Tag Archives: Guillermo Barros Schelotto

LA Galaxy 2-0 Win Over SKC First Since 2007

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Dave Romney, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik; Sebastian Lletget (Chris Pontius 88’), Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos; Favio Alvarez (Joe Corona 72’); Zlatan Ibrahimović ©, Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 90’+1’).

A day after a major tornado skirted the stadium, Sporting Kansas City hosted your Los Angeles Galaxy.

LAG was diverted to St. Louis en route to Kansas City due to thunderstorms and a major tornado that had dropped debris at the international airport. The players didn’t use the unusual travel conditions as an excuse. They ended up with a 2-0 win, breaking a 12 year streak of not winning when away at SKC.  The game didn’t initially look to be going that way though.

Last look at the scoreboard . Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Both teams came out wearing Pride shirts, then LA Galaxy kicked off in night navy. Back in the line-up were Perry Kitchen, Dave Romney, and Jorgen Skjelvik. Zlatan Ibrahimovic also returned after serving a 2- game suspension. Corona took the bench, but offensive sparks included Pontius, Emil Cuello, and Ema Boateng.

Sunset at halftime at Children’s Mercy Park. It was a personal goal to check visiting this stadium off my list. It was a treat to be able to travel here. The fans really create a passionate atmosphere all their own. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

The first half started slow; both teams looked evenly matched. The Galaxy seemed to lack confidence and were unable to connect to finish goals. Sporting gave their opponents a run for their money.

In the 25th minute, Romney nearly headed in a goal off a 4th corner kick from Lletget, but it was stopped by Melia and cleared by SKC’s defense.

In the 37th minute, Zlatan took on three defenders to get the ball to Antuna, who just couldn’t get on it to score.

The stats read in favor of Sporting KC.

The second half started with Russell threatening the Galaxy. There were corner kicks aplenty, but by the 53rd minute the match was still level.

Finally, Favio Alvarez broke through in the 56th minute with a header, making his first goal with the LA Galaxy.  

The G’s were not satisfied with only being up one goal. The strategy was to wear out SKC and it worked. In the 69th minute,  Ibrahimovic went one on one against Melia who denied him and kept the lion hungry.

Zlatan finally got his goal in the 86th minute.

Besides #9, Kitchen was essential to getting the numbers on the scoreboard. With Rolf Feltscher and Diego Polenta out on injuries and Araujo called up to the US U-20’s World Cup in Poland, Kitchen was back playing defensive midfield and seemed to be everywhere, actually creating chances and defending. 

Bingham came up with big saves again to keep the clean sheet. He had help from Steres In the 16th minute, who made a last-second block on a shot from Rowe.

Overall, the Galaxy looked good and got their second away win in a row.

I had the opportunity to interview a few of the players and head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto post-match.

Zlatan, on his chemistry with Alvarez and Antuna: “It was good. We played with two strikers in the first half and we created good chances. I think we should have scored one or two goals. In the second half we changed the system again and it helped because we could close the spaces more because Kansas plays good football. They have a good system. You need to have patience against them and then punish them when you steal the ball or they make a mistake.”

It seems the Galaxy are really getting ahold of the formation and utilizing individual talents to connect as a team.

They just had four losses a couple of games ago and while no one really wants to look back, the Galaxy are seen as champions and leaders of the league, so when they’re not performing as such and still have the shadow of the 2017-2018 seasons hanging over them, I really wanted to know how the Galaxy dealt with criticism to make it proactive for them as a team and individually.

Skjelvik on how he handles criticism: “There’s always going to be people criticizing you and criticizing the team, as well. We had a bad stretch where we lost a lot of games. Of course, people have opinions. That’s good – it shows that people care about the team. We just use that as motivation for the next games. Now we’ve turned things around so that’s good.”

Lletget on criticism from fans: “I think we have some guys, including myself, that have really sort of experienced it. You get criticized as a team, especially with the four losses in a row. A club of this stature is obviously not used to that and the fans are not used to that. It’s something that I think we managed well. We got together. We didn’t crumble. More than anything, we should be proud of ourselves from that standpoint. We move on now and I think we’ve turned the table.”

Zlatan gave a classic response on how he deals with criticism: “Criticism is everywhere. I like it. I eat it for breakfast… and then for lunch.”

This game is psychological and I want to see the team in top form all around. It’s good to see their passion for the game fueled. This win moves the Galaxy up to second place in the Western Conference for now. It definitely helped boost their confidence for the next match, which is at home and will be the Galaxy’s turn to host Pride Night against the New England Revolution.

Schelotto: “We will keep working and trying to get better every day and to get another three points on Sunday in LA.”

Featured image: Perry Kitchen on Instagram @perrykitchen23

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LA Galaxy Still a Work In Progress a Quarter into the 2019 MLS Season

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

As an educator, we are trained to give feedback, so applying that to the Los Angeles Galaxy progress so far, I have to say it’s “difficult to assess.”

The same problems still plague the team. They concede goals after allowing teams to slip by the usual holes in the defense.

As if losing at home 2-0 to NYCFC wasn’t already a stab wound, they lost again at home 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids, the worst team in the league.

Gameday Program May 11th against NYCFC

But, the Galaxy’s problems til now had been covered up by wins.

All 4 of these losses were winnable games. The first 2 were away against New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew respectfully; teams that weren’t particularly challenging, but it was like the Galaxy struggled with itself.  The fortress is breached once again and fans are more frustrated than the players. Still, hold off on pressing that panic switch.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not the reason LA didn’t win. It’s true that he’s overly relied on and he delivers goals, but we’ve seen this team be able to pull it off without him. And they did against Orlando City SC on May 24th.

The Lion was out on suspension for 2 matches, his frustrations and poor sportsmanship getting the better of him when he grabbed NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson by the neck on May 11th. Fans really thought the team would be given a chance to step up their game. Instead, we saw the same strategy of poor crossing and ineffectiveness to finish goals against Colorado.

LA Galaxy building momentum in the first half against Colorado Rapids on May 19th

For some, it’s easier to focus on what went wrong, especially as the problems don’t get rectified and cost games. There’s lack of communication and creativity in the team’s play. They often look lost with what to do with the ball. Others are ready to leave these games in the past and move on to the next one.  

The Galaxy finally broke its losing streak with the win against Orlando FC. But, it’s hard to tell how well the team actually did since Orlando is not a very good team.

LA Galaxy’s roster looks pretty good and is packed with talent. Restructuring takes getting used to, especially with the backline which has seen the most changes. The team needs time to stabilize. It appears Guillermo Barros Schelotto is thinking long term with the depth he’s building, especially for ability to rotate the squad.  The head coach has to be held accountable when the team’s formation isn’t conducive to attacking or when offensive play is predictable and without tactical direction.

We are a quarter of the way through the 2019 MLS season so, while they are figuring it out, the team needs patience and support from fans.

There are players besides Zlatan that are key to the Galaxy finding further success.

The blue, white, and yellow was able to hang on 1-0 this last match thanks to Gonzalez, Jonathan Dos Santos, and Bingham.

When J. Dos Santos was out on precautionary injury against NYCFC, he was sorely missed on the field and it was clear that he had been the one carrying the team. Zlatan was present, but he’s not a playmaker. It seemed without Jona, no one could create chances.

Against Orlando, Jona scored with a rocket shot. It was refreshing to see the Galaxy play with urgency, but tackles were just too hard and careless. JDS gave up a penalty which, luckily, David Bingham managed to save.

Jonathan Dos Santos scores a banger against Orlando City SC

David Bingham came up big with saves that night in Orlando City and as he has for most of the 2019 season.

Giancarlo Gonzalez has been phenomenal. He’s gotten three starts in a row and wins contested balls. Check out this flip save against Colorado that shows his ability to emergency-defend:

He paired with Daniel Steres, who is fighting to keep his spot in the backline, and their defending against Orlando was unwavering.

Favio Alvarez provided a boost by getting into good spots and brought some dangerous looks to the team.

Joe Corona and Uriel Antuna really hustle on the pitch. Efrain Alvarez is a game changer and makes all the difference as soon as he steps onto the pitch, creating chances and taking shots himself. Chris Pontius is a spark on the bench and has just been unlucky not to score, instead ricocheting off the post against Orlando.

Diedie Traore is promising. Julian Araujo, Rolf Feltscher, and Diego Polenta all put in the work.

