half of the field, burn their spirit a bit or really force them to work to get the ball back so they don’t really see a great way back into the game. Sometimes we rush attacks and the game starts to open up – we need to make sure the game stays controlled because we have everything to gain from that scenario.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Austin FC – Emiliano Rigoni

Rigoni scored his first goal of the season last time out, netting in Austin’s 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. Fourteen different Austin FC players have been involved in at least one goal this year, tied with Sporting Kansas City for most in MLS in 2024.

LA Galaxy – Joseph Paintsil

Paintsil has a goal and an assist in each of the Galaxy’s last two matches. The last player to do so in three straight MLS matches was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, also for the Galaxy, in September 2019.

MATCH PREDICTION: AUSTIN FC WIN

The Galaxy have won four of their last five matches, including the last two in a row, following a 4—3 win over San Jose on Sunday. However, they have not won three in a row in all competitions since a four-match run in August-September 2020.

Austin, on the other hand, have won three of its last four matches, including their last two at home. Austin’s only three-match home winning streak since the start of the 2022 season came in June-July 2023.

The Galaxy have lost only one of their six matches against Austin FC (W4 D1 L1), but just one of their four wins over the Verde has come in Austin (W1 D1 L1).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Austin FC – 51.2%

LA Galaxy – 23.3%

Draw – 25.5%

Lionel Messi's arrival at Inter Miami has brought more attention to MLS, with Giorgio Chiellini hailing the impact of the World Cup winner and likening his move to when David Beckham arrived.

Former Manchester United, Real Madrid and England star Beckham left the Spanish capital for LA Galaxy in 2007 as the dazzling midfielder's move captured the imaginations of many in the United States.

Beckham has since retired and created his own MLS franchise in the USA, bringing the likes of Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba to his newly established Miami side.

Juventus great Chiellini also joined MLS, signing for Los Angeles FC, winning the MLS Cup Final last year before defeat in this season's edition on Saturday to Columbus Crew.

And he vouched for the impact of Messi's move to Miami.

"I think that when Messi joined it was comparable to when Beckham joined," Chiellini told Stats Perform.

"And it's something that the league, but also the players, are very happy about because there is a lot of possibility for the future.

"What Messi did was huge for everyone and now there is much more consideration for the league, much more attention and it helps everyone."

Former Italy centre-back Chiellini announced his retirement on Monday, with reports suggesting the 39-year-old will move back to Juventus to take up a boardroom role.

The European Championship-winning defender will at least be thankful he does not have to face Beckham's Miami again next season.

A Messi-inspired Miami powered to a Leagues Cup triumph, with the Argentina captain scoring 10 goals.

"I don't know how every team could face and beat Miami next year," Chiellini added on Miami, who are reportedly close to signing former Barcelona and Liverpool forward Luis Suarez.

"Fortunately this year I met with Messi when they were at the bottom of the table and then he had one month out.

"They were still a really good team, it was one of the best nights and atmospheres. That's very good for the league, very good for the future of the league."

Orlando City forward Facundo Torres is targeting a turnaround in the Lions’ home fortunes, starting against LA Galaxy on Saturday.

Since beating the New York Red Bulls in the opening game of the season, Orlando have failed to win at home in 2023.

That run of five games has included three straight losses, with road wins over Philadelphia Union and Minnesota United wedged between those defeats.

Torres scored the winner against the Red Bulls back in February, and knows the time is now for Orlando to correct their home form.

"It's been difficult losses. Not just this week, but so far the ones that we've had on the season," he said.

"We know that we have to be a little bit more. It's not what we'd hoped for at this point in the season, but we continue working with the whole team to continue finding those details that we've been missing recently.

"In the final third, we've gotten good plays where we've been in and around the ball, but we haven't been able to finish those chances yet. And on the defensive side, we've given up some easy ones that have cost us as a team. So we work together to try and solidify those areas.

"We all know what [head coach] Oscar [Pareja] has been asking of us in the plan that he's laid out for us, whether it's guys that have been here or guys that just got here this year.

"The plan that Oscar has laid out has been very clear, and we're all integrated into that. I think what we're missing right now is the chemistry in between the new players and the old players and executing that idea. Like I said, the plan is very clear so now we just need to work together to bring that idea to the field in reality."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Orlando City – Duncan McGuire

McGuire has scored three goals in his first six MLS appearances, including scoring Orlando's last two goals. McGuire has hit the target with all seven shots he's attempted in MLS, the only player to attempt more than three shots with a 100 per cent shooting accuracy this season.

