CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to LA’s Fourth of July contest against the Columbus Crew. The Galaxy will be eager to shake off their poor performance in the final minutes of their 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes last week.
PICK YOURSELF OFF THE MAT
The LA Galaxy suffered a disheartening defeat against the San Jose Earthquakes last week, but now just five days later, they have a chance to right the ship against the Columbus Crew.
In the days following the loss in San Jose, Galaxy veterans Robbie Keane and Todd Dunivant have implored their teammates to show guts this week as they look to rebound on Thursday. For a team that suffered such a difficult defeat just days earlier, the opportunity to jump right back into action is a major boost to the team’s confidence as they offered an immediate chance to get back to winning ways.
LA are not the only team that will be feverishly aiming for a win as the Crew has struggled in recent weeks with just one win in their last six matches and are looking to snap a two-game losing streak. Desperate to keep pace with the fifth place Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference, who they trail by three points, the Crew are likely to bring a defensive mentality to StubHub Center, which LA will need to break down.
DEFENSIVE ORGANIZATION MANDATORY AGAINST THE CREW
Defensive breakdowns plagued the LA Galaxy during their stoppage time meltdown against San Jose, so a complete performance will be necessary for LA to pick up three points on Independence Day.
They’ll face a Crew team that is expected to be far more measured than San Jose were in the dying moments of last weekend’s game, but has enough weapons to stretch the Galaxy defense. A defensive posture is expected from Columbus from the outset meaning that containing the Crew on counterattacking opportunities will be vital. When Columbus goes forward, playmaker Frederico Higuain will be looking to send passes over the top to his strike partner Dominic Oduro, who has the speed to slip behind defenses. Typically referred to as the fastest player in MLS, Oduro’s is expected to test LA early and often.
With Columbus looking to catch the Galaxy on the counter using Oduro’s speed, LA must be organized in defense and try to draw the pacey Ghanaian into possible offside positions. If LA can negate Oduro’s pace and manage the tempo of the match, they may be able to avoid the type of defensive breakdowns that plagued them against San Jose.
KEANE vs. MARSHALL PROMISES TO BE A BATTLE OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS
The most important match up of Thursday’s game may be the tussle between LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane and Columbus center back Chad Marshall.
Keane arrives at StubHub Center after a fantastic performance against the Earthquakes that saw him tally two assists, but he could have easily had five or six, if LA’s finishing was sharper. At first glance, Marshall and the Crew defense appear to be an appetizing target for the Irish forward as Columbus has conceded seven goals in their last four games. However, the two-time MLS Defender of the Year promises to give Keane a major test as the 6-foot-4 Marshall will attempt to use his size and positioning to win balls in the box and snuff out Galaxy chances.
The Galaxy captain isn’t the only LA player that must be mindful of Marshall, as he is a prime target for Columbus on attacking set pieces. With the Crew looking to feed him crosses, expect Omar Gonzalez to mark the defender and prevent him from testing the LA Galaxy net.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com