Preview: Los Angeles Galaxy vs Nashville SC

Fresh off a 2-2 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes, Nashville SC head back to the West Coast for the final match of their eight-game road trip. They take on an in-form Galaxy team looking to bounce back from their disappointing draw against the Chicago Fire.

Can Nashville pick up another win on the road? Will the Galaxy be able to contain this Nashville team?

Los Angeles Galaxy

Current standing: 3rd (West) | 4-1-2 | +3 GD

Injuries

OUT: Adam Saldaña (left ankle), Jorge Villafaña (left knee), Víctor Vázquez (right upper leg)

The start Greg Vanney era was a bit of a mixed bag for the LA Galaxy. Vanney came into the 2021 season with the task of turning around a team that had a disastrous 2020 season. He was able to sort out some of the attacking issues and get Chicharito back into a position to be succesful.

The Galaxy may have solved some of their attacking issues in 2021, but still struggled defensively leading to their failure to make the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.

This season, however, has seen a team that is dangerous on the attacking side of the ball while at the same time being one of the better defenses in the league. Through the first seven games in the season they have only allowed six goals and notched three clean sheets.

Through the first seven matches, Vanney has alternated between playing a 4-4-2 and a 4-2-3-1. Against Nashville, I expect that we see the 4-2-3-1 from the Galaxy to attempt and created a numerical mismatch in the midfield. Overloading the midfield will be the best way to keep Nashville from breaking out into transition when they win the ball back.

While the LA Galaxy defense is much improved, the focal point of this team is the attack lead by Mexican National team star, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, who currently is tied atop the Golden Boot standings. Chicharito is a fascinating forward to watch who makes his living on clever runs off the ball to find space and generate shots.

Nashville will have to focus on cutting off service from both the middle of the pitch and the outside. The most dangerous opportunities coming from the right-hand side as both Douglas Costa and Julian Araujo have the ability to whip balls into Chicharito.

Nashville SC

Current standing: 8th (West) | 3-2-2 | 0 GD

Injuries

OUT: Robert Castellanos (right ankle surgery), Teal Bunbury (right knee), Koze Donasiyano (left thigh)

One match to go for the ‘Yotes. One more final road match before opening their brand new stadium. Last week, Nashville looked like a team that was on the tail end of a long road trip. Tonight they will need to go out and perform once again.

We spent most of the past week discussing if the match against San Jose was either a good draw or a bad draw. The consensus reached was that it was a bad draw in the manner that it happened. However, Nashville SC does not have much time to dwell on the past as they look to get a result against one of the hottest teams in MLS.

The storylines going in to the match against the Galaxy center around Nashville’s defense.

Leading the headlines will be the first matchup between Nashville’s Walker Zimmerman and LA’s Chicharito. These two are playing at the highest level of their positions and it will be fascinating to watch these two come up against each other.

On top of that, Dave Romney faces off with his former club for the first time since his trade and is sure to be desperate to show to both the club and fans why they were wrong to ship him out.

Of course, the backdrop to this is a defense that while only conceding eight goals, five of them have come from set-pieces. If Nashville is going to get a result in this match, they will limit those mistakes on set pieces.

Coach Gary Smith comes into tonights match with no new injuries and several decisions to make for the match. Last week, Aníbal Godoy and Daniel Lovitz both made their return to the starting lineup in what some consider to be this team’s best 11. I fully expect Coach Smith to continue with that same lineup against the Galaxy.

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Los Angeles 2 – 1 Nashville
Scores: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville scores early but concedes late.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Los Angeles 2 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: C.J. Sapong, Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Hany Mukhtar scores a late goal to salvage a draw for Nashville

Ben Wright

Score: Los Angeles 1 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Walker Zimmerman
Bold Prediction: Nashville posses less than 35% of the ball

Fan Forecast

Match Info

Teams: LA Galaxy vs Nashville SC
Odds: San Jose (-110), Draw (+240), Nashville (+275) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, April 23
Time: 9:30 PM Central, Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California
TV: MYTV30
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 70°/56°. Sunny. 10% chance of rain. 49% humidity

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