LA Galaxy beat Nashville in MLS Cup playoffs, to face LAFC in West semifinals

ByReuters ESPN logo
Saturday, October 15, 2022

Defender Julian Araujo scored a goal in the 60th minute to lift the host LA Galaxy to a 1-0 victory over Nashville SC on Saturday in a Western Conference Round One meeting at Carson, Calif.

Samuel Grandsir and Douglas Costa each notched an assist to propel the fourth-seeded Galaxy into the conference semifinals for the first time since 2019. They will visit top-seeded LAFC on Thursday.

Jonathan Bond finished with five saves for the Galaxy, who improved to 4-0-3 in their last seven home matches and 6-1-5 in their last 12 overall contests.

Joe Willis made three saves for fifth-seeded Nashville SC, who played without their head coach Gary Smith due to illness. First assistant coach Steve Guppy assumed the coaching duties in his absence.

Los Angeles opened the scoring 15 minutes into the second half after Grandsir's cross from along the backline was headed home by Araujo at the back post. Araujo did not score a goal in his 33 regular-season appearances in 2022 and has just one regular-season goal in four seasons.

The Galaxy appeared to first take the lead in the 50th minute.

Los Angeles won a 50/50 ball and on a rush toward goal, Riqui Puig laid the ball off to Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who unleashed a shot that sailed into the top of the net. The goal was waved off after a lengthy VAR process, however, with referee Armando Villarreal pointing to a foul from the Galaxy on Nashville star Hany Mukhtar.

Los Angeles' best chance to open the scoring in the first half came in the 16th minute after Hernandez settled a cross by Araujo and split Nashville SC defenders Dave Romney and Walker Zimmerman. Hernandez's ensuing shot sailed wide of the net.

Zimmerman's late challenge from behind on Hernandez resulted in a yellow card in the 20th minute.

Mukhtar accepted a through ball from Randall Leal and sent a shot from the right side that was denied by Bond. Mukhtar was the 2022 Golden Boot recipient after scoring an MLS-high 23 goals during the regular season.

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