Dejan Joveljic scored his ninth goal of the 2022 MLS season on Sunday to seal the LA Galaxy's 2-0 win over Atlanta United.
The Serbian striker is now just four behind Valentin Castellanos and Sebastian Driussi at the top of the Golden Boot race. But while the Argentine duo have clocked up 1,463 and 1,899 minutes, respectively, Joveljic has managed his total in just 628 minutes.
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14 of his 19 MLS appearances this season have come from the bench and yet, Joveljic stands two clear of Chicharito as the Galaxy's top scorer. His recent form has been particularly impressive, notching eight goals and two assists in his last eight games.
Surely, Joveljic should be a nailed-on starter now?
“I mean of course," Joveljic said after Sunday's win. "If you ask me if I am happy when I'm on the bench, of course I'm not. Every player wants to play 90 minutes. I mean, I am a professional. If I get five, 10, 90 minutes, my job is to do the best that I can in that moment. So, I will continue like that.”
If there's one positive to Joveljic still only seeing limited minutes on the field, it's that he remains fresh to be a big difference-maker just when the Galaxy need him most.
"I mean, nothing special. Most of the time I play in the last 15 minutes, so..." Joveljic joked when asked how he stays fresh and in form.
All personal aspirations aside, though, Joveljic is looking out for what is best for the team. If his role is to come on and score the most important goals at crucial moments, he'll not only accept that, but also credit his teammates for giving him the chance.
"I can say that I have confidence. But that is because the team played good," said Joveljic. "The team is playing good. Last three games we did not do so well. But finally, we bounce back and are [back to winning ways]. I'm so glad that we won today in front of our amazing fans.”
Sunday's win leaves the Galaxy seventh in the West and above the Playoff line with a trip to FC Dallas coming up next weekend.