Tag Archives: Michelle Huitink

7-2 Blowout Places LA Galaxy Within Playoff Standings

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

LA Galaxy lineup: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Diego Polenta, Dave Romney; Joe Corona, Jonathan dos Santos (Servando Carrasco 87’); Uriel Antuna (Efrain Alvarez 80’), Sebastian Lletget, Cristian Pavon (Chris Pontius 83’); Zlatan Ibrahimović ©.

September 15, 2019 was a big day at Dignity Health Sports Park.  Fans rolled in early around 2pm (7pm kick off) to enjoy Central American Night celebrations,  which included a DJ, cumbia band, pupusas, a photobooth, micheladas, Cachiporras, and more.  (See below for highlights of the festivities.)

At the tailgate, Academia de Futbol Juvenil Amatence (AFJA) was set up in both supporters’ groups, LA RiotSquad and Angel City Brigade, accepting both monetary donations, and new and gently used soccer equipment for kids in Central America. AFJA is a U.S. based non-profit that helps underserved communities in El Salvador, particularly by providing a fully funded youth soccer academy.

It was also Laker Night to celebrate another leading championship team in Los Angeles.  Fans could bid on exclusive co-branded jerseys. The LA Galaxy Foundation auctioned off jerseys with custom Lakers kit numbers.

LA Galaxy was finally playing at home again. After the International break and a loss in Colorado. 

Every game at this point is a must-win, especially with the West being such a tight race. Literally 2 points separate teams from second place and even 11th place isn’t yet mathematically eliminated.

Every Galaxy fan hoped the team would come out to play with passion, but no one could have guessed that LA Galaxy would hammer it the way they did.

Warm ups. Photo Credit Michelle Huitink

But, we fans of the blue, white, and gold are scarred from the previous season(s) and held our breath until we were up 5 goals.

LA Galaxy paced themselves to beat a Sporting Kansas City side that came out hot. SKC had their playoff chances snuffed out by a final score of 7-2. See highlights from the evening below including festivities and all seven goals:

Despite MLS referees’ decisions not being in the Galaxy’s favor, the home team broke through the opposition. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick, and with his 26th goal broke Carlos Ruiz’s 2002 club record for leading goal scorer in an MLS regular season. 

Joe Corona’s header was the second of the night and was his first goal with the club.

Uriel Antuna scored in the 69’ which made him the second top goal scorer, currently for the club with 4 goals.  

Sebastian Lletget got a brace, scoring back to back goals.  He’d been having a rough season and seemed to be in a bit of a slump, but this was just what was needed to regain his confidence. 

As I type this on Thursday September 19th, the majority of the games in the Western Conference have resulted in the Galaxy’s favor to keep them within playoff standings. It’s up to LA Galaxy to solidify their place on the table. The five-time championship franchise seems to be well on its way now. 

Final look at the pitch on September 15, 2019. Game over, but it’s not over for LA Galaxy.

There will have to be a starting line up change as Rolf Feltscher will be suspended for the next match due to yellow card accumulation. Corona and Romney found themselves back in the starting XI. It looks like this 2019 team finally has depth, too.

Key LA Galaxy pieces come together again at home, this time against Montreal Impact on Saturday, September 21st at 7:30pm PST. Watch on Spectrum SportsNet.  

Featured image: LA Galaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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LA Galaxy Rivalry Round-Up and Aftermath

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Friday, July 19: 3-2 win

Saturday, July 27: 4-0 loss

Rivalry week started rough and made LA Galaxy fans nervous to face Los Angeles Football Club after losing to San Jose Earthquakes at home on June 29th. But, that game was soon to be forgotten.

On July 19, LA Galaxy were down early after LAFC’s Carlos Vela scored a penalty. Then Blue, White, and Gold roared to life with a Zlatan hat trick. The team played with the passion and urgency that fans had called for. The energy at the stadium was loud and intense.  LA Galaxy ended up winning 3-2.

Critics say LA Galaxy shouldn’t rely on a single player, namely Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but that day all of the Galaxy players worked well together to feed the ball to Zlatan and create chances. Even the defense held it together despite Vela scoring a late goal (that should have been called offside and gone to VAR).

The game against LAFC proves that Zlatan works well when the team plays well together.

The same line-up from El Tráfico was used against Portland Timbers, but this time Perry Kitchen and Sebastian Lletget were back from injuries. Efrain Alvarez was also available on the bench. 

Lineups:

LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Diego Polenta, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Daniel Steres, Rolf Feltscher; Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 80’), Julian Araujo (Sebastian Lletget 56’), Jonathan dos Santos, Joe Corona, Favio Alvarez (Efrain Alvarez 69’); Zlatan Ibrahimovic ©.

