Match Preview presented by Welch's Fruit Snacks: Zlatan Ibrahimović returns to action as the LA Galaxy host FC Dallas

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After grinding out back-to-back 1-0 wins over the Montreal Impact and San Jose Earthquakes, the LA Galaxy take a step up in class to face an FC Dallas side with just one loss in their first 11 games and head to StubHub Center following a 1-0 win over Toronto FC.

FC Dallas are unbeaten in their last five games against the Galaxy (4W-1D), their second-longest such streak against LA (went seven straight unbeaten against them from May 2000 to April 2002, 2W-5D), per Opta. That includes a 3-2 win at Toyota Stadium on May 12.

LA Galaxy

Sigi Schmid made just one change to the 10-man squad that won at Montreal the previous week, with Chris Pontius starting in place of the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which moved Ola Kamara to the lone striker in his preferred 4-2-3-1.

Romain Alessandrini provided the late dramatics in the California Clasico, taking the ball from a falling Ema Boateng and crushing a shot past San Jose goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell eight minutes from full time.

“We’ve gutted out the last two games,” Schmid said after the game. “But, the main thing is that we’ve played to zero, and as we said at halftime we said look just keep it a zero, we’ll find a goal. This is a team that will somehow find a goal. And, we found a goal. So, what I’m happy with is that I think defensively over the last two games, we’ve bent a little bit, but we’ve been stronger.”

·       Suspended: None

·       Suspended after next caution: M - Perry Kitchen

·       International duty: M - Jonathan dos Santos, M - Giovani dos Santos

·       Injury Report: OUT: F - Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion), D - Rolf Feltscher (shoulder surgery)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: David Bingham — Emrah Klimenta, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Dave Romney — Sebastian Lletget, Perry Kitchen — Chris Pontius, Romain Alessandrini, Ola Kamara — Zlatan Ibrahimovic

·       Notes: The Galaxy are 10W-6L-4D since the start of last season when Alessandrini scores a goal or records an assist, and 2W-13L-4D when he does not. … The Galaxy have kept back-to-back clean sheets after allowing multiple goals in six of their prior seven MLS matches. They have not kept three straight clean sheets in league play since July 4-15, 2016.

FC Dallas

Oscar Pareja made five changes to the team that played Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a 2-2 draw the previous week, with Jesse Gonzalez earning his first start of the season in goal, Reto Zieglerreturning to the four-man backline, Jacori Hayes and Victor Ulloa started in the midfield and Michael Barrios came in as part of a three-man front line in an altered 4-3-3 shape.

Gonzalez made the most of his return to the net, celebrating his 23rd birthday in style with a penalty kick save against Sebastian Giovinco in the 16th minute, five minutes after Maxi Urruti scored the lone goal FC Dallas (5-1-5) would need.

“Tremendous result in Toronto, we absorb it, but now we move on,” Pareja said on Monday. “There is not too much time to dig into it, the preparation for the next rival, see what players are available and just try to be very sharp and precise in what we do and just be optimistic.”

·       Suspended: D - Matt Hedges

·       Suspended after next caution: None

·       International duty: None

·       Injury Report: OUT: D - Kris Reaves (sports hernia surgery), D - Anton Nedyalkov (broken collarbone)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Jesse Gonzalez — Reggie Cannon, Reto Ziegler, Maynor Figueroa, Ryan Hollingshead — Jacori Hayes, Victor Ulloa, Kellyn Acosta — Santiago Mosquera, Maxi Urruti, Michael Barrios

·       Notes: Urruti has scored in four consecutive matches, tied for the second-longest such streak by an FC Dallas player since the start of 2010. This includes a goal against the Galaxy earlier this month. … The Toros have lost just once in their last four league road games (2W-1D). They had lost six of their previous eight league games away from home (2D).

All-Time Series

·       Overall: LA Galaxy 33 wins, 122 goals … FC Dallas 26 wins, 100 goals … 12 ties

·       At LA: Galaxy 24 wins, 70 goals … FC Dallas 6 wins, 35 goals … 5 ties

·       Last meeting at LALA Galaxy 1, FC Dallas 2 (March 4, 2017)

Officials

Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Eduardo Mariscal, Jeremy Kieso
4th Official: Baldomero Toledo
VAR: Kevin Stott