CARSON, Calif. — With his club desperately searching for its first win of the season, LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney opted for a change in tactics as he rolled out a 3-5-2 lineup Saturday against Austin FC, with captain Chicharito up top along side Dejan Jovelic.
The decision would as the Galaxy’s offense looked rejuvenated during the 2-0 win against Austin, finally putting the club in the win column for the first time in 2023.
The first goal came from club captain, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, who had nothing but the ball and goalkeeper in front of him upon receiving it, sent one into the back of the net in the 54th minute to put the Galaxy ahead and mark his first goal this season since returning from a hamstring injury.
Shortly afterwards, Galaxy would get on the board once again. This time it was Riqui Puig, who was able to score after a near-perfectly placed cross from Gaston Brugman in the 64th. The goal was also Puig’s first for the Galaxy this season.
Despite the official attendance being tallied at over 18,000 people, Dignity Health Sports Park was more quiet than usual, thanks in part to some of the club’s supporter groups boycotting home matches and calling for the dismissal of club president, Chris Klein. This is what the north end seating of the stadium looked like just before kickoff:
Seemingly unphased by how the club’s season has gone, Galaxy’s offense proved to be more dynamic following the lineup change, but its backline also proved to be vulnerable to Austin’s counter-attacks.
Austin failed to capitalize on the few chances they did have, losing the battle in the midfield for much of the match. Sebastian Driussi thought he scored on a breakaway to put the visitor’s ahead just before halftime, but the goal was ruled offsides and overturned.
Despite the goal, Puig did not have a perfect day as he was booked in the opening minutes of the match, which means he will have to sit out next week’s match against Orlando City FC due to card accumulation.
Emotions flared in the closing minutes as the refs would issue three yellow cards in stoppage time during a skirmish between both teams. Chicharito and Daniel Aguirre were booked for LA, while Austin’s Alex Ring was also booked three minutes later.
Next, the Galaxy will look to keep the momentum rolling as the team travels cross-country to meet Orlando City FC.