Substitutions not used: Matt Lampson, Dave Romney, Perry Kitchen, Jorgen Skjelvik.

The Timbers punished the Galaxy for problems that have plagued them for most of this season (and the past two seasons if we’re being completely honest).

After defeating LAFC, fans hoped the Galaxy had made a turning point, but the match at Providence Park, this late in the season, brought to reality fans’ concerns. If Galaxy’s inconsistent play and dropping points continues this team won’t make the playoffs again this year. 

Fans are looking to head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto for answers and are holding him accountable. But, not much responsibility has really been taken and there aren’t any solid solutions in sight. 

Rumors that Cristian Pavón would join during transfer week and save the Galaxy have been dispelled. One man cannot and should not carry the team. We see that when they rely too much on Zlatan. The tactic of feeding the lion only worked against LAFC because the entire team came out with a fighting heart and spirit. 

But, again, they’re inconsistent. There are times when it looks like the defense doesn’t want to play. An attacking midfield would be highly essential to Galaxy living up to their potential and success. Jonathan Dos Santos did not play well on Saturday, but he is the strongest in the midfield. Though understandably frustrated, it’s no excuse and not a good look when the captain and co-captain don’t stay to talk to the media.  It begs the question: Who is leading this team?

David Bingham came up with major saves once again and kept the Galaxy in the game most of the time. But, he’s one man and has his limits, often getting scored on by rebounds. That night in Rose City, it was the defense and midfield that could be blamed for the loss.

This game against Portland saw the Galaxy losing possession and being taken advantage of on counter attacks. 

Turf is no excuse. The next matches are in Atlanta and Seattle, both of which are turf stadiums. The Galaxy will have to adjust. 

Lack of bench depth and players not being on their A-game also contributed to the Gs’ struggle.  Lletget hasn’t had a good game in a while, so why wasn’t Perry Kitchen the sub of choice? 

The Galaxy were outplayed, which wasn’t the case against San Jose, per se. It was a physical match that seemed to become a competition for which side could get more yellow cards. 

Ibrahimovic, Diego Polenta, and Efrain Alvarez will all be suspended for the next match – Polenta and E. Alvarez due to being issued red cards, Ibrahimovic due to yellow card accumulation.

LA Galaxy sit in third place in the western conference.  They have their moments when they play as well on the pitch as they look on paper. It doesn’t matter how capable the team is if they don’t deliver though. 

They’re on the road to face Atlanta United on August 3 and then D.C. United on August 11th. Their next home match is August 14 against FC Dallas. 

With this season already runs a tight schedule, the Galaxy lost in their second round of Open Cup to Portland, but managed to move on to semi finals in the Leagues Cup and are the only MLS team still in. They’re set to face Cruz Azul on August 20th at Dignity Health Sports Park.  Then 5 days later, they have to be ready to face LAFC again.

Featured image: LA Galaxy Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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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

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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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

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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LA Galaxy Undefeated for 7 Consecutive games with 2-1 win Against Real Salt Lake

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher (Giancarlo Gonzalez 88’), Diego Polenta, Daniel Steres, Diedie Traore; Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Joe Corona (Servando Carrasco 84’); Chris Pontius, Zlatan Ibrahimović ©, Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 73’).

Substitutions not used: Matt Lampson, Jorgen Skjelvik, Juninho, Emil Cuello.

After many chances, Jorgen Skjelvik was finally taken out of the line up and replaced with DieDie Traore, who made his first MLS start, and he was terrific. It will be great to see him against a tougher team to really tell just how good he is.

Entrance . Photo Credit Michelle Huitink

The Los Angeles Galaxy won by an unconvincing 2-1. They’re playing like their own worst enemy based on the game against Real Salt Lake on Sunday April 28.

For the second home game in a row, the team has been late returning to the pitch after half time.

Zlatan Ibrahimović doesn’t seem to make any effort to control his frustrations and even got out of hand.  The trash talk happened between opponents, but he shown a yellow card for dragging Nedum Onuoha to the ground by his neck on an off-ball incident in the 60th minute.

Ibrahimović is the captain and he should be setting an example, especially as the current “face of MLS.” It’s no secret he has an ego and is intimidating. He did attempt to apologize, but it was not accepted. His experience as a captain seemed helpful to Efrain Alvarez, who we haven’t seen since he’s now on the bench for the Mexican National U-17. Team

There’s so much talent! At this point, it has to be psychological. The team has lost key teammates due to injury, the hardest blow being Romain Alessandrini’s knee injury.

At least the strategy wasn’t just to pass to Zlatan this time, but once they did have the ball, it looked like the Galaxy didn’t know what to do. The first half was full of pretty passes and nice footwork. Antuna scored his first senior team goal in the 16′.

Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto has done a good job in keeping the LA Galaxy undefeated at home. However, his decisions and strategies are still being questioned since the Galaxy can barely keep it together. Why hasn’t he played Giancarlo González?

The midfield is the best part of the team, yet they’re looking at another possible midfielder. A new deal is expected to be done by the Transfer Window closing on May 7.

Jonathan Dos Santos takes a corner kick in the first half. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Goalkeeper David Bingham has also been playing his best to keep the Galaxy on the winning streak. He made six saves this match!

Donny Toia leveled the game with a goal that could be seen coming in the 64′ after the Galaxy lost possession and control of the game.

The Lion saved the Galaxy once again with a goal in the 78′, his 8th of the season, on an assist from Sebastian Lletget.

We’ll have to see how the Galaxy perform against more challenging teams. The next few matches are very winnable or draws at least, if they start communicating better, delivering better crosses and passes, and finish goals. Stronger teams are going to take advantage of their weaknesses, especially if the team keeps coming apart at the seams like they have been in the second half.

The Galaxy’s next test is on the East Coast against the New York Redbulls, Saturday May 4.

Featured image: LA Galaxy on Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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LA Galaxy win 2-1 with Late Goal against houston dynamo

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Lineups:
LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Julian Araujo, Diego Polenta, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik; Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Joe Corona (Servando Carrasco 87’); Romain Alessandrini (Ema Boateng 16’ [Giancarlo Gonzalez 90’+1]), Zlatan Ibrahimović ©, Uriel Antuna.

Los Angeles Galaxy are on a five game winning streak and remain unbeaten at home in 2019.

LA Galaxy put pressure and get a shot early in the match, forcing Houston’s keeper to save it. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

17-year-old defender Julian Araujo made his debut start for the LA Galaxy Friday night. He was an unexpected choice in the backline, but he replaced Rolf Feltscher who was out injured.

The Galaxy battled a tough team and poor ref calls, yet still managed to take out the undefeated Houston Dynamo 2-1. Forever Orange, adorned in dark blue this evening (their Parley kit made of recycled plastic bottles, in honor of Earth Day), did not go down without a fight though.

Cozmo running around the stadium after the win. Photo Credit Michelle Huitink

Ibrahimovic scored his seventh goal in just his fifth game on a penalty in the 31st minute.

David Bingham brought his A game, making big saves this match. See below for what was probably the most important of the match:

Giancarlo made his debut as well. The Galaxy scored shortly after he entered the game.

Defender Diego Polenta redeemed himself with his first goal of the season, the game winner in the 88th minute on an assist from Jonathan Dos Santos. JDS is consistent every match and is the fire in the midfield.

Injuries picked up this match were to Romain Alessandrini and Emmanuel Boateng. It’s very unfortunate, especially since both try so hard for the team.

Jorgen Skjelvik is consistently bad. This match he committed the foul that ultimately got Houston the penalty. The call even went to VAR and the referee seriously got it wrong, but that doesn’t absolve Skjelvik.

Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto didn’t make subs sooner, perhaps, because there isn’t anyone of the available players who could have really made a better impact on this game.  For this reason, depth really needs to be built. He’s got his work cut out for him. The whole team does.

It was an intense game against a challenging opponent, full of frustration, and a strange night as even Zlatan couldn’t finish non-penalty shots in front of net, but what matters is the Galaxy won and now they are in second place in the west.

The fan support is key during tough matches. Much appreciated. Keep at it!

Next match is a quick turnaround. The Galaxy play away this Wednesday, April 24 against 6th place Minnesota United FC.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy on Twitter

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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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

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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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LA GALAXY Magically win 3-2 at home against Minnesota United

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Diego Polenta, Jorgen Skjelvik; Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos ©, Joe Corona, Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget; Chris Pontius (Julian Araujo 85’), Uriel Antuna, Ema Boateng (Servando Carrasco 90’+4’)

Photo Credit Jamie Bacon. LA Galaxy Up 1 after a penalty kick


Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto used the same lineup in consecutive matches.  This team lost away to FC Dallas just the week before. But, the team that showed up on the field Saturday March 16 played in a stellar way that fans hadn’t seen in years.

The stars on the pitch were captain Jonathan dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget. It was a dream come true to watch spectacular passing at home.

Each week we’ll see the LA Galaxy grow more and more with the GBS system.

The midfield figured it out this game. Uriel Antuna was a stud. But, Minnesota actually scored their first goal on a shot that Bingham should’ve saved.

It should be noted that not only did the Galaxy play well, this Minnesota team is a team that has grown a lot and is a contender. That they had to travel could’ve been part of it, but the G’s really controlled the game. Some fun stats: Galaxy had 62% possession. Completed 497 passes with a 87% completion rate. Had 20 shots with 17 chances created.

And they pulled it off without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romain Alessandrini, which was a big concern. Joe Corona got comfortable in the week that had past. Many other injuries have kept key players out and have given other players like Julian Araujo his debut.

The Galaxy were relentless and capitalized on the pressure.

Osvaldo Alonso, who recently joined Minnesota from a long stint with the Seattle Sounders, took down Antuna in the box, gifting the Galaxy a penalty, which was taken by JDS to put the Galaxy up in the 36′ after VAR review.

Ema Boateng found a streaking Rolf Feltscher who crossed to Chris Pontius and made it 2-0 at the half. By then the offense was clicking.

Lletget, who has a broken nose, risked playing without a mask (he tried to play with it and took it off promptly) scored on an assist from Antuna.

LAG showed that the skills are there, but aren’t up to par. The final score was 3-2. The Loons scored a late goal on a Skjelvik giveaway. The original header went off the post and Feltscher just watched the ball. So, the defense is still a weakness.

Alessandrini trained outside and Zlatan reportedly trained indoors as of March 19th. I would infer it means they’re on the mend.

We’ll see how the Galaxy do in their next match when they host a struggling Portland Timbers at 6 p.m. PT on Sunday, March 31 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

The Galaxy depend on your support, Galaxy Fam.

Featured image: @lagalaxy on instagram

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LA Galaxy Fall 2-0 on the road Against FC Dallas

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Lineups:

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Diego Polenta, Jorgen Skjelvik; Sebastian Lletget (Efrain Alvarez 59’), Jonathan dos Santos ©, Joe Corona; Ema Boateng (Ethan Zubak 75’), Chris Pontius, Uriel Antuna

FC Dallas took full advantage of the Los Angeles Galaxy’s mistakes Saturday, March 9, 2019.

Real chances weren’t created. The first half was a battle for possession. Emmanuel Boateng and Sebastian Lletget both had chances to score early on. Uriel Antuna almost made a goal on what was meant to be a cross in the 28′ but it hit the corner of the post.

Dallas could have scored on a wide open net in the 37′ but Jimmy Maurer missed it.

In stoppage time of the first half, Rolf Feltscher had a shot right off the crossbar and moments later Chris Pontius almost had a header.

It was the second half when the Galaxy got punished. The home team were awarded a penalty after Diego Polenta kicked a defender right in his side in the box.

The absences of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romain Alessandrini were strongly felt.

Injuries are out of the control of the players and coach, so it’s how the team adjusts to these changes that is key.

They’re slow and it’s clear the team didn’t know what to do when they had the ball, which was dire in front of the net. Boateng bested an FCD defender and then missed a crucial shot on an open net.

The ones really let down are the fans. Traveling supporters kept their spirits up though and were the only ones heard in Toyota stadium.

The best and the only attack came from 16-year-old Efrain Alvarez, who hasn’t ceased to amaze in only his second game with the LA Galaxy. His shot came in stoppage time, right on goal. But FCD’s keeper made the save to deny the teen from scoring and maintained his clean sheet.

This match really showed the Galaxy need to develop structure and play as a team. The passion and attack were missing as well. There’s plenty of talent, but they’re utilizing their skills individually. Even Daniel Steres came through to defend until he didn’t. Feltscher did his own thing, earning himself a yellow card in the 21’ for his tackle on Michael Barrios. Joe Corona didn’t get much time on the ball. Pontius wasn’t coming through either.

Lletget had to be subbed in 59’ after taking an elbow to the face and getting a bloody nose that took him out of play. He just can’t stop getting injured. Prior to that though, he did have a fantastic curl that went just too wide.

Boateng was finally subbed in the 76’ giving homegrown LA Academy and LA Galaxy II rising player Ethan Zubak his debut.

Jonathan Dos Santos took on the role of captain, which was a good move as he’s also shown leadership skills and can step up when needed. He is integral to the midfield creating chances.

LAG problems with defense are not new. The backline hasn’t had any changes. However, General Manager te Kloese and Head Coach Schelotto have made moves to build offense and depth. Once again, this team is a work in progress. LA Galaxy II Open Tryout Diedie Traore has also just signed with LAG after acquiring an international spot from Columbus Crew SC.

Expectations need to be kept realistic, which doesn’t mean standards need to be lowered. At this point, fans are hoping just to qualify for the playoffs. Considering both teams had highs and lows this match, there’s still plenty of reasons to keep the faith as Galaxy fans.

The LA Galaxy’s next challenge is Saturday, March 16 against Minnesota United at Dignity Health Sports Park. Kickoff is set for 6pm PST.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

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