The LA Galaxy will embark on the 2020 MLS regular season with a road trip to the Houston Dynamo, kicking off on Saturday afternoon. With anticipation riding high for the 25th season, here are three things I’m watching for in the Galaxy’s season debut:
How will the defense look?
Look, it’s the big question from last season, the season before, and before...but while it can be fun to win a few games 4-3, it’s not typically the stuff title-winning teams are made of. And there are real questions for the Galaxy at center back heading into the game: Who will pair with Giancarlo Gonzalez against the Dynamo? Daniel Steres has been hobbled much of preseason, but with rumored transfer target Alan Franco still not signed, the presumed option if Steres is out is Nick DePuy, who a couple years ago was playing forward at the pro level. That said, DePuy put in reps last year for Los Dos and watching him firsthand Saturday in the final preseason tune-up against the Chicago Fire, DePuy looked good. Assuming Rolf Feltscher and Emiliano Insua lineup as the outside backs, will this group be able to put together a good 90-minute performance in Houston, whatever the group ends up being?
Who will play in Jonathan dos Santos’ place?
Dos Santos has battled an apparent groin injury in preseason, and reports from Corner of the Galaxy on Thursday claim he won’t be available for the Houston match. Perry Kitchen played against Chicago, although Joe Corona could also be in line for that spot, but they’ll have big shoes to fill, clearly. It seems pretty likely that Kitchen and Sacha Kljestan will start again, especially with how well Kljestan played in the last preseason game, but Schelotto isn’t afraid to make changes, and there are some options with the midfield slowly building quality depth.
Can Chicharito open his MLS account?
Officially, Chicharito didn’t score in preseason, although word on the street is actually he did in the friendly against the Vancouver Whitecaps that was mysteriously closed last minute. But preseason doesn’t count for anything, and now that the games count, can Chicharito score his debut goal right away to get that out of the way? He was rather stymied against Chicago, but that, again, was preseason. I will be curious to see if the Mexican drops deep a bunch like he did against the Fire — a clear departure from his perpetual reputation as a striker who lives on the shoulder of the last defender — or if he stays higher up to provide a target and outlet for the attack. It would be nice if he gets off the mark here, but it will also obviously be very interesting to see how he plays in a competitive match for the first time with his new team and in a new league.
What do you think? What are you watching for ahead of the game? Let’s chat in the comments below!