View From the Booth: Galaxy Look to Sweep Union at PPL Park
I’m not sure how I should feel after the 1-1 result against New York this past weekend?
On the one hand, LA fought back after going down a goal, but on the other hand, LA once again surrendered an early goal and settled for just a single point at home. Usually I am a “glass half-full” type of guy, but in this case I am disappointed with the outcome.
I said heading into the game, “The Galaxy need to establish a home field advantage that has other teams thinking how tough it is to come to The Home Depot Center.” Do other teams around the League sense it is a difficult task to come to Southern California and grind out a result? Right now I say no.
Look no further than the comments from Carlos Ruiz earlier this week, before Wednesday’s match with Philadelphia. The former Galaxy striker said he felt LA is in trouble right now, and went on to say he is not impressed with the group the Galaxy has right now. The Galaxy will have a great opportunity to take those comments head on at PPL Park this week.
The Union are also coming off of a disappointing performance, losing 1-0 this past week in Portland. Some of the Union’s players said after the game they felt they deserved a point from the game, but having watched it, I would disagree. Philly was playing the game without some of the first choice players, but overall the Timbers were the better team on the night. Portland showed once again why they are going to be difficult to beat when they play at home. Wait— wasn’t I just talking about teams establishing that home-field advantage? I digress.
Let’s focus on the Galaxy and what to look for this week. First, Philadelphia is very vulnerable on set piece chances. Veteran goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon has allowed just three goals all season, but all of them have come from set pieces. Even without David Beckham in the lineup, the Galaxy have a number of players that can serve a ball or have a go at goal from set pieces. As a result, I expect a goal to come from a dead ball situation.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Galaxy rank in the top three teams in the league in giving up goals early in the game. Not a stat you want to see your team listed in. It seems when the Galaxy get off to a good start, meaning not giving up the first goal of the game or even not conceding a goal early in the game, the team plays well and thus earns the three points.
This will be a key to this game. Neither the Galaxy nor the Union have come back to win a game this season after giving up the first goal so getting that first goal and more importantly protecting their goal early on will be paramount.
Going a little deeper into the LA perspective, defense is where I have my biggest concern. It goes beyond the Galaxy trying to keep the clean sheet during the opening minutes of the match. The back four is a solid group of players, but at times I think the youth of A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez gets exposed. Gonzalez is growing into a great center back, and there is no question that he and A.J. have a good familiarity dating back to their college days at Maryland, but a couple of times each game there are gaps in the center of the defense.
I know that this partnership will get better each game, but it is something to keep a close eye on over the next few games.
If that partnership is solid on Wednesday night, the Galaxy should be able to stifle Ruiz and the Union attack. If they’re not, however, and they fall behind early, they could be in for a long night.
The Galaxy will be hosting an official viewing party for Wednesday’s match against the Philadelphia Union! Join us Wednesday, May 11 at 4:30pm at Alpine Village in Torrance to watch the game, enjoy great food and drink specials, and enter to win tickets for the Galaxy’s next home game against Sporting KC on Saturday, May 14 at 7:30pm. MORE INFO