Thursday, June 20, 2024

Dejan Joveljic scores 2 more goals to lead Galaxy past FC Dallas

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CARSON — If at first you don’t succeed, just wait for another opportunity.

It’s a simple moment and thought process, but it was one that helped the Galaxy escape with a 3-1 victory over FC Dallas on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten at home.

In the first half, the Galaxy had a penalty attempt saved. In the 65th minute, the Galaxy received another penalty attempt as Dallas defender Sebastien Ibeagha fouled Diego Fagundez.

Dejan Joveljic stepped up to the penalty spot and without hesitating he went to the lower right corner of the goal, converting for the lead and sending the Galaxy (7-2-7, 28 points) on its way to another victory in front of 19,505 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

“I took the ball, I thought I should have shot the first penalty as well,” Joveljic said.

The successful penalty was the ninth goal of the season for Joveljic. In 2022, he scored 11 goals in MLS competition and 12 for the season.

The win increases the Galaxy’s current unbeaten streak to six games (2-0-4) and keeps the club unbeaten at home so far this season (4-0-3). The game was the second of the first set of back-to-back home games for the Galaxy this season. The club defeated the Houston Dynamo, 2-1, on Saturday night.

“We started to get out in the transition a little bit more,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said of the second half. “We had set piece opportunities, we had some chances … and I think in the second half, just adapting just a couple of things and us eventually getting on top of the game, led to them opening up a little bit more, us having some counter-attacking opportunities which is one of our greatest strengths is in the transition.”

The Galaxy played the final eight minutes of regulation and seven of stoppage time with a man advantage on Wednesday after Dallas defender Nkosi Tafari picked up his second yellow card. Halfway through stoppage time, Riqui Puig put the game on ice with a goal that sneaked over the line to make it 3-1.

“Dallas is a team that plays really good and I think the second half we went more direct and that was the key and we played really well,” Puig said.

Joveljic opened the scoring in the fourth minute, but the lead didn’t last long as Dallas scored the equalizer in the 22nd minute on a one-time blast from Patrickson Delgado. The play developed against the run of play and Delgado found himself with some room for quick finish.

The momentum appeared to swing back in the Galaxy’s direction in the 31st minute. Joveljic was fouled by Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes for a penalty kick. Gabriel Pec stepped up and his first attempt was saved, as was the rebound, but Joveljic was able to get the rebound and stuff it in for an apparent goal. However, the linesman raised the flag for offside.

As the Galaxy is proving, converting penalty kicks isn’t as easy as it sometimes appears. The club is now 2 for 5 from the spot this season.

Later in the first half, Maya Yoshida had a header off of a free kick that hit the post, and the teams headed into halftime deadlocked at 1-1.

As part of the crunch that is the MLS schedule the last couple of weeks, both teams played last weekend and will be back in action this Saturday. Dallas will remain in Los Angeles and visit LAFC, while the Galaxy travels to face the Chicago Fire. After Saturday, the Galaxy will get two weeks off, returning June 15, which should give Joseph Paintsil (hamstring) time to recover and return to the field.

“We’ve got off to six points at home (Saturday and Wednesday) in the first two games this week, which was our target,” Vanney said. “Now, quick turnaround. I’m sure we’ll have some adjustment to the group, some rotation, but guys who are going to get an opportunity are certainly going to motivated and play … the group’s target was nine points this week, so there’s a lot to play for.”

Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic takes a shot during their MLS match against FC Dallas on Wednesday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. Joveljic scored twice in the 3-1 victory. (Photo courtesy of L.A. Galaxy)

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