Sebastian Lletget played one final game before heading back out on international duty, and Chicharito was missing due to injury, but the group as constituted stepped up, with newcomers Rayan Raveloson and Kevin Cabral opening their scoring accounts in MLS and Chicharito’s replacement on the night, Ethan Zubak, adding another goal in the 3-1 win with a real heads-up play.
But chances are pretty good that the Galaxy will need to continue rotating for the next month, give or take, with the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup kicking off on Saturday.
Jonathan dos Santos and Efrain Alvarez have been called up by Mexico, while Lletget has been called up by the United States, Oniel Fisher has gotten the nod for Jamaica, and Giancarlo Gonzalez has been selected by Costa Rica.
While Gonzalez hasn’t gotten a sniff of playing time this year and Fisher has been a rotational player, Alvarez has played his way into more time on the field and dos Santos and Lletget are automatic starters when available. Add to that injuries to Chicharito, Sega Coulibaly and Daniel Steres at critical positions, and Greg Vanney will have to do some juggling.
It does seem quite possible that Chicharito could be back for the next game, a week from Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps in Utah, and Steres’ and Coulibaly’s prognoses are unclear. Derrick Williams’ suspension is over, however, so hopefully Raveloson should get to move back to midfield.
Going by historical precedent and assuming that at least one and quite likely both of the United States and Mexico will reach the Gold Cup final, players who get to that point in the tournament will miss four Galaxy games: July 17 “at” Vancouver, July 21 at Real Salt Lake, July 24 at FC Dallas and July 30 vs. the Portland Timbers.
Three road games is tricky, as is the midweek game sandwiched between weekend clashes. But on the bright side the opponents are relatively favorable: LA have already beaten Vancouver and Dallas recently, while RSL and the Timbers have both been really inconsistent and it’s hard to know what version of them will turn up on a given night. It’s MLS, so you can’t walk into any game assuming three points, but at least this seems like a break by the schedule makers for the Galaxy.
Wednesday’s win will have done a world of good for the remaining squad, who pretty much wrapped up the result by halftime. Admittedly, Dallas were not good but the Galaxy took advantage and had a rousing win even with a bit of a makeshift lineup. While the next four games may be tougher than we would normally expect depending on who’s available, the Galaxy know they have an opportunity to continue securing wins and moving on up the standings as the season progresses, and that would feel pretty good, indeed.
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