Thursday , April 18 2024
MLS

MLS winners and losers as Hollywood grafters triumph and Messi-less Miami stumble

Since Major League Soccer’s inception almost three decades ago, no club has dealt as strongly in star power as Los Angeles Galaxy.

 

From homegrown heroes such as Cobi Jones and Landon Donovan through to iconic imports like David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the game’s biggest names have flocked to ply their trade in the shadow of the Hollywood Hills.

And the current incarnation of the Galaxy are not short of name recognition; former Barcelona prodigy Riqui Puig has been one of the most entertaining and productive playmakers in MLS since his 2022 arrival, veteran former Southampton defender Maya Yoshida brings vast top-level experience, and Ghanaian winger Joseph Paintsil – a $9million signing from Genk – has hit the ground running in MLS.

But LA’s surge to the top of the Western Conference this season is not due to their appetite for glitz and glamour but a newfound embrace of grit and grind. Unbeaten through their first six MLS games of the season, Greg Vanney’s side are the frontrunners in the race for the Supporters’ Shield thanks to their ability to eke out results in tight matches.

This weekend’s 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders was the perfect example of the Galaxy’s resilience this season. Thrust into a fourth-minute lead when Brazilian forward Gabriel Pec finished a slick passing move with a powerful strike, LA found themselves outplayed and under pressure for much of the second half. But with Yoshida anchoring the backline, they prevailed. It was the Galaxy’s first clean sheet of the season and their first 1-0 win since the 2022 play-offs.

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