MLS: Galaxy look to remain strong at home in battle vs. NYCFC

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The Los Angeles Galaxy will strive for their fourth consecutive home victory Wednesday in Carson, Calif., when they host a New York City FC side that has been among the league’s best teams since mid-April.

The Galaxy (8-3-7, 31 points) earned a 4-2 win over visiting Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night despite playing without attacking talisman Riqui Puig (groin).

Gabriel Pec had a goal and two assists in the most productive night of his first MLS season. Dejan Joveljic scored his team-leading 10th goal and Joseph Paintsil scored what was the eventual winner.

“Riqui has special qualities to be able to change the tempo of the game like nobody else in our league,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “So we have to manufacture that through good positional play, speed of ball movement, things like that.”

NYCFC (9-6-2, 29 points) saw their five-match win streak halted in a 3-2 home defeat to the Columbus Crew after playing more than half the match down a man following Mitja Ilenic’s ejection.

New York City actually took the lead after their numbers were reduced, and Santiago Rodriguez’s seventh goal of the season closed the deficit to a single goal late.

Thirty-seven-year-old attacking midfielder Maxi Moralez assisted Rodriguez’s goal while playing more than a half-hour for the first time this season in his second appearance since suffering a torn ACL last September.

Having Moralez as yet another option could prove vital for coach Nick Cushing, whose team is proving to be an Eastern Conference contender after winning eight of its last 10 matches.

“We can see Maxi’s quality. We can see his level of impact. We can see his experience. We can see his influence on the team,” Cushing said. “But let’s not rush it because putting Maxi into the games at the right time and being patient with this period post-injury is the most important part.”

NYCFC will be without Ilenic as he serves his red-card suspension. But defender Tayvon Gray should be available after he was left out of Jamaica’s final Copa America squad.

The Galaxy have mostly escaped any call-ups for either Euro 2024 or the upcoming Copa America.

–Field Level Media

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