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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The press conference for Guillermo Barros Schelotto began with kind words about late former head coachSigi 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.
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.
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.