It was a party Saturday afternoon, and the Los Angeles Galaxy were gracious hosts as they defeated Nashville SC 1-0 in front of 22,280 passionate Angelenos in round one of the MLS Cup playoffs.
Starved of postseason soccer, having qualified only once in the past five seasons, both club and supporters rose to the occasion at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Galaxy fun in a 1-0 playoff win
And in a tightly contested match that could’ve ended their season, Galaxy players claimed it was the home support that helped them claim victory and have “fun.”
“The atmosphere was amazing,” Galaxy Goalkeeper Jonathan Bond shared. “It’s not always easy to create a good atmosphere at 12 o’clock on a Saturday, but they all turned out in numbers and created the atmosphere we were hoping they would. I actually feel like they carried us over the line in the second half.”
Bond claims the team got a taste of the postseason in the Galaxy’s home regular season match against Real Salt Lake. In a game LA needed to win or draw to earn themselves a home playoff game, the supporters made it feel as such.
At the moment, with the Galaxy having lost just once in the last 11 matches and playing some of the best soccer of the Greg Vanney era, it is easy to support. In short, Galaxy wins means Galaxy fun.
However, Galaxy Captain Javier “Chicharito” Hernández made sure to acknowledge a fan base that stuck with the club during the bleakest parts of the season, in which the club was mired outside the playoff places.
“They stuck with us, they support us. Because I always said that a good supporter is not only the one who claps for you. A good supporter, is when things are not going well, and they support you, and they want you to improve,” the captain explained.
“So I think our fan base has been phenomenal this season,” Chicharito added.
Julian takes his moment
Another player who claimed it was supporters that helped carry the day was Julian Araujo.
His “foul” in the buildup to Chicharito’s disallowed goal in the 50th minute was the reason Referee Armando Villarreal gave for overturning it.
But he, like the supporters, did not waver, and he was the difference maker 10 minutes later.
The Galaxy defender scored his first goal of the year with a driven header on 60 minutes that he seemed to announce just moments before with a shot off the crossbar.
LOCALLY GROWN, GLOBALLY KNOWN
JULIAN ARAUJO’S FIRST GOAL OF THE SEASON IS ELECTRIC pic.twitter.com/4djVbXLMuB
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 15, 2022
The former Galaxy academy player, sporting pink hair for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, chose the perfect game to score in.
After Samuel Grandsir got to the right end line, the Frenchman put in a cross to the back post, which Araujo rose highest to meet and head home for the game-winner.
He ran straight over to the corner flag to celebrate with the supporters and was showered with love.
“The atmosphere was amazing. To hear them for 90 minutes, they kept us going through those moments when we needed a goal,” Araujo shared.
“The fans kept us going, they were very energetic, and we’re going to keep going for them.”
Los Angeles Galaxy Defender Julian Araujo scored his first goal of the season and the game-winner in the Galaxy’s 1-0 win over Nashville SC in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. (Photo Credit: Los Angeles Galaxy)
“I’ve worked hard all my life for this moment,” Araujo confessed. “It means everything to me. My whole life, I’ve been waiting for opportunities and moments like these.”
With the hard work of the day behind them, Galaxy defender seemed to revel in the raucous party all around him postgame.
Both clubs and supporters handled business and enjoyed themselves while doing it.
“I had a lot of fun because, I mean, you work the whole year to be in this scenario,” Chicharito said. “When you have the opportunity, you just need to live the moment.”
The Los Angeles Galaxy will have a few days to enjoy it and “live the moment.”
Their reward for knocking off Nashville, a second-round Western Conference Semifinals El Tráfico date against LAFC on Thursday night.
Whatever happens that night in Los Angeles, it’ll surely be fun.
Main Photo Credit: Los Angeles Galaxy