During the pregame show, ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman suggested the 2019 season could be gone for the LA Galaxy if they were blown out of the park.
Their decisive 3-2 victory (with two very questionable goals for LAFC, btw) over their cross-rivals Friday night may well have the opposite effect. Yes, for better or worse LA were once again reliant on Zlatan to get the job done but Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s squad have a solid foundation to build on as they face a difficult schedule ahead.
Here are three notable positives from El Trafico IV.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto made the right calls. The man who managed Boca to two league titles has paced the sidelines in big games before, but Guille would need to get out of his comfort zone and pick the right lineup and tactics if LA were to escape Health Sports Park with their Dignity, much less a result.
-Julian Araujo's insertion provides extra defensive cover— LAG Confidential (@LAGConfidential) July 20, 2019
-Shuffling another attacker to the bench gives GBS options should LA need to chase the game.
We like it. https://t.co/TRS9Y6sz6F
In Julian Araujo and Rolf Feltscher you have two aggressive fullbacks capable of contributing in the final third, so why not stick both on the pitch? Inserting Araujo in a winger role gave LA the extra defensive cover they needed to prevent Jordan Harvey from pushing up in attack, and outside of a few moments Diego Rossi had little impact on the match. The decision to stick the experienced Diego Polenta at left back was another gamble that paid off.
GBS earned his paycheck that night.
Favio Alvarez brought his A game. It was his sloppy turnover 90 seconds into the match that culminated in a LAFC penalty kick, but the Argentine attacker was a thorn in the Black and Gold throughout the match, finding pockets to distribute the ball around LAFC’s boa constrictor of a midfield. Alvarez was especially adapt at one-touch flicks to Ibra: In addition to his flick that assisted Zlatan’s third strike, the blue white and gold haired attacker had a brilliant dummy earlier that almost resulted in a goal.
Alvarez had an astute defensive performance on the night as well, marking the dangerous Eduard Atuesta out of the match and adding cover when needed.
Pipa Gonzalez’s emergency defending. When the Costa Rican international is fit, the already improved back line transforms into an elite cohesive unit. What a tackle.
(This thing should have ended up 3-0, but let’s just say Jair Marrufo had an off night)