The LA Galaxy shouldn’t plan on a fun trip to Vancouver this weekend. Injuries continue to plague the club early in the season and Major League Soccer’s insistence on playing during International breaks leaves the casual observer confused and the dedicated fan watching a “B-Team.”
All of the above combinations and a suspension could leave the Galaxy without as many as eleven players for the March 24 matchup against the Whitecaps at BC Place this weekend (7 p.m., PT – SpectrumSN, SpectrumDeportes).
National Team call-ups would have seen Jonathan dos Santos, and Giovani dos Santos go to be with Mexico while Ola Kamara departs for time with Norway and Emrah Klimenta is off to be with Montenegro. But it seems only Kamara and Klimenta will be playing during the International friendlies as both Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos will be out with Hamstring issues.
With Giovani dos Santos being the closest to returning, and Jonathan dos Santos just picking up his injury in the Galaxy’s closed-door scrimmage against the University of Santa Barbara on Friday, March 16, their inclusion in an even bigger match – the Galaxy’s first game against the new kids on the block, Los Angeles Football Club – is now doubtful.
And they aren’t the only ones likely to be missing this weekends’ game because of injuries. Romain Alessandrini, returning from another hamstring injury (there are four on the club), isn’t likely to play on the BC Place turf, Perry Kitchen, who is dealing with an MCL injury might also be someone to skipe the ruff and tumble artificial surface, and Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion), and Michael Ciani (Groin) are definitely out. That leaves Chris Pontius (unknown injury) and João Pedro (hamstring) as the only question marks.
The answers aren’t simple in replacing those that are missing. And anytime you have to replace seven starters – Kamara, J. dos Santos, G. dos Santos, Alessandrini, Cole, Kitchen and Ciani – there are going to be big drop-offs in performance. Especially when three of those absences will be to the club’s three highest-paid players.
The good news is that some of these injuries look to be coming to an end. Alessandrini will be evaluated throughout the week to see if he’ll be ready for Vancouver (unlikely) and both Pontius and Pedro are close to returning. In all likelihood, Pontius should be available for the game on Saturday.
And both Alessandrini and Giovani dos Santos seems capable of being available for the LAFC game. But those aren’t written in stone and it’s still possible the Galaxy could be very shorthanded headed into a soon-to-be-sold-out game at StubHub Center on March 31.
It’s not the ideal time for the Galaxy to be picking up so many injuries, but no time ever is. And questions should be raised about why there are so many hamstring and muscle issues so early in a season. A season that was preceded by a very difficult preseason training routine.
No one can blame fans for thinking that all these ailments are from overtraining and should also bring back memories of 2017 where a continuous mix of injuries kept the Galaxy’s starters from playing together for most of the year. But if there is any good news out of this injury streak, it’s that it’s taking place early in the season. And while that won’t sooth the worry over another disastrous year, there is still time to pull out of this injury-riddled death spiral.
But for now, it will be a case of players having to step up when their number is called. Every injury is an opportunity to learn more about the Galaxy’s depth in 2018. And they’ll need that depth if their luck doesn’t change soon.
NATIONAL TEAM CALL-UPS
Ola Kamara (Norway) – 3.23 vs Austrailia, 3.26 at Albania
Emrah Klimenta (Montenegro) 3.23 at Cyprus, 3.27 vs Turkey
Ashley Cole (1-game)
Bradford Jamieson (Concussion) – 50 days
João Pedro (Hamstring) – 23 days
Romain Alessandrini (Hamstring) – 15 days
Chris Pontius (Knock/Unknown) – 15 days
Michael Ciani (Groin) – 8 days
Giovani dos Santos (Hamstring) – 8 days
Jonathan dos Santos (Hamstring) – 3 days
Perry Kitchen (MCL) – 3 days
Days = days since injury
UPDATED: 3.20.18 to include the MCL injury to Perry Kitchen