The “California Clasico” between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes might have lost a bit of luster due to Los Angeles Football Club moving in to town, but that wont erase years of history and bad blood.
The LA Galaxy pulled off their second consecutive victory on Friday night thanks to a late wonder strike by Romain Alessandrini. With the victory the LA Galaxy moved to 16 points in 12 games whereas the Earthquakes stay on nine points in 12 games.
Things are starting to tighten up in the Western Conference standings. Only five points separates second through ninth place. The LA Galaxy are currently in 7th place on goal difference. With five games in just over two weeks, the opportunities to rise up the table and keep pace with LAFC will come fast.
Boateng Provides the Spark
In the last three games Emmanuel Boateng has one goal and two assists in his three appearances off the bench. The two assists have been game-winning ones, last week against Montreal Impact and this week against the Earthquakes.
When Boateng plays consistently for the LA Galaxy, the other team is forced to game plan for him. This isn’t the case for all players who come off the bench in the MLS. Head Coach Sigi Schmid agreed,
“The last few weeks he’s played well coming off the bench. Offensively he gives us a spark…”
I have been advocating for more playing time for Boateng. His combination of speed, skill and crossing ability makes him a threat to any defense.
No Zlatan No Problem
Should Zlatan Ibrahimovic be starting every game? I think not. Is he a vital piece to the success of LA Galaxy? Absolutely. Not having Zlatan allowed Ola Kamara to play in his natural central striker position where he has torched MLS defenses over the past few years. It wasn’t the greatest of performances for Kamara offensively, but he was contributing with winning fouls, taking shots, making good runs in the box, and even getting in some crosses.
— OptaJack⚽ (@OptaJack) May 26, 2018
More importantly defensively there was more of an effort to play defense in packs of three. In the past few weeks it has been only one guy pressuring at a time which gets the defense disjointed and unbalanced.
Zlatan has an important role to play for this team, however, for the majority of the games he should be coming off the bench. Not because he is inferior to anyone on the team, but because he may be more effective coming in at half-time or with 30 minutes remaining. That way the LA Galaxy can save his legs for the hot summer days and the playoff run they will undoubtedly be entrenched in.
LA Galaxy will take on FC Dallas looking for a little revenge after losing to them 2-3 two weeks ago at Toyota Stadium. Dallas also won 1-0 on Friday afternoon against Toronto FC at BMO field. Dallas are a very strong team and are my dark horse in the Western Conference this season.
This will be a tough test for the LA Galaxy as they are currently four points behind Dallas. The previous time these two teams met Kamara and Boateng both found the back of the net. If the defense stays solid and Schmid can find the right formula of players, the LA Galaxy could get rolling here.
Wednesday May 30, LA Galaxy vs FC Dallas. StubHub Center, 7:30 p.m.