Emil Cuello is still a rookie, so the only way for him to learn is to give him minutes. Ema Boateng really shouldn’t be in the starting line up or be crossed to, but he makes the effort. Sebastian Lletget just hasn’t been playing well and often passes when he should be taking shots.

LA Galaxy play away in Kansas City this Wednesday, May 29th. Sporting, despite being plagued by injuries, is coming off a win against second place Seattle Sounders. The G’s are going to have Zlatan back, but it’s going to take more than that to beat SKC.

The next match at home at Dignity Health Sports Park is before the international break on June 2nd against New England Revolution. The Revs have a new coach: Bruce Arena.

We’ve got quite the challenge ahead, including many Galaxy players who will be busy with international duty, so every available man on this roster is going to have to really step it up.

Featured image: LA Galaxy on Twitter

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Zlatan ibrahimovic leads LA Galaxy to 2-0 victory against Philadelphia Union

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher (Julian Araujo 65’), Diego Polenta, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik; Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Joe Corona; Romain Alessandrini (Juninho 90’), Zlatan Ibrahimović, Uriel Antuna (Ema Boateng 75’).

April 13th was just another Saturday night in Carson. Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 2-0 victory against Philadelphia Union in front of 24,053 fans.

Dignity Health Sports Park. LA Galaxy vs Philadelphia Union. Photo Credit Michelle Huitink

The whole team played really well and dominated the first half. They moved the ball forward, created chances, and got corners early on. By the 20th minute, it was a wonder LAG didn’t score yet.  The Union did their job to smother the Galaxy. But, they kept up good momentum and build up that led to Zlatan scoring in the 27th minute.

The G’s maintained good passing in the 31st minute. Then, a minute later, Ibrahimovic was undercut in the box.  He was prepared to take the penalty when the refs decided to go to VAR.

The Galaxy were awarded the penalty and Zlatan converted it to make the score 2-0 in the 34’. That was the Lion’s sixth of the season.

After halftime, LA was a letdown. The midfield didn’t have the same intensity or drive. The team even had an advantage playing up a man when Philly’s Austin Trusty earned a second yellow.  In the final result, they kept a clean sheet despite their lackluster effort.

Rolf Feltscher had to be subbed out for an injury, so Julian Araujo got minutes. Emmanuel Boateng came on for Uriel Antuna. And finally Juninho was back on the pitch, replacing Alessandrini.

The midfield this season has been on fire, though there are still weak links and kinks to be worked out, but it’s only the sixth game of 2019. This team is once again fun to watch thanks to head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who wanted to make the stadium a fortress again. Check out the stats: TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 10; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 2.

Game Over. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

The LA Galaxy is unbeaten at home so far, is on a four-game winning streak, and is third in the Western Conference.

The next match is another home game at Dignity Health Sports Park against a flaring Houston Dynamo, Friday, April 19.

Featured image: @lagalaxy on instagram

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LA Galaxy Put on a show to win 2-1 against portland timbers

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Diego Polenta, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik; Romain Alessandrini (Chris Pontius 74’), Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Joe Corona, Uriel Antuna (Ema Boateng 77’); Zlatan Ibrahimović

This was a different team that showed up on this ZLAtanversary. One year ago on March 31, The Galaxy came back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat LAFC in the first installment of El Tráfico. Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his debut, scoring both the equalizer and winning goal.

Start of the match. Photo credit : Ana Rivas

The Lion scored two goals this night as well—this time against a struggling Portland team, who showed up with something to prove, since they were finalists for the 2018 MLS Cup. This match, they did themselves in by tripping Zlatan on two different occasions in the box, resulting in penalties that, of course, Zlatan converted. The Timbers did score a goal in the first half and had chances late near the end of the match.

So far this season, The Galaxy are playing better as a team. Still, the defense needs improvement. Jonathan Dos Santos was often playing defense. Rolf Feltscher was virtually non-existent. Diego Polenta is running out of excuses. Why leave Dave Romney on the bench when you could use him in Daniel Steres’ place?

The midfield worked well with JDS, Sebastian Lletget, and Joe Corona. But, Portland did good to concede the wings and slow their attack, which is why crosses into the box didn’t work. That said, Portland’s top players Valeri and Blanco were silenced. The Galaxy didn’t allow dangerous possession. Their only mistake was allowing one goal in the 44’, which I blame on Bingham for not staying in net and letting the defense do their job. He trusts them more now than when Mike Ciani played. One fan observed that Skjelvik pulled Polenta out of position by not staying wide. Bingham should’ve manned his post,

I wanted the Galaxy to do more to score on their own. They certainly had chances, but couldn’t finish in front of net, the balls going over the net, and the only shots on target being the penalties, because Portland didn’t allow otherwise.  

LA Galaxy Applaud fans After 2-1 Victory over Portland Timbers. Photo credit Michelle Huitink

It didn’t help that the strategy seemed to be to service the ball to Zlatan. Again. When last match they seemed to figure out how to slide Antuna into that spot. They showed they can do 20 or more passes and techniques to play it on the ground. Ibrahimovic needs to be freed up more and the rest of the team needs to be a scoring threat. Hopefully they, and head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, will figure it out soon.

Schelotto is doing great with what he has, but he needs a striker who can get Zlatan to grind it out or start in his place when necessary. The Galaxy are in the process of trying to get allocation money so that Giancarlo Gonzalez can join. Maybe with a good center back, Polenta can play better.

LAG had a good offensive start. Jørgen Skjelvik held the ball too long though.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a shot that hit off the bottom of the post in the 14’.  

Ibrahimovic wanted to and almost scored a hat trick near the end of the match, but blamed a bad pass also from #16 for not being able to score.

Always the Greatest Showman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo Credit LA Galaxy Twitter

He played over 90 minutes. It’s incredible to bounce back from an Achilles injury, especially at 37 years old, but this also could’ve ended his season; which makes one wonder why he should play the full time. There’s a short turn around before the next match on turf in Vancouver, which “G9D” has said he’s got no problem playing on now. So maybe he comes off the bench and plays 65 minutes with Chris Pontius coming in.

We’ll see how our Los Angeles Galaxy take on the next challenge this coming Saturday, April 5, play the Whitecaps at 7PM PST.

Featured image: @lagalaxy on instagram

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Galaxy Fall Short in Final Preseason Tune-Up​

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Diego Polenta, Jorgen Skjelvik; Romain Alessandrini, Servando Carrasco, Emil Cuello, Uriel Antuna; Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

Missing four players for their last preseason game, the L.A.Galaxy was unable to keep up with the Colorado Rapids, losing the match 3-1. During the first half of the game, the Rapids had possession of the ball the majority of the time while the Galaxy just couldn’t seem to move the ball forward enough to look dangerous in the final third.

In the 13th minute, goalkeeper David Bingham took a ball to the face from Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta. Bingham was down for a few minutes while the concussion protocol was initiated by medical staff. He was able to leave the field of his own volition leaving Matt Lampson to defend the goal for the remainder of the game.

With Jonathan dos Santos out as a precaution, Sebastian Lletget out with a right hamstring injury, Perry Kitchen recovering from a right ankle injury and Juninho dealing with a knee injury, the Galaxy was spread thin leaving the midfield duties to Servando Carrasco and Emil Cuello, who just couldn’t keep up with Colorado’s constant press. Giovani dos Santos is still out with an unceasing muscle injury.

The Galaxy was unable to fend off the much improved Rapids offense, allowing them 20 shots at the goal throughout the game in comparison to the Galaxy’s 10. In the 42nd minute, Dillion Serna delivered a cross that striker Kei Kamara headed in for the first goal of the game. Diego Rubio scored the Rapids’ second with a lofted ball past Lampson in the 69th minute.

Uriel Antuna, on loan from Manchester City, showed up once again with speed and impressive footwork serving up a cross that Zlatan headed into the net in the 77th minute for the Galaxy’s first goal.

The Galaxy defense just couldn’t hold off the Rapids and Daniel Steres gave the ball away to Diego Rubio in the 85thminute resulting in a third goal. The final score was 3-1.

Watching this game felt reminiscent of last season and the Galaxy’s struggle to effectively defend the goal. One thing that is different this year is it was reported that head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto required some gym time from the players after the game.

