When the LA Galaxy walk onto the field at StubHub Center to take on New York City FC on Saturday night, it will have been four months and six days (128 days) since their last home win — a 10-man Montreal club back on April 7, 2017.
But with a new coach – Sigi Schmid, a new designated player – Jonathan dos Santos, and more healthy bodies than they’ve had all year, the Galaxy are looking to reverse their fortunes at StubHub Center and knock off a talented NYCFC squad that comes in on a high.
GAME INFO: LA Galaxy vs NYCFC, Saturday, August 12, 2017, at 8 p.m.
TV INFO: ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes
NYCFC (12-7-4; 40 pts) waltz onto the field having only lost two of their last ten games and are coming off a victory over fellow New York Rivals – the Red Bulls – which saw the league MVP candidate David Villa score a hat trick. They’ll only be missing Maxi Moralez (suspended for yellow card accumulation) for this match and will look to continue their run towards the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Galaxy (6-11-5; 23 pts), as mentioned above, are in a tailspin. They’ve been victorious only once in their last ten games and sit 19th out of 22 teams in the league. They have Major League Soccer’s worst home record with only a single victory at StubHub Center on the year (1-6-4).
The Galaxy’s defense seems to be the biggest issue having conceded the 4th most goals league wide for a total of 40. Only DC United (43), Real Salt Lake (44), and Minnesota United (49) have given up more goals this season.
The defense will have to contend with the suspension of Jelle Van Damme – his second game of a two game suspension – as well as the possibility that Schmid could mix up the formation and the backline possibly inserting Jermaine Jones into that mix. With rumors of Van Damme being sent back to Belgium for personal reasons, the Galaxy may have this issue for the rest of the season.
But the Galaxy will have Jonathan dos Santos, who is a good guess to get a start for the club in his home debut. Giovani dos Santos, Gyasi Zardes, Emmanuel Boateng and João Pedro all seem locks to start. Romain Alessandrini, who missed last weeks loss to Portland, should be fully available and back on the field as well.
Schmid is unlikely to change the back four of Pele van Anholt, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, and Ashley Cole, although there’s some flexibility if Jones wants to slide back, as mentioned above.
But will Schmid and the Galaxy continue to push Gyasi Zardes as a solution at striker? Or will they push him into a more comfortable wide position? Regardless, the clock is ticking on Zardes’ slow return to anything resembling his form.
The last time Zardes scored a goal was on August 24, 2016, in a 2-2 draw at the Chicago Fire. Because of injury and international absences, that scoreless streak spans 354 days (11 months, 20 days) or 15 games.
If Zardes plays out wide and Boateng is pushed to the bench, will the Galaxy go with Jack McInerney at up top in a repeat of last weekend’s game? Or does Schmid go to the bench with Ariel Lassiter or Jack McBean?
The Galaxy are nine points out of a playoff spot and are in dire need of something positive to come out of the changes that were made at the midpoint of the season. If wins don’t come soon the season will shift focus from what might still happen in 2017 to what should happen in 2018.
There are jobs and careers on the line. And losing at home, in front of fans who pay money to see you play, is getting old.