Discover more from Big D Soccer
Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting LA Galaxy 🔎
The Galaxy will look nothing like what FC Dallas saw in March.
It all comes down to one final game for FC Dallas in the 2023 season. The long march toward a playoff spot will be decided on Decision Day this weekend when FCD heads to Southern California to take on the LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy have been eliminated from playoff contention for a couple of weeks now and are coming off a 2-2 draw last weekend against Real Salt Lake.
Let’s dive into how FC Dallas can pick up three points at LA on Saturday night against their old rivals.
Key Player: Billy Sharp
Fans of Welcome to Wrexham probably saw a recent episode with Billy Sharp when he was playing for Sheffield United against Wrexham in the FA Cup. Since coming to MLS, he has been doing pretty well, scoring six goals in six games.
Key Matchup: Douglas Costa vs Aiser Illarremendi
The battle of these two veteran players in the middle of the field will likely determine the outcome on Saturday night. Costa has shown well in recent weeks with Riqui Puig out of the lineup. Last week against RSL, he had a goal and an assist in the draw with the Utah side.
Recent struggles: The Galaxy enter their last match of 2023 with just eight total wins this season, guaranteeing this will be just the club’s fifth full season with fewer than 10 wins (excluding the shortened 2020 season). LA has recorded eight wins in a full season only twice before: in 2008 (30 games) and 2017 (34 games).
Leaky defense: The Galaxy drew Real Salt Lake, 2-2, after taking a 2-0 lead on Saturday, the club-record eighth straight game the Galaxy have allowed multiple goals. The league record of nine straight games allowing multiple goals has been done four times, most recently by FC Cincinnati in 2019.
Out: Gaston Brugman (torn meniscus, left knee), Calegari (torn ACL, left knee), Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (torn ACL, right knee), Martin Caceres (avulsion fracture, left knee), Jalen Neal (sports hernia surgery)
Questionable: Riqui Puig (ankle), Mark Delgado (head)
International duty: none
Greg Vanney has retooled his roster over the last few months due to injuries in some key areas and poor form from some players. It will be interesting to see if he uses any of his players like Puig or Delago, both of whom are on the ‘questionable’ side of the injury report.
Jonathan Bond; Kelvin Leerdam, Maya Yoshida, Tony Alfaro, Raheem Edwards; Edwin Cerrillo, Daniel Aguirre, Tyler Boyd, Douglas Costa, Diego Fagundez; Billy Sharp
Keys To Three Points over LA
Don’t give them an inch - LA will want to possess the ball, which may actually work out well for FC Dallas on the counterattack in this one. Still, like we saw last weekend against Colorado, you cannot give a team that has nothing to play for any chance to gain momentum in this game. LA will relish playing the spoiler role on Saturday night, so FC Dallas has to play a complete 90 minutes for a change and not chase the game like we’ve seen in previous weeks.
Make the most of your chances - Nico Estevez mentioned it after the Colorado game last week when asked about LA; he knows his team will get plenty of chances against their defense, even if it looks drastically different than the one that his club put three goals on at the beginning of the season. FC Dallas hasn’t been great as of late in creating good looks on goal, so taking advantage of the ones they do get will be key in this one.
Rise to the moment - This group has talked a lot about ‘finals’ since the end of the Leagues Cup. Every game is a final, which I’ve heard repeatedly from this group for the last two months. Well, this is indeed that. The final game. The number of draws lately has proven too costly in the last two months, as they haven’t been able to clinch a playoff spot yet. This is certainly a ‘put up or shut up’ kind of game for this club.