FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to LA’s attempt to end the New England Revolution's two-game winning streak.
GALAXY LOOK TO QUELL FAGUNDEZ AND THE REVOLUTION
The Galaxy head to Gillette Stadium to face a red-hot New England Revolution side that is on a two-game winning streak and unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions.
Leading the charge for the Revolution is 18-year-old Diego Fagundez, who has scored three goals in his last three matches. The deceptive Revolution Homegrown midfielder has been primarily stationed on the right flank over the past month, but often wanders in the final third in search of a scoring opportunity. However, New England’s attack isn’t solely reliant on a teenager as crafty midfielder Lee Nguyen, new acquisition Juan Agudelo, and Honduran international Jerry Bengston can all provide an offensive spark.
Focus and maintaining defensive shape in the final third will be vital for the Galaxy as they look to knock off the Revs. The quick interchange and movement among New England's attackers will present a challenge, but if LA’s back four can maintain their defensive posture, they’ll limit chances for the home side.
CONTINUED ROTATION LIKELY
Due to the international absences of Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane, the Galaxy are guaranteed to use their 17th different lineup in 17 games this season.
The last time that LA head coach Bruce Arena broke up the pairing of Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza in central defense; he turned to Tommy Meyer and may do so again. Meyer enjoyed the stronger game of the club’s two center backs in the team’s Open Cup defeat to the RailHawks, but will need a better performance if he’s matched up against Bengston, who remains dangerous despite scoring just once so far this season. Meanwhile on the attacking side, Arena is likely to opt for a youthful edge to replace Keane as young forwards Gyasi Zardes and Jose Villarreal are expected to contend for the vacant forward slot.
While not a change from last Sunday’s squad, rookie left back Greg Cochrane appears poised to start his third match in eight days against New England. Veteran left back Todd Dunivant did not make the trip to New England as he continues to deal with a quad strain that sidelined him last week against Seattle. Cochrane’s presence could be an asset for LA as he speed will be important as LA deal with a sly Revolution attack.
WHO PICKS UP THE OFFENSIVE SLACK WITH KEANE GONE?
The LA Galaxy are a different team with Robbie Keane in the lineup, but LA must learn to live without him, if they are to pick up three points against the Revolution.
When Keane is in the lineup, the Galaxy have scored 15 goals—five of those being Keane’s—and hold a 4-1-1 record compared to a scant six tallies and a 2-3-1 record when he’s unavailable. Against a strong Revolution side that has conceded a league-low nine goals, the Galaxy will need someone else to pick up the slack. Landon Donovan is the most likely option to shoulder the responsibility and may be stationed up top with any of LA’s three young forwards in Charlie Rugg, Villarreal, and Zardes on Sunday.
Each of the three young forwards contains a different attribute that could impact the game, but with the Galaxy missing the extra spark of the unexpected that Keane can provide, Villarreal and Zardes seem to be the most likely candidates to partner Donovan. With Keane away until, at least, LA’s June 19 match against the Portland Timbers; LA’s youngsters must pick up the slack and the match against Revolution presents the perfect launching point.