Los Angeles – Los Angeles Galaxy fans were treated to a show on Saturday, July 8, 2023, as Riqui Puig, Tyler Boyd, and Douglas Costa turned in their latest match-winning performances. Fans watched the Galaxy’s “flying” trio extend LA’s unbeaten run to seven games and earn back-to-back wins for the first time since September 2022 in LA’s hugely impressive 3-1 home win over the Philadelphia Union.
It culminates a life-affirming week for the Galaxy, in which they beat both MLS Cup finalists, earned a historic statement win over a rival, and thrust themselves back into the playoff discussion. Now just three points back, the season seems to have finally started in LA.
LA Galaxy Post Match
Back-to-back dubs pic.twitter.com/n00XDD2zvm
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 9, 2023
Roses Keep Blooming
The Galaxy picked up right where they left off against LAFC. From the first whistle, they came out attacking. Philadelphia’s physical game, which earned Midfielder Jose Martinez a yellow card within five minutes, could do little to stop Puig, although he was hacked down several times in the game’s opening frame.
The Catalan was the catalyst for the Galaxy’s opening goal. After dribbling away from Martinez, Puig played the ball to Mark Delgado on the right wing. Delgado’s driven pass into the middle of the box, where Boyd met it to power home the 1-0 strike, is a testament to the way the Galaxy is beginning to click.
“I just feel the connection is there, so that’s nice. Because our game depends on it. The way we want to play depends on sharing the ball. It depends on the relationships of the players and the way they move, and being coordinated with each other,” Head Coach Greg Vanney explained of the team’s improved play.
It would have been easy for the Galaxy to come out flat after an emotional win during the week, just four days before this match. However, LA turned in a masterful performance and kept the unbeaten streak alive.
The Defense Doesn’t Rest
Another part of that masterful performance was the lockdown defending by Chris Mavinga and Kelvin Leerdam. The pair have been at the heart of the defense for the recent Galaxy surge. Vanney has hailed their influence, and Leerdam in particular, on the team in a post-match press conference.
“For Kelvin [Leerdam], who has been out of position, he’s done a fantastic job just working with Chris [Mavinga] to help stabilize the back line. So, they’ve been doing great. Those are just part of the relationships that are inside,” Vanney said of the pair.
Mavinga isn’t just defending well. He contributed to the Galaxy’s victory on the offensive end by challenging for a Costa corner that he pressured Olivier Mbaizo into turning into his own net. This play brought relief to the Galaxy just before halftime by giving them the 2-1 lead. It also showed the importance of Mavinga’s play over the seven-game unbeaten stretch.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 9, 2023
“Flying” Trio Extend Streak
Galaxy fans are running out of superlatives for the Galaxy’s triumphant trio. Vanney though, didn’t mince words.
“They’re flying. I mean, they’re playing at another speed. All three of them can play that game at a high speed. Riqui [Puig] and Douglas’ [Costa] ability to get away from the first defender and open up and loosen areas. Their combination play. Tyler’s [Boyd] running helps us out. He stretches the game. He runs without the ball. He creates more options for us. He creates the space a lot for guys to receive the balls in between the lines. And he’s also been able to combine with these guys,” Vanney shared of his star trio.
He emphasized that as the Galaxy starts to know each other more, which has taken some time due to injuries and suspensions, they’ll start to build “connections” and create more chances. This, more than anything else, has been the key during this stretch, according to the Galaxy coach.
“So, again, just, I think they’re getting into a rhythm with each other. I think they’re playing with a level of predictability and certainty for one another, not necessarily the other team, but for each other, which has allowed the game to flow in the rhythm they’re enjoying themselves in. They’re finally building and sharing, and working together. And creating two, or three player combinations, which is nice.”
Riqui Puig laced that top corner
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 9, 2023
Defending the Badge – Tyler Boyd
Everyone expects Puig and Costa to be the main creators on this team. In the absence of a striker, much of the offensive load has fallen to the two stars. But Tyler Boyd has emerged as a viable third option for LA.
Indeed, Boyd has scored the first goal in the last two games for the Galaxy and his calming presence is a perfect balance to Puig’s passion and Costa’s trickery. Over the Galaxy’s seven-game unbeaten stretch, the winger has notched 3 goals and 1 assist. Not bad for a guy that was on trial before the year started.
“I’m really blessed to be here. I’m so happy to be back in America and yeah, it was a special occasion and everything happens for a reason,” Boyd said after the Galaxy’s 2-1 Rose Bowl win. It stands to reason that when a player is happy, they play well. Tyler is happy and it shows.
If he can continue to be a threatening third option for LA, they should be able to find victory against Vancouver next Saturday and climb within striking distance of the playoffs.
From one end of the field to the other.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 9, 2023
The post LA Galaxy Post Match Talking Points for July 8; “Flying” Trio Extend Galaxy Unbeaten Run appeared first on Last Word On Soccer.