 

LA Galaxy – Javier Hernandez

Hernandez scored his first goal of the season in the Galaxy's 2-0 win over Austin on Saturday, and will be eager to keep up his form. It was his 38th regular season MLS goal, surpassing Erick Torres to become the second-highest-scoring Mexican international in MLS history, behind only Carlos Vela (72).

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

Each side have three wins in their six previous MLS meetings. The last two matches ended 1-0 to the visiting team (one win each) after there were a total of 20 goals scored in the first four games between the Lions and Galaxy.

Orlando have lost 11 regular season home matches since the start of 2022 (W10 D1) after losing a total of 12 home matches over the previous three regular seasons combined (W20 D14 from 2019—21).

The Galaxy have just two points from four away matches this season, though they're unbeaten in their last five away matches against Eastern Conference opposition.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Orlando City – 48.2 per cent

LA Galaxy – 25.1 per cent

Draw – 26.7 per cent

Mikael Uhre netted a hat-trick as Philadelphia Union snapped their five-game MLS winless run with a 4-2 victory over Toronto on Saturday.

Union took an early lead after Lukas MacNaughton's 16th-minute own goal before Denmark international Uhre bagged a double before half-time.

Uhre added a third in the 56th minute to round out his hat-trick, tapping in Julian Carranza's low ball across goal and put the contest to bed.

Toronto pulled one back through Italy international Lorenzo Insigne in the 66th minute, before Richie Laryea's stoppage-time consolation.

New England reinforced their grip on top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 home win over Sporting KC, who are last overall.

Giacomo Vrioni netted a first-half brace for the Revs, but Sporting pulled one back in the 50th minute from Johnny Russell, only to be reduced to 10 men when Andreu Fontas was sent off 10 minutes later.

The Revs are ahead of second-placed Cincinnati on goal difference, with Cincy winning 2-1 over Portland Timbers after strikes from Sergio Santos and Brandon Vasquez.

New York City moved up to fourth in the East with a 3-1 home win over Dallas sparked by Santiago Rodriguez's double.

Western Conference leaders St Louis City were denied victory after Michael Barrios' 90th-minute equaliser as they drew 1-1 at Colorado Rapids.

St Louis remain top in the West but only on goal difference from Seattle Sounders who condemned Minnesota United to three straight losses with a 1-0 victory.

Denis Bouanga netted his seventh goal of the MLS season as LAFC drew 1-1 at Nashville, while LA Galaxy snapped their winless start to the campaign with a 2-0 home victory over Austin.

Inter Miami's losing run extended to six in a row, compounding the pressure on boss Phil Neville, as they went down 1-0 at Houston Dynamo.

Real Salt Lake beat San Jose Earthquakes 3-1, Charlotte defeated Columbus Crew 1-0, struggling Montreal edged New York Red Bulls 2-0 and Christian Benteke scored as DC United won 3-1 at Orlando City.

Carlos Vela stepped up like he always does in El Trafico with a double and an assist in LAFC's 3-2 victory over a fast-finishing LA Galaxy on Sunday.

The former Mexico international, who scored a brace in LAFC's midweek 3-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps in the Concacaf Champions League, was the difference as his side climbed up to second in the Western Conference.

Vela's double meant he has scored 12 times against Galaxy, while it led LAFC to their first-ever road win at Dignity Health Sports Park in nine attempts.

Vela curled in the opener in trademark style in the 22nd minute, but Galaxy responded with Tyler Boyd's long-range 39th-minute strike.

But LAFC fired in two goals in three minutes to open up a 3-1 lead, firstly from some shaky Galaxy defending with Sega Coulibaly bringing down Denis Bouanga inside the box for a penalty.

Vela stepped up and sent Galaxy keeper Jonathan Klinsmann the wrong way, before the ex-Arsenal man's corner found Ryan Hollingshead to nod home in the 70th minute. Kwadwo Opoku missed the chance to make it 4-1 when he poked wide on a swift counter too.

Riqui Puig, who had been quiet in the second half, struck the post in the 81st minute with a long-range effort, before his brilliant pass set up Javier Hernandez, but he was denied by McCarthy.

In the 84th minute Hernandez, making his first start of the season, got a touch on Dejan Joveljic's low cross, allowing a simple tap-in for Marco Delgado. Galaxy almost grabbed a point when Calegari's speculative shot forced McCarthy to tip it over the bar.

Galaxy remain winless this MLS season, with three points from seven games.

Page 1 of 6
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.