Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy – Match Preview
Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS.
When: Saturday, October 6, 7:30 p.m. CT.
How to watch: FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.
By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
The lion is coming to Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City will host the LA Galaxy at Children’s Mercy Park as they look to clinch a playoff spot and reclaim first place (even for a brief moment) on Saturday.
The last time these two clubs met was when Sporting KC defeated the Galaxy in a 2-0 victory when they visited the StubHub Center in Carson on Sunday, April 8.
The LA Galaxy is coming in hot off of a two-straight shutout – having defeated the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps – and will look to dash Sporting KC’s playoffs hopes.
LA Galaxy are now 4-7-4 on the road and have been having a turbulent campaign this season. Now with a new interim coach, the Galaxy are just two points away from knocking Real Salt Lake below the line.
I interviewed my fellow colleague, Michelle Huitink to get the insight:
By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink
Araceli Villanueva: LA Galaxy is coming off a two-straight shutout streak and seems to be performing well after Sigi’s departure. But is Dominic Kinnear the answer?
Michelle Huitink: I think having Michael Ciani and Jorgen Skjelvik on the bench is part of the reason the Galaxy are doing well.
Those decisions were made by [Dom] Kinnear, so in that sense, it’s working. He’s been going with basic formations. But, something definitely has been figured out, also among the players. Defensively they’ve really tightened up and are playing confidently. The touches on the ball are much better, they connect more, and are making fewer defensive mistakes. Plus, the absence of Sigi [Schmid] is the reason they are doing better.
That said, I don’t want him to be a permanent coach. He’s been on the coaching staff, so I don’t see him having any secrets. Even when “weaker” links get subbed in, the Galaxy is still able to hang on. I honestly need to see more games to say for sure; the road games will be a good test. So, I can’t really say it’s because he took over.
AV: The Western Conference has been tight this season and with the Galaxy just barely holding on, do you think the team will change anything (formation, roster, etc.) when they visit KC?
MH: Rolf Feltscher is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Though, I wouldn’t want Ema Boateng to start. [Boateng] has been playing well, too, but he’s a little short in height. His speed and that he gets between defenders are what makes him great, but we need those fresh legs in the second half – that’s when results from him really stand out. Romney and Steres seem like a good combo. Cole‘s experience shows. Additionally, Jonathan Dos Santos is a good connection between midfield and the defense – thanks to Kinnear.
I think we’ll see the same lineup. I would hope they wouldn’t change what they don’t have to if it’s working. Plus, if they keep the same formation and lineup, it can be a better sample for comparing the last two matches to road games. Gio Dos Santos seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth – minus seeing him at the season ticket holder player signing event. And since the playoffs are hanging in the balance, there’s no reason Zlatan Ibrahimovic would miss this game.
AV: Ibrahimovic is red hot right now. However, over the summer he fueled rumors about him potentially returning to Europe after the season ends – what is the latest update?
MH: At the season ticket member event on September 30th at Alpine Village Restaurant, he said he might return next season. The fans started chanting “one more year!” He’s shut down rumors about returning to Malmo despite offers.
In my personal opinion, he’s said his focus is on the Galaxy and he turned down a lot of other offers (and money) to come here. Some would say to stay here, he would want a raise since our backline is paid more.
Featured image: @sportingkc Instagram
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