Joveljic, Pérez lead Galaxy past Chivas 2-0 at SoFi Stadium

Sports

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Dejan Joveljic and Jonathan Pérez each scored, and the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Chivas de Guadalajara 2-0 in a friendly on Wednesday night.

It was the first soccer match played at SoFi Stadium, which will host World Cup matches in 2026, and served as a prelude to the Leagues Cup competition between MLS and Liga MX clubs beginning next summer.

Domestic play will be halted for one month while all MLS and Liga MX teams participate in the tournament. The winner will receive an automatic berth in the round of 16 of CONCACAF Champions League.

“I think now that the leagues, I think they’re closing and getting much closer, and I think there’s a lot of respect between the two leagues and the clubs now that exists in both leagues, and therefore I see the competition being taken serious,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “I do think the league, this league starting up next year is good timing.”

Joveljic, a Serbian national team player, stuck out his left foot to redirect a corner kick by Efrain Alvarez into the top netting in the 28th minute. With sideline space at a premium because of field-level suites, Alvarez had no choice but to put in an in-swinging ball, and Joveljic got to the near post ahead of two Chivas defenders to put the Galaxy ahead.

“Today, it worked because it was an amazing cross,” Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernández said. “You can see it, (Joveljic) just touch it. He didn’t even like kick it, he just touched it.”

Perez made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute with a well-struck shot from outside the penalty box that beat Raúl Rangel to the lunging goalkeeper’s left.

“Jonny obviously steals the show with a great goal. The kid’s a special player,” Vanney said.

Hernández, who was born in Guadalajara and started his career at Chivas, nearly put the Galaxy ahead in the opening seconds. He intercepted a poor back pass by Antonio Briseño after 15 seconds but could not get a shot away before Rangel made a desperation slide tackle.

Chivas had its own chances to score early on, the most dangerous forcing Jonathan Klinsmann to make consecutive reaction saves to deny Miguel Ponce from close range in the 25th minute.

LAFC and Club América were to play in the nightcap of the doubleheader.

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