All winter long, fans across Los Angeles nervously braced in anticipation of the Galaxy’s 2018 home opener. After all the hard work of rebuilding and retooling the squad, would Sigi Schmid’s off-season project bare fruit?
The hard work paid off. A newly fit Emmanuel Boateng gave Portland fits all night, new acquisition Ola Kamara was a game-changer and Perry Kitchen kept the reigining MVP Diego Valeri quiet as LA held on late to secure a 2-1 victory.
It wasn’t a perfect match, or even a pretty one at times. The fluidity of the Galaxy attack in the final third has got some issues to say the least. Additionally Romain Alessandrini pulled up with a right hammy strain, and while it appears the influential midfielder won’t be gone for long, his absence could force Schmid to move some pieces around if Chris Pontius is unable to play this Sunday.
What to watch:
NYCFC are flying high. It’s not very often a team can stroll into Children’s Mercy Park and dictate play on their terms, but that’s exactly what Patrick Vieira’s well-drilled side accomplished last week, bossing the midfield en route to a dominating road win.
Part of their success was due to the arrival of 20-year old young Designated Player Jesus Medina, who bagged a goal and assist on his debut and looks the part of a suitable replacement for the departed Jack Harrison. And of course, David Villa is just as dangerous as ever.
Rolf Feltscher did well in his first official start, but as we feared in last week’s preview, Sebastian Blanco managed to ghost behind him and Michael Ciani to put away Portland’s lone tally. With LA set to battle in the smaller dimensions of Yankee Stadium, the back line will probably have to improve upon last week’s showing if the Galaxy are to get a result.
One benefit for the blue white and gold: Center back Maxine Chanot earned a red card at the tail end of the match, and NYCFC’s depth at the position isn’t great.
Low on touches, low on confidence. Gio didn’t have his best game vs. the Timbers, and a quick glance at his distribution chart spells out the problem.
The data may be preliminary, but ten completed passes aren’t nearly enough to have an influence on the match. Whether Dos Santos is having trouble fitting into the system or he needs to work harder off the ball, Gio has got to get on the ball more.
Predicted starting 11:
Chris Pontius, Joao Pedro and Romain Alessandrini did not travel with @LAGalaxy to New York for Sunday's game. Ema Boateng did make the trip.— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) March 9, 2018
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Sunday March 11th, 2 p.m. PST
Venue: Yankee Stadium
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Stream: MLS Live
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, Kathryn Nesbitt
4th Official: Alex Chilowicz
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez