LA Galaxy coach Greg Vanney is expecting to come up against a ‘stingy’ Nashville SC side on Saturday.

Nashville have never played against the Galaxy since they became an MLS team last year, though end an eight-match road streak against the team from southern California this weekend.

Both sides come into this contest on identical runs of form over their last five games – two defeats, two wins followed by a draw last time out.

And though his side have not yet come up against the team from Tennessee, Vanney believes he knows what to expect.

“They’re a really stingy group,” Vanney stated. “They have a foundation of hard work and they defend together. They don’t give up much.

“As a team, it is important for us to take these games the right way. It’s just trying to manage all those different factors.

“I think, by and large, they’re really organized and everybody understands their role and they fulfil their roles for 90 minutes. That becomes a hard team to beat no matter what.

“They make it tough in front of the goal, so the key is to try to move those guys, clear some of those spaces, try to open up some opportunities to finish.”

Vanney’s sentiment was echoed by Galaxy defender Julian Araujo, who said: “We know we have important game, against a team we haven’t met before,” Araujo said. “We’re excited. We know they’re going to come out strong and we have to prepare and we had to change our mindset to another team.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Raheem Edwards

The Galaxy star has kept himself busy at both ends of the pitch so far this season. He has committed 18 fouls so far, which puts him second on the MLS stats list – but has also conversely provided five assists, the joint-leader in the league.

Nashville – Harry Mukhtar

The Nashville man is proving to be a goalkeeper’s worst nightmare so far this season. Though he has only posted two goals overall, his tally of on-target shots – 12 – is joint-best across MLS, alongside Galaxy’s Javier Hernandez.

KEY OPTA FACTS

Nashville’s only previous match in California was a 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday.

The Galaxy have won two of their three home matches this season (L1) after finishing 2021 with just one win in eight at Dignity Health Sports Park (D5 L2). The Galaxy haven’t won consecutive home matches since a run of three straight in July-August last season.

This is Nashville’s eight straight away match to start the season before opening their new stadium on May 1. Since the start of last August, 22 of Nashville’s 29 MLS matches, including this one, have been on the road (including playoffs).

Hernandez, who was held scoreless against Chicago on Saturday, has not gone consecutive MLS starts without scoring since a run of three straight in May-June last season. That run is the only time since the start of last season that Hernandez failed to score in consecutive starts (27 starts).

Hany Mukhtar scored twice in Nashville’s draw with San Jose on Saturday, his ninth 10th game, including playoffs, with multiple goal contributions since the start of the 2021 season, more than any other player in MLS in that time.