My friends... I’m struggling with optimism at the moment. I’m not even certain that I want to be optimistic. Wednesday night I recorded the Colorado match so that I could watch when my kids went to bed – and I saw the score just before I turned it on... except I saw it mislabeled as an FC Dallas win. It was gutwrenching to see Abubakar’s header go in.
Greg Vanney’s side enters the weekend with a mark of 8W-1D-5L: good for 25 points and third in the Western Conference.
|7/21||Real Salt Lake||2-2||Galaxy|
Not that I want to pile on to my misery, but with the exception of Kansas City, LA’s most recent matches have been against the bottom of the Western Conference – they are probably upset that they’ve only taken seven points from the possible fifteen, and while I know one of those wins came against us, maybe we’re catching them at a good time? With so many starters missing for the Gold Cup, they’ve lost to Vancouver and drawn Salt Lake.
|2689||Passes in Opponents’ Half||2264|
|163/57||Shots/Shots on Target||182/62|
|-.52 (Bond)||G-xG for Keepers||2.49 (Maurer)[oi]|
While the LA Galaxy has been more efficient offensively than Dallas, their defense has been just as porous. And given that Chicharito, with 10 of LA’s 23 tallies for the year, is unlikely to feature this week, the offenses may be more evenly matched as well. However, Rayan Raveloson has scored in the Galaxy’s last two matches and will bear watching, and Sacha Kljestan and Victor Vazquez have chipped in 32 key passes as they fend off father time. In goal, Bond continues to be steady while Jimmy Maurer (like the rest of the squad) has struggled in recent weeks.
Players to Watch (aka Vanney’s Recruits):
Kevin Cabral – the 22-year-old Frenchmen arrived from Ligue 2 side Valenciennes FC after registering 7 goals and 5 assists in 29 appearances. Thus far he has a goal and an assist for LA in 10 appearances.
Samuel Grandsir – after being loaned out multiple times by Monaco, Grandsir made his way to LA on a free transfer. The 24-year-old Frenchman has 2 assists for LA after registering 3 goals and an assist last year in 24 Ligue 1 appearances.
Rayan Raveloson – another Ligue 1 recruit. This time from Troyes. A native of Madagascar, the 24-year-old defensive midfielder has 3 goals in four appearances for the Galaxy.
Victor Vasquez – the 34-year-old Spaniard and former TFC player is still getting it done for Vanney’s side and shouldering some additional offensive burden in the absence of Sebastian Lleget.
Keys to the Match:
1) Get the lineup right, Luchi. That seat must be getting warm underneath you. To quote Ben Lyons, please don’t start Franco Jara. Let’s have Paxton on the left, Pepi up top, and Schon on the right... with Ferreira behind Pepi.
2) No soft goals. That goal from Barrios... just can’t let that go in, Jimmy. That’s why the G-xG number is up. Beyond that, Dallas gave up 24 goals in 22 games last season - 5th best in the league. This season, 23 in 14 games. Tied for 5th worse. Our offense isn’t good enough to overcome multiple goals and the backline has just been porous. Similarly, corner kicks and restarts. Let’s not give up an easy one.
3) I’m expecting heavy legs for lots of players this Saturday, but hopefully for Vasquz and Kljestan more than Quignon and Cerillo. We’re playing at home. In the heat. Let’s hope the advantage is ours. I know how I’m feeling about the season. The players must be feeling the strain – we need a result from this match not because it will save our season but because we need something to prop us up before we hit the road again.
Players Out for LA:
OUT: Javier Hernandez (undisclosed), Giancarlo Gonzalez (international duty), Jonathan dos Santos (international duty), Efrain Alvarez (international duty), Oneil Fisher (international duty), Sebastian Lletget (international duty)
QUESTIONABLE: Daniel Steres (undisclosed), Sega Coulibaly (undisclosed)
Predicted Line Up: 4-3-3
Cabral – Zubak – Grandsir
Vazquez – Kljestan
Villafana – Williams – Depuy – Araujo