CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy suffered through a poor defensive performance during their disappointing 4-2 defeat to Club Tijuana on Tuesday which may lead tdefensive changes ahead of their match against Real Salt Lake.
The back four of A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo and James Riley conceded three times in the opening 30 minutes, which prompted head coach Bruce Arena to pull Riley in favor of Todd Dunivant. This stopped the bleeding enough for LA to pull back a goal, but the group ultimately conceded for a fourth and final time in the closing stages to help LA crash out of the CONCACAF Champions League.
“Things turn over quickly,” said Arena. “It’s good to have a game and test ourselves again….These are professional athletes and they need to put all of that [happened in Tijuana] behind you.”
Dunivant appears to be the most likely switch as he declared himself “ready to go” and healthy for the RSL match following LA’s training session on Thursday morning. However, Arena’s changes may not stop there. Brazilian center back Leonardo was arguably the biggest struggler against Tijuana and Arena may opt to replace him with any myriad of options.
With defenders Kofi Opare and Kyle Venter loaned to LA Galaxy II for their inaugural match, defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and Tommy Meyer are the front runners to see time alongside Gonzalez. Reuniting the pairing that won the 2012 MLS Cup would likely cause the Galaxy to make just two changes while moving DeLaGarza to central defense could offer a major shift for the Galaxy.
Moving DeLaGarza over to the center allows Arena to place Riley—or fellow veteran Dan Gargan—at THEl right back position while reuniting a center back pairing that has enjoyed plenty of success in recent years. When paired together, the University of Maryland pairing have helped LA earn a 27-8-12 record in regular season games.
Although he would not commit to the prospect of changes, DeLaGarza did hint that Arena may make moves for Salt Lake.
“I’m not sure what is going to happen just yet. I’m sure you’ll find out on Saturday,” said DeLaGarza. “A couple of us know what is going on, but we just need anyone to be on the same page both offensively and attacking wise.”
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