The L.A. Galaxy 2019 season opener is a home game this Saturday, March 2, at 5pm against the Chicago Fire.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

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Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s introductory press conference in LA

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

The press conference for Guillermo Barros Schelotto began with kind words about late former head coach Sigi Schmid. The impact he had on soccer in the United States was prevalent, especially after his passing, as many in the industry shared stories about him.

LA Galaxy president, Chris Klein, mentioned how Schmid influenced the sport and the club. Schelotto then added how important Schmid was to him and thanked him for also bringing him to play for the Columbus Crew.  

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Head coach Schelotto jersey debut. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

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Media scrum with Schelotto. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

The LA Galaxy have looked good on paper. Schelotto is no exception. He has many honors and championships with Argentina and in MLS despite being only 45 years old. His experience makes him worthy of the position as head coach.  

He’s dealt with much higher profile players and teams and he’s developed younger players, as well. As a player with the Columbus Crew, the team won the MLS Cup in 2008. The Boca Juniors final was wild. It had been postponed due to a bus attack by fans. That aside, it was Boca’s decision to let him go according to GBS.

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General Manager Dennis te Kloese. Photo credit: LA is Our House.

The focus is on moving forward, having patience, and doing the work needed to start winning. I was able to ask general manager Dennis te Kloese a couple of questions:

MH: Come opening day, what first impression can fans expect?

DTK: There’s a lot of things that will take a little bit of time. There are [some things] on the roster that need to be figured out, as we saw, and I don’t want to be judgemental because I don’t want to look back. I want to look forward, but there has been an imbalance defensively–with Guillermo coming in, with the experience that he has, in the coming weeks, with an intensive search for some players–that is one of the first priorities that we’re looking at because offensively the team showed a lot of promise last year and will show this year also.

MH: You mentioned wanting to have players ready for the opening of the season.  You believe you’ll have all the pieces that you need defensively by the start of the season before the summer window?

DTK: The construction of the roster in MLS with the rules that are given, that takes a little bit of time. We’ll never put any excuses behind anything here. We’ll just work hard.  We already started, and we’ll do our very very best to be top-class from day one. But it could be that certain pieces could fit in over the summer or a little bit later.

It was only the 3rd of January, but I felt management should already be talking to players for their positions on the roster and also figuring out who they want to have leadership on the pitch. No one wants to look back at the 2018 season, so it’s best to look at this as a fresh start. That said, I go into the 2019 season with cautious optimism.

There are more questions than answers at this point, and the motto for this year seems to be “we’ll see.” I was looking for a sense of urgency in the management to get things together NOW.  Opportunities can present themselves as late as the summer window or after, but fans expect to see results come opening day. Of course, patience is key and options shouldn’t be limited, but this Los Angeles team has a reputation to uphold as kings of MLS and that reputation has been compromised.

There have been many rumors including overseas interest in the Lion and other players. It’s speculated that, due to finances and MLS regulations regarding designated players and international positions, some players will have to be moved. Juninho and Chris Pontius have been welcomed back, but the Galaxy’s midfield is crowded.  The back line is what needs significant improvement, yet they re-signed Servando Carrasco. Schelotto’s style is an offensive one but the Galaxy need to work on defense which he assured they would work on.

In terms of forwards, there doesn’t seem to be a spot for Ola Kamara with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is now confirmed to be staying with the club. Scoring goals wasn’t the Galaxy’s issue last season: it was allowing goals, which is a defensive issue. It’s speculated Kamara could also be traded for his spot. Romain Alessandrini is also a possible option. Gio Dos Santos would be a more favorable move. It hasn’t been announced who will captain the team either.

MLS has released the regular season schedule and it’s much shorter, which means it’s more important than ever for the team to build a roster with depth.

We’ll see soon enough.

Preseason kicks off in February with exhibition games and the Jersey Launch Party. LA Galaxy home games are at Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly known as StubHub Center).

The preseason schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, February 9–LA Galaxy vs Toronto FC at home
  • Saturday, February 16–LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC at OC Great Park
  • Sunday, February 17–Jersey Launch Party at The Novo
  • Saturday, February 23–LA Galaxy vs Colorado Rapids at home

The home opener is set for March 2nd against the Chicago Fire at 5pm PST.

Featured image of LA Galaxy management panel: Michelle Huitink

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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