We're now at the halfway point of the LA Galaxy's preseason. Bruce Arena's men play host to Xolos de Tijuana in their second exhibition match of 2016 before their big CONCACAF Champions League clash against Santos Laguna.
Having won the opening game against FC Shirak, the Galaxy are presented with their first real test of the year. After a woeful 2015, Xolos have looked to be far and away a better side under former El Tri manager Miguel Herrera and will look to bring their improvement to the StubHub Center.
The Galaxy, though, obviously have a much more complete team than last season.On Friday, the club unveiled their two newest signings in Ashley Cole and Jelle Van Damme, with Nigel de Jong due to arrive from Italian powerhouse AC Milan in the coming days.
Although Bruce Arena's selection is obviously going to be facilitated by the arrival of players like Cole and Van Damme, finding the right balance will be difficult. Arena will not only have to work out an approach that maintains a certain security at the back with a new-look back four but that also enables the creativity of their brilliant attackers.
For Xolos, it isn't by far the most important tie of their season, but it's for exactly that reason this match offers something others don't. It presents an opportunity for Miguel Herrera to try new things and incorporate new players without much of a significant backlash.
The one problem for Arena may be in the fitness part of the game. The Galaxy are very much a team still in preseason, rather than Xolos who have already played in five league games this season.
The bottom line is that this is a preseason game. That will make for a an experimental affair, but Galaxy fans will still be hoping to see a successful debut from their new signings.
Finally, we will see the return of three-time MLS Cup champion Juninho, who joined Xolos from the Galaxy in December. Juninho made a total of 187 appearances for the Galaxy, scoring 18 goals and recording 23 assists.
Xolos de Tijuana 4-2 LA Galaxy - March 18, 2014 - CONCACAF Champions League
After taking a 1-0 advantage in the first leg, the Galaxy fell 4-2 at the Estadio Caliente to bow out of the 2014 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Galaxy (4-4-2): Kennedy; Rogers, DeLaGarza, Van Damme, Cole; dos Santos, Husidic, Gerrard, Boateng; Gordon, Keane
Tijuana (5-3-2): Vilar; Gutierrez, Valenzuela, Gandolfi, Jimenez, Cardenas; Juninho, Hauche, Nuñez; Perez, Moreno