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LA Galaxy to win or draw, under 2.5 goals
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LA Galaxy have never faced Nashville SC, and the two sides are ready for what will be a historic clash this weekend. Both teams have made decent starts to the season but have lost twice in their opening seven matches.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has been the best player for LA Galaxy this season, and he will be looking to score more goals this weekend. He has already got 5 goals to his name in 7 matches, which is over 50 percent of the goals scored by his side.
Meanwhile, for Nashville, the goals have been more distributed with Hany Mukhtar and CJ Sapong scoring two each and leading the charts for them. The one to watch out for this weekend would be Dave Romney, who has done well in defense, and has helped in attack with a goal and an assist this season.
Both sides haven’t been clinical in front of the goal and have decent defenses; thus, the game is not expected to be a high-scoring affair. Galaxy have scored 2+ goals in a game just thrice this season, while Nashville have done it twice.
LA Galaxy and Nashville go into the game in similar form – 2 wins, 2 losses, and a draw in their last five matches. It seems like a pretty even game on paper, but we think home advantage will count a great deal this weekend and Galaxy could triumph in a low-scoring affair.
LA Galaxy started their preseason in fine form but struggled as the regular season got closer. They won three of their first four matches, before losing to Vancouver Whitecaps and drawing to DC United in their last two matches.
Their season started with a scrappy win as they needed a late goal from Chicharito to win at home against New York City FC. It was a similar story in their second game as well, when they traveled to face newcomers Charlotte FC. Efrain Alvarez’s long-range stunner helped them pick up the three points after yet another unconvincing performance. They were expected to run away with the game, but were blocked out by the home side in the second half.
Their luck ran out against the Seattle Sounders, and manager Greg Vanney was handed a wake up call. His side were beaten 3-2 by the Sounders despite them taking the lead early in the game. Chicharito scored in the sixth minute before Jordan Morris, and Fredy Montero made it 2-1 to the home side. Douglas Costa scored his first goal for his new club, but that was not enough for Galaxy to pick up any points as Xavier Arreaga scored the winner in the 72nd minute.
Orlando City followed the exact blueprint and frustrated the LA Galaxy in the next game week. Facundo Torres scored inside the first 10 minutes of the game and then defended the lead well. Vanney’s side enjoyed 63 percent of the possession and managed to take 20 shots at goal – more than three times what Orlando managed – but still lost 1-0.
LA Galaxy managed to bounce back and beat Portland Timbers, and it looked like the international break had done them a favor. The players were more focused, and that was visible on the pitch as they won 3-1 at Providence Park. Chicharito scored twice, while Timber’s Bill Tuiloma scored an unfortunate own goal and redeemed himself by scoring at the right end in the second half. Both sides ended the game with 10 men as Pablo Bonilla and Marky Delgado were given the marching orders.
Their most important result of the season so far, of course, is the fact that Galaxy managed to get bragging rights in the El Traffico derby against LAFC. Chicharito was once again on the score sheet before Sega Coulibaly made it 2-0 in the first half. Cristian Arango pulled one back for LAFC, but their hearts were broken after Latif Blessing’s 99th-minute goal was canceled by VAR.
Chicago Fire’s defense was too hard for them to break down in the game last weekend, and it ended in a frustrating goalless draw for them – another result that, no doubt, has made it hard for both the fans and the coaching staff to summarize the season so far.
Unlike other MLS clubs, Nashville did not play a lot of games in the preseason. They played just two and failed to win both – a 3-2 loss to FC Cincinnati and then a 1-1 draw at Philadelphia Union.
However, they started the season well with a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders. Aníbal Godoy scored late in that game, and it was enough for them to seal the three points. They did not enjoy a lot of possession in the game but were dominant enough to get the win.
They could not repeat the same against Minnesota United in the second game week and drew 1-1. Charles Sapong gave them the lead early in the game with a strike in the 5th minute. The goal saw them move into a defensive tactic, and that proved fatal as Minnesota pounced on their chance and grabbed the equalizer in the 72nd minute via Hassani Dotson.
Losses to FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake followed, leaving Gary Smith wondering what had gone wrong. After the international break, the players managed to get back into the groove and pulled off back-to-back wins. They defeated Columbus Crew 1-0 and then beat Sporting Kansas City 2-1. However, they drew in the last game week against the San Jose earthquakes.
At the moment, Nashville sit in 8th place in the Western Conference with 11 points from 7 games. A lot of people will say that is a performance to a higher standard than is expected of them. The team themselves, of course, will be thinking no such thing. Mathematically speaking, an unbeaten run of, say, four matches from here could spark a pretty steep move upwards on the table for them.
In a league like the MLS, there are very few sure-shot dominant teams on the table at any point; at the moment, Nashville, 8th in their Conference and 12th in the Supporters’ Shield, are only a few consecutive wins away (and others slipping up simultaneously) from breaking comfortably into the top five. A plugging of their relatively leaky defense will be the place to start for such an endeavor.
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|LA Galaxy vs Nashville SC Information|
|Teams||LA Galaxy vs Nashville SC|
|Location||Dignity Health Sports Park|
|Time||Saturday, April 23 at 10.30pm EST|
|How to watch||MLS LIVE on ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN|
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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