Nashville vs LA Galaxy: Preview and Prediction

Sunday afternoon at GEODIS Park will see Nashville SC host the LA Galaxy, looking to secure their first victory of the 2024 MLS campaign.

It’s been a pretty bland start to the season for Gary Smith’s Nashville SC, as they began their MLS season with two draws against the New York Red Bulls and the Colorado Rapids ahead of the visit of LA Galaxy.

Having beaten Dominican Republic side Moca FC 7-0 on aggregate in the first round, the Coyotes were in the CONCACAF Champions Cup Round of 16 action against Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami on Thursday night.

The hosts found themselves on the end of a Inter Miami comeback, one led by Messi and Luis Suarez. Nashville were up 2-0 heading into the second half, but the Herons rallied from behind to draw 2-2 in front of a sellout crowd at GEODIS Park.

The two-leg series, which will be decided on aggregate, concludes next Wednesday. But before that, Nashville will search for their first league victory of the season at the weekend. LA Galaxy, meanwhile, managed to block out the noise and have started the 2024 campaign with a couple of impressive performances.

After failing to put Inter Miami away in their 1-1 draw on the opening day of the regular season, the Galaxy showed their ruthlessness in San Jose, netting three goals in 48 minutes to win 3-1. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Nashville SC

Nashville were without the services of striker Sam Surridge due to a sore left shoulder, while former MLS Golden Boot winner Hany Mukhtar was out with a left hip injury. Randall Leal also has a hip issue and is expected to return to the mix later this month.

Tyler Boyd was questionable before their match in Commerce City last week with pain in his foot, but played 60 minutes alongside Ted Bunbury to get things rolling up front, and Randall Leal did not feature because of a right hip injury.

Mukhtar was back in the starting XI in midweek and could retain his spot up top, meaning Boyd could drop out here. Attacking midfielder Jacob Shaffelburg bagged a well-taken brace against Inter Miami, and will look to maintain his red-hot scoring form.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Willis; MacNaughton, Zimmerman, Maher, Lovitz; Moore, Davis, Godoy, Shaffelburg; Mukhtar, Bunbury

LA Galaxy

The visitors will be missing Jalen Neal once again this weekend as he is dealing with an abdominal injury. Much has been said about what the LA Galaxy could look like after a winter window that saw about half of the 2023 roster leave and be replaced with new acquisitions.

But things seem to be clicking this time for Greg Vanney & co. After being hamstrung by injury and inexperience last year, LA Galaxy’s backline has matured significantly. Young speedsters Raheem Edwards and Lucas Calegari have made way for more experienced players John Nelson and Miki Yamane.

Yamane has quickly become a fan- favourite for his ball-playing ability and game intelligence. Veteran defenders Maya Yoshida and Martin Caceres have also impressed beyond the expectations of many supporters and have looked rock-solid as ever at the heart of the back four.

In the midfield, Mark Delgado has begun the season in a rich vein of form, with two assists already to his name. Dejan Joveljic has scored in both of their regular season games so far, including the game-winner against San Jose, with Joseph Paintsil and Riqui Puig also getting on the scoresheet.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): McCarthy; Yamane, Yoshida, Caceres, Aude; Delgado, Cerrillo, Puig; Paintsil, Joveljic, Perez

Key Stats

  • The last three head-to-heads between these two sides have resulted in two victories for the LA Galaxy and one draw.
  • Nashville have not won a single MLS game so far this season.
  • Nashville only managed to score in one of the three matches against the LA Galaxy.
  • Nashville have seen under 2.5 goals in their last three matches against the LA Galaxy in all competitions.
  • The Galaxy are just one win away from matching their total number of wins on the road during the 2023 domestic campaign.

Player to Watch

Hany Mukhtar

Embed from Getty Images

Nashville recently announced the contract extension of 2022 MLS MVP Hany Mukhtar. The German midfielder is the team’s all-time leader in goals, and assists, a two-time MLS All-Star, and a three-time MLS Best XI selection. So, to retain his services will serve as a huge boost for the hosts.

In total, he has scored 58 goals and 38 assists in 113 regular-season matches for Nashville since signing as a designated player from Danish club Brondby IF in November 2019. The extension will keep Mukhtar in Music City through 2026, with an option for 2027.


Nashville SC 1-2 LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy are playing decent football when it comes to their performances on the road and are showing attacking potency early into the new campaign, and we predict they will carry the momentum against a Nashville team that are one of the best defensive sides in the MLS but lack a creator-in-chief moving forward.

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