Diego Fagundez playing an important role for the Galaxy

Diego Fagundez’s role changed when the Galaxy brought in Gabriel Pec and Joseph Paintsil this season

Fagundez, who was acquired in a trade with Austin FC last season, went from starter to reserve role and now back to starter, helping the Galaxy survive the current midfield injury situation.

“I’m just taking my turn right now being on the field and doing everything I can to help out the team defensively, attacking, whatever it takes,” Fagundez said.

Fagundez has started four of last five games. The Galaxy have won all four of those games. In his last 10 starts, the Galaxy are unbeaten (5-0-5).

“We know how good Riqui (Puig) is,” Fagundez said. “At the end of the day, he’s a big part of this team. He can make us play well and I think that’s important. So when he’s not here, I think we need to step up.”

Earlier this season, Fagundez became the 10th player in MLS history to reach the 70-goal, 70-assist club. He’s in the 14th year of professional career.

“When I got here last year, I think there were a lot of injuries and this year, from the first day, we said, ‘Hey, we need to make sure that we get points early,’” Fagundez said. “We need to make sure that we are winning games and scoring goals when we have our chances and everybody is buying into it.

“Doesn’t matter who is on the field. Everybody is doing what they are supposed to, and when we have chances to score goals and punish a team, we do that. I think any of the attacking players can score goals at this point and they can assist. It’s nice to see and I think if we keep working on what we’re doing and everybody sticks to the game plan, we can win more games.”

Galaxy visiting Real Salt Lake

The Galaxy moved to 34 points with Wednesday’s win over New York City FC. They’re currently tied with LAFC for second in the Western Conference, behind only Saturday’s opponent, Real Salt Lake. The first meeting ended in a 2-2 draw May 11 as the Galaxy rallied from a 2-0 deficit. RSL is currently on a 15-game unbeaten streak.

The Galaxy remained unbeaten at home with wins over Sporting Kansas City and New York City FC.

“I think it (Wednesday’s win) gives the group a lot of confidence,” Vanney said. “The last two games I think gives the group a lot of confidence and understanding that if we do our responsibilities and we stick to the things we are trying to do, we can be a lot more efficient and cleaner as we talk about the defensive side.

“Because our upside is really going to be dependent on how well we can defend over the course of games and over the course of the second half of the season. When I say upside, I mean championship upside, not just winning games and getting to the playoffs. But capacity to win trophies is going to be on our collective ability to defend well.”

Puig, Perez updates

Puig (groin) and Jonathan Perez (hamstring) missed Wednesday’s game against New York City FC and will likely be out again Saturday.

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“He’s back on the field, very questionable,” Vanney said of Puig. “We’re trying to progress Riqui along, but it’s a Catch-22, just to make sure that he goes through enough protocols that he’s not vulnerable when we throw him out there.”

Perez will be sidelined a bit longer.

“He has a mild grade 1 (hamstring strain) and it will probably be two weeks or three weeks before we get him back out,” Vanney said.


When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: America First Field, Sandy, Utah

TV/radio: Apple TV (free)/1330 AM (Spanish)

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