The LA Galaxy will get another chance at some “easy” points when they host DC United on Wednesday night, July 4th, at what should be a sold-out StubHub Center (7:30 p.m.; SpectrumSN, SpectrumDeportes).
The Galaxy (6-7-3) are coming off a poor defensive performance against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. That game, a 3-3 draw, saw the Galaxy scored three goals in 25 minutes of play and then allowed the Earthquakes to eventually tie the game.
United (2-7-4) come into the match having just lost to the New England Revolution (3-2) and have played all but two of their games on the road in 2018 as they await the opening of their brand new soccer-specific stadium in Washington D.C.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will try and lead the Galaxy after his brace last weekend while the Galaxy weather another injury crisis. With striker Ola Kamara missing the clash against San Jose as he recovers from a calf strain, the Galaxy are short of attacking options. But Kamara could see some minutes off the bench in this game — something that would be greatly welcomed as the club dressed only six subs for their last draw.
Emmanuel Boateng is also on the mend as his hamstring finishes its recovery. Boateng could also make a substitute appearance for the club as the game progresses.
And don’t expect Giovani or Jonathan dos Santos to be back for this game either. After being eliminated from the World Cup on Monday with the Mexican National Team, they’re not expected to rejoin the Galaxy until later in the week where they’ll most likely be available for the July 7 game against Columbus (7:30 p.m.; SpectrumSN, SpectrumDeportes).
The Galaxy defense will need to improve and that includes the defensive side of the midfield. Against the Earthquakes, they gifted the home team two penalty kicks and an almost uncontested run through the center of the field for the other goal.
Ibrahimovic and Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid were both critical of the easily correctible mistakes they made in last weekends game. Poor clearances, bad passing choices and lackadaisical positioning gave a sorry ‘Quakes offense too many gifts.
Perry Kitchen will be an important part of that defensive resurgence as he usually anchors the space just in front of the backline. A spot that was exploited by the Earthquakes to some success.
But the partnership of Michael Ciani and Jorgen Skjelvik also needs to continue to develop. Mistakes there have caused the Galaxy multiple issues over the course of this season and their disconnected defense is the main source of frustration from nearly all corners of the Galaxy’s fanbase.
And while the defense struggles, Schmid is determined to keep his focus there. Meanwhile, his offense has scored six goals in the last two league games and continues to be the most productive side of the ball.
The Galaxy need points. They sit in eighth place in the Western Conference but are only two points out of a possible playoff position. And the rest of this month sees a considerable uptick in competition and difficult road games.
Winning on Wednesday night is their most important priority. And beating the an old-line rival, as well as the worst team in MLS, shouldn’t be too much to ask for this club. The Galaxy have climbed out of the basement of the league in 2018. Now it’s time to prove it by burying another.
DC UNITED LINEUP (PREVIOUS GAME)