GAME INFO: Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy, Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 11 a.m. PT
TV INFO: FOX, FOX DEPORTES
The Galaxy (7-16-6; 27 points) will attempt to rebound after being outscored 9-1 in their last three games while only managing a single shot on goal in the last 180 minutes. They’ve also been shutout in seven of their last 11 games, have just a single win in their last 14 games, and are scoreless in their last 245 minutes.
Currently one point above current cellar-dwellers Colorado Rapids, the Galaxy sit in tenth place in the Western Conference and in 21st of 22 teams in the entire league.
Sporting KC (11-6-11; 44 points) is tied for second place in the Western Conference with Portland and Seattle and sits just one point off the conference leader, Vancouver.
Just crowned US Open Cup champions after a 2-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night, Sporting KC will be a difficult test for a depleted and underwhelming Galaxy team who has failed to put up much of a fight in their two most recent games.
In the last three visits to Children’s Mercy Park – a gorgeous venue that supports a lively and loud fan base – the Galaxy have lost just once. The other two games – the most recent – both ended in draws. In 2017, however, Sporting KC is undefeated at home (9-0-5). In fact, they’ve secured more points at home than the Galaxy have in total from both home and away games combined.
In their only meeting this year, the Galaxy fell 2-1 when first-half goals from Roger Espinoza and Ike Opara allowed SKC to cruise for the rest of the game. The Galaxy’s only goal came in the 77th-minute off of defender Dave Romney for his second goal of the season.
After the first half debacle in Atlanta, where they gave up three goals in a span of just seven minutes, the Galaxy are once again heavily focused on the defensive side of things.
With Daniel Steres out for the rest of the season with a fracture to his back, the defense is a patchwork of players who are playing together for the first time or are playing out of their natural position. It’s a recipe for disaster and it’s been a similar story throughout the entire season.
“The bounces are unfortunate but that’s not why we are losing,” Dave Romney explained after the Galaxy’s loss to Atlanta. “We are not playing well enough. We aren’t defending well enough. No one is obviously playing as good as they can be right now. It’s not like – oh we are playing amazing soccer – and it’s unlucky bounces here and there. Collectively, we all have to step up.”
The Galaxy have allowed the first goal 19 times this season and are 2-15-2 when they do so. But Sporting KC is one of the few teams that has scored fewer goals than the Galaxy. If defense is a key, as Romney and Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid believe, then not allowing the first goal, keeping a good defensive shape, and taking their chances when they find a way forward are keys to nullifying a very balanced approach from Sporting KC.
“Our focus needs to be better,” Schmid explained. “When we defend, all 11 players need to defend, but we need to be focused and concentrated.”
If the Galaxy, once again give up the first goal, any positives they gained from keeping Atlanta scoreless in the second half, will go out the window.