All in all, we saw most of the same faces we’ve been seeing in preseason, but players got more game minutes and the tune-ups for Greg Vanney’s team continue.
This Galaxy starting XI was similar to the first preseason game against New England Revolution a week ago, with a mix of experience and youth. Of note, Julian Araujo was making his public preseason debut with the Galaxy in game action.
Sporting’s XI was also pretty youthful overall.
Starting XI: Melia; Lindsey, Isimat-Mirin, Fontas, Martins; Ilie, Gianluca Busio, Remi Walter; Khiry Shelton, Wilson Harris, Ozzie Cisneros #SKCvLA— Sporting Matchday (@SKCmatchday) April 3, 2021
The game was played almost exclusively in LA’s half to start the game, but they also looked solid defensively in the opening minutes.
It looked like the Galaxy scored in the 18th minute, Chicharito’s shot just inside the penalty spot off an overcooked Sacha Kljestan centering pass clanging off the crossbar and out.
Sporting almost scored in the 27th minute, but Bond saved Khiry Shelton’s shot on the counterattack, before Sporting youngster Wilson Harris missed the mark entirely off the rebound.
Sporting opened the scoring almost out of nothing in the 33rd minute, Gianluca Busio played a give-and-go off a throw-in and after a bloop of a first touch, Busio smashed the shot from the edge of the box to give Bond no chance of stopping it.
Kljestan had a great chance a few minutes before halftime, as he intercepted a backpass, chested it down, but his volley attempt sailed over the goal, the midfielder lamenting the miss.
The Galaxy made major changes to their lineup to open the 2nd half, shifting to an even younger group.
We’re back for more desert soccer— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 3, 2021
Second Half XI: Klinsmann; Araujo, Neal, DePuy, Villafaña; Pérez, Davila, Saldaña, Dunbar; Aguirre, Williams
Augustine Williams nearly scored on a trademark breakaway just after the restart, but Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia snuffed out the chance.
Just after the hour mark, Kai Koreniuk replaced Cameron Dunbar and draft pick Josh Drack entered for Jorge Villafaña.
The Galaxy had several good looks in the final half hour, between free kicks and chances from the run of play, but couldn’t find the breakthrough against Sporting’s 2nd GK, former Galaxy Academy player John Pulskamp.
Sporting nearly got a second goal in the 85th minute, on a scramble in the box, but Galaxy defenders set up in the right spot to block the shot before it reached Jonathan Klinsmann in goal.
I think this was a pretty close game, but admittedly both teams were not playing anything close to expected first-choice XIs, so you have to take the gameplay with a big grain of salt. I’ll be curious to see how the players who have been out of camp look when they’re back and available again, and hopefully the likes of Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Victor Vazquez and possibly Samuel Grandsir will be integrated and able to play in the preseason before it wraps up, to give us a better sense of how this team may operate.
The Galaxy are next scheduled to take on the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday in Tucson. We’re just over two weeks out from the regular season opener, so we should be seeing something closer to a first-choice lineup in the coming games for LA.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.