Photo by Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

KEEP AN EYE ON: CLB vs LA

Even though they’re coming off a tie at home against San Jose, LA are riding high. There’s a sense around the Galaxy camp that things are finally clicking — and on Saturday they’ll have a chance to prove it. LA kicks off their week on the road with a match against the Columbus Crew.

“It’s different now. We know what happened last year, and we are going to be better. Look at the result.” That’s Gyasi Zardes, two games ago, summing up LA’s form. Robbie Keane was with him: “Certainly in the last four or five games, we’ve been probably the best we’ve been.” Their confidence found anew has made its mark on the record: the Galaxy stand at three wins, and only one loss, in their last five games.

“We know what happened last year, and we are going to be better.”
—Gyasi Zardes

The Crew on the other hand, aren’t on the same upswing. Columbus has only won two of their last five. While the losses must sting, it’s the draw against the struggling Chicago Fire that stings worst. For the Crew — who sit just outside the playoff spots – picking up points against a team like Chicago is increasingly necessary as we race toward the end of the season.

Both teams attempted high-profile signings during the transfer window — and both teams failed. For Columbus it was Mix Diskerud, the US Mens National Team midfielder whose deal fell apart last minute. Depending on who you believe, either Diskerud’s agent / father was at fault, or not — as Diskerud himself claimed on a Big Soccer post.

The Galaxy came ever so close to signing Sacha Kljestan – close enough to fool us, anyway – but that deal also fell apart, apparently at the hands of the league.

What it all boils down to is this: expect a very familiar looking lineup from LA. The Galaxy are in for a busy week, and it’s possible Bruce Arena will switch out a starter or two in the interest of keeping legs rested — but he’s finally found a starting XI that work, and now it’s time to put them to work.

Getting a result will require shutting down Columbus’s top offensive threat — number 10, Federico Higuain. Higuain is far-and-away the team leader on goals, assists, and shots. And his positioning – dropped behind lone forward Adam Bedell in a 4-2-3-1 – means that LA will be leaning heavily on the strength of its two center backs, A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez.

The Galaxy only need to stick to what’s worked so well these past few weeks.

On the other end of the field, the Galaxy only need to stick to what’s worked so well these past few weeks. Gyasi Zardes has finally grown into the third threat that LA’s desperately needed, and he, Keane and Donovan should prove quite the handful for the Crew’s back line.

Columbus Crew Stadium is where I watched my first MLS match, so I’m looking forward to this one. But even Galaxy fans without fond memories of Ohio should get pumped — your team’s on a roll, and they’ve got a busy month to roll through.