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Joveljic’s two goals spark Galaxy past Dallas

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Riqui Puig’s stoppage time goal put the result on ice as the Galaxy pulled out a 3-1 victory over FC Dallas Wednesday evening.

CARSON, Calif. — Dejan Joveljic scored twice as casual midweek Western Conference matchup turned into a physical battle as the Galaxy defeated FC Dallas, 3-1 on Wednesday night at Dignity Health Sports Park.

The result elevated LA (7-2-7, 28 pts) to second place in the West with 28 points, but the win wouldn’t come easy.

”I think midweek games are no matter what, home or away they’re always a little bit a little bit strange,” Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said.

The Galaxy got off to a quick start after Gabriel Pec found Dejan Joveljic, who put the Galaxy ahead 1-0. Joveljic’s eighth goal this season looked like it would be the first of many for those in attendance at Dignity Health Sports Park Wednesday evening.

”The ball came across from Gabriel [Pec] there, I mean he did 95% of the work,” Joveljic said.

The Galaxy looked to have a party in the back of the net, but Dallas’ Patrickson Delgado had other plans.

After conceding early, Dallas settled in and Delgado scored a screamer that Galaxy goalkeeper John McCarthy had no chance of stopping to even the score, 1-1.

”It was just a tactical breakdown,” Jalen Neal said. “Usually when defending in the box, especially with Maya [Yoshida] we like to go near post centerback guards the near post and the weak side centerback gets whoever is in the box, but they ended up having two people in the box.”

The match quickly turned physical with FC Dallas amassing four yellow cards in the opening half.  This led to a late tackle on Joveljic in the box, giving the LA Galaxy a penalty and an opportunity to regain the lead before the break.

Gabriel Pec stepped up to take the penalty and had his first attempt and the rebound saved. Joveljic thought he had scored, but was shortly ruled offside, keeping the score deadlocked heading into the half.

The second half didn’t have a quick opening like the first, but the Galaxy did get another opportunity to convert a penalty kick.

LA was awarded a penalty after Diego Fagundez was brought down in the area in the 65th. Joveljic stepped up to the spot and sent one to the bottom-right corner, which regave LA the lead, 2-1.

Following the second goal, Dallas ran out of gas and could not keep their composure. 

Miguel Berry, who entered in place of Joveljic after his brace, was sideswiped by Dallas’ Nkosi Tafari in the 80th. Tafari was subsequently sent off, leaving Dallas down to 10 men for the final minutes of the match.

Riqui Puig, dawning a fresh blonde haircut, put the game away in stoppage time, his second goal in as many games, with an incredible solo effort extended the lead for LA, 3-1.

”In the first half we managed it really good, but in the second half we were much more direct,” Puig said.

The Galaxy’s next match is at the Chicago Fire at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.