Preview: Nashville SC vs LA Galaxy

Nashville SC’s 2024 campaign keeps rolling. After their midweek draw with Inter Miami in Concacaf Champions Cup, the Coyotes take on the LA Galaxy on Sunday, the first time the two sides have met since a 1-0 Galaxy win in the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Colorado Rapids

2nd (West) | 4 points | 1W-1D-0L | +2 GD |
Last match: 3-1 win @ San Jose Earthquakes

Availability report

OUT: Jalen Neal (abdominal), Gabriel Pec (not due to injury)
QUESTIONABLE: n/a

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The Galaxy made waves in the offseason. Will Kuntz was brought in as Chief Soccer Officer, and the former LAFC executive has changed the way they build their roster.

Japanese A-Leauge Best XI right back Miki Yamane has come in and instantly upgraded their backline, bringning loads of two-way energy and veteran defending to a team that has leaked goals for years.

Gabriel Pec won’t be available in Nashville – he’s getting married back home in Brazil – but the Young DP is a much more dangerous threat to opponents’ goals, and with international experience for Brazil at the youth levels, he has an exciting profile and buckets of potential.

The biggest addition, though, is winger Joseph Paintsil. The Ghana international was a menace in Belgium, logging 14 goals and 14 assists in 30 matches last season. He’s already had an instant impact, giving Riqui Puig a dynamic runner to open up space, but also a danger to score himself; he took seven shots in his first start.

In Riqui Puig, the Galaxy have one of the league’s best and most exciting young playmakers. He’s elite in every facet of the attacking game, capable of finding the narrowest passing lanes through a low-block defense and punishing defenses. Everything runs through him.

The Galaxy do, however, get their fullbacks high and wide to join the attack. This certainly makes sense for a team that likes to control the ball. Their center backs are 35 and 36, though, and neither are remotely pacey. For all their attacking prowess, they look vulnerable in transition.

Nashville SC

10th (East) | 2 points | 0W-2D-0L | 0 GD |
Last match: 2-2 draw vs Inter Miami (Concacaf Champions Cup)

Availability report:

OUT: Randall Leal (hip), Walker Zimmerman (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Sam Surridge (shoulder)

Hany Mukhtar returned to Nashville’s lineup after picking up an injury in the first match of the year. It was a race to fitness before their midweek match against Miami, with Mukhtar a late call to play. His involvement on Sunday will be one to watch, especially with the return leg in Miami set for Wednesday.

Another question is Walker Zimmerman. The captain collided with Diego Gómez against Miami and appeared to hit kneecap-to-kneecap. He returned to the field for several more minutes before being substituted. It’s not clear if the change was made because of the injury or as he continues to work towards full fitness after an incomplete preseason. (UPDATE: Zimmerman has been ruled out with a knee injury)

The Galaxy are a dangerous attack, but Nashville showed once again against Miami that they can be resolute defensively and are one for the most dangerous teams in the league on the break. Expect them to sit deep, force the Galaxy wide, and try to exploit Jacob Shaffelburg’s pace and the Galaxy’s advancing fullbacks.

Pod picks

Ben Wright

Score: Nashville 3 – 1 LA Galaxy
Scorers: Jacob Shaffelburg, Hany Mukhtar, Tyler Boyd
MOTM: Jacob Shaffelburg
Bold Prediction: Nashville control less than 40% of possession, but more than double the Galaxy’s xG.

Chris Ivey

Score: Nashville 1 – 1 LA Galaxy
Scorers: Tyler Boyd
MOTM: Tyler Boyd
Bold Prediction: Tired legs lead to dropped points.

Jeff Remlinger

Score: Nashville 3 – 1 LA Galaxy
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar (x2), Jacob Shaffelburg
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Tyler Boyd notches three assists.

Jonathan Slape

Score: Nashville 1 – 0 LA Galaxy
Scorers:
MOTM: Joe Willis
Bold Prediction: Nashville rotates heavily and concedes late.

Valair Shabilla

Score: Nashville 1 – 1 LA Galaxy
Scorers: Tyler Boyd
MOTM: Tyler Boyd
Bold Prediction: Nashville score a very late equalizer.

Fan forecast

Pre-match quotes

Match info

Teams: Nashville SC vs LA Galaxy
Odds: NSH (+120), Draw (+255), LA (+190)
Date: Sunday, March 10, 2024
Time: 2:00 pm CDT, Geodis Park, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
Radio: 104.5 The Zone, Sirius XM
Forecast: 53°/34°. 52º at kickoff. Sunny. 0% chance of rain. 57% humidity. 3-11 mph wind.

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. Mastodon

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