Preview: Nashville SC vs LA Galaxy

Nashville SC take on LA Galaxy tomorrow at Geodis Park. It’s another match with huge playoff implications.

The ‘Yotes enter the match in fourth place in the Western Conference on 45 points. The Galaxy are six points behind them in eighth. Both sides need three points in their push for the playoffs.

LA Galaxy

Current standing: 8th (West) | 39 points | 11W-6D-11L | +4 GD
Power Rankings: 9th (9.85 score)

Injuries

OUT: Jorge Villafaña (season-ending injury list), Jonathan Pérez (knee)

Los Angeles missed out on a much-needed three points last time out. Striker and captain Chicharito’s stoppage time panenka attempt was saved by Sporting KC’s John Pulskamp, earning just a point from the match.

On the outside looking in at the playoffs, the Galaxy come to Geodis Park in desperate need of three points. Manager Greg Vanney has struggled to get the best from his side in his time in Carson, with high-profile attackers like Douglas Costa, Samuel Grandsir and Kévin Cabral struggling to have the desired impact.

Despite the penalty miss, Chicharito has been a consistent producer in attack, leading the team in scoring with 14 goals. Serbian Dejan Joveljić has contributed 10, largely off the bench, but still hasn’t been able to break into the starting lineup.

23-year-old Riqi Puig, signed from Barcelona (yes, that Barcelona) in the summer transfer window, has made an immediate impact on this team. He’s started their last three matches, scoring a goal and assisting another. With the talent and profile to be an elite midfielder anywhere in the world, he’s a huge coup for the Galaxy.

Vanney has had to shift his midfield around, playing Mark Delgado as a wider midfielder, occasionally playing Victor Vázquez wide, or even pushing Joveljić to a flank to give Vázquez time in a more central role. The Galaxy feel very much like a side that don’t have a set identity and are still looking for their best formation.

They did just add Uruguayan international defender Martín Cáceres in the summer transfer window. Much like other signings around the league, Cáceres signed to stay fit ahead of the November World Cup. He’s able to play centrally or as a left back, and could get his first start in MLS against Nashville.

Nashville SC

Current standing: 4th (West) | 45 points | 12W-9D-9L | +11 GD
Power Rankings: 7th (15.15 score)

Injuries

None

Randall Leal is back from yellow card suspension, and Nashville are as healthy as they’ve been all year.

After missing the last four, Teal Bunbury came off the bench against Austin. Aké Loba is finally off the injury report after missing the last five with a vaguely described “trunk” injury.

Loba was an unused substitute in the two matches prior to injury, and in all honesty his absence from the squad was almost unnoticeable. With just four matches left to go in the regular season, it will take a near miraculous turnaround to salvage his stint in Music City. He seems destined for an exit this winter.

There’s not a lot to say about this Nashville side that hasn’t been said recently. They’ve found their groove in the last month, especially with Jacob Shaffelburg’s injection of pace on the left. Hany Mukhtar has played well all year, but he’s finally getting the help he so desperately needed.

CJ Sapong is the biggest question mark in the starting lineup. His work rate and holdup play is consistent, but he’s on a 16 match scoreless streak, and has missed several golden chances in the last few matches. Mukhtar’s form has covered for him, but having a starting striker struggle to score this badly will limit their ceiling. Getting Sapong in form down the stretch is vital.

The Galaxy come to Nashville needing a win, and this could play into the Coyotes’ hands. They’re at their best against teams who like to have the ball, and the Galaxy love to push their fullbacks high, All this could open up plenty of space for Mukhtar and co. on the break.

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Nashville 1 – 1 LA
Scores: Hany Mukhtar
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: The Galaxy grab a late equalizer.

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 3 – 1 LA
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Randall Leal, Alex Muyl
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Muyl ices the win off the bench.

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 3 – 0 LA
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x2) Aké Loba
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Loba comes off the bench in the final three minutes and scores an unconventional goal with his first involvement.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 3 – 1 LA
Scores: Hany Mukhtar, Randall Leal, C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Sapong finally scores.

Fan Forecast

Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams: Nashville SC vs LA Galaxy
Odds: Nashville (-120), Draw (+270), LA Galaxy (+290) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, September 10
Time: 3:30 pm CT, GEODIS Park, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: Univision, TUDN, Twitter
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 76°/68°. Scattered rain. 70% chance of rain. 75% humidity

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids.

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