Photo Courtesy of the LA Galaxy

Cabral leads Galaxy to a preseason win over New England

Kevin Cabral was the star of the night with two goals and Dejan Joveljic added a third. Galaxy defense leaves a lot to be desired even in shutout.

CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution on Saturday night to stay undefeated in their preseason (3-0-0). 

Two goals from 22-year-old Kevin Cabral highlighted the Galaxy’s rather dominant performance over the Supporter Shield Winning Revolution, on a night where the Galaxy starters played for 60 minutes — their longest stretch of the 2022 preseason. 

The 4-0 victory (two goals from Cabral, one from Dejan Joveljic, and one own goal, in front of 9,345 fans at Dignity Health Sports Park, was the third straight preseason game the Galaxy scored three goals or more and is their second consecutive shutout. 

Here are three things we learned during the scrimmage. 

ONE. Kevin Cabral is a wet noodle no longer. Is it too soon to say that? Yes. Am I going to say it anyway? Yes. 

Cabral came into last year looking like a “wet noodle,” Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said in an earlier media call about his physical strength. Cabral was weak on the ball in 2021, seemed to overthink with the ball at his feet, and scuffed shots and chances like he was kicking cans down the street. 

In 60 minutes on Saturday, he did almost none of that. He was in the right place at the right time, took his chances well, and created dangerous chances from his right-wing position.

His finishes were confident, cheeky, and clean. He scuffed one shot that might have also been a cross, but two goals will buy you the benefit of the doubt. 

These are all good signs for the Frenchman, and the Galaxy will need to depend on him to make the easy goals when given them. 5-Star Performance. 

SIDE NOTE: Joveljic scored the toughest goal on the night and did it on one pass from Sacha Kljestan. He then fought off a defender using his body to keep the ball from being poked away and fired home a perfectly placed shot into the side-netting on the far post. OUTSTANDING FINISH. 

TWO. Mark Delgado has been labeled the “Great Balancer” by Vanney. And on Saturday night, he showed why Vanney has fallen in love with the underrated midfielder. His quick touches, even quicker transitions, and ability to clog lanes and force mistakes were on full display in the win. 

Delgado effortlessly glided into the Galaxy offense — especially with former teammate Victor Vazquez — and created a multitude of chances that put Vazquez, Chicharito, and others into excellent positions. 

He likes to work, and his recovery speed, while not lightning fast, is helped by his excellent positioning. 

The Galaxy are going to really like him in 2022. 

THREE. The Galaxy defense is far from complete. New England had many chances to score goals in the first half and even in the second half. And while the backline tried to do its best to stay compact, the Revs were quickly able to pass through the backline, and there were several plays where the defense was caught flat-footed. 

The backline was a mix of new and old names with absences from Derrick Williams (Low Grad Calf Strain) and Jorge Villafaña (knee contusion). Sega Coulibaly and Nick DePuy played in the middle, and new additions Kelvin Leerdam and Raheem Edwards played outside on the wings. Leerdam was solid in defense and got forward on occasion, while Edwards floated and carved his way forward. Who needs a winger when Edwards spent most of his time pushing up that sideline. 

Coulibaly probably struggled the most, making unforced errors on several passes, and generally seemed to be a step behind the rest of the defense. 

That being said, the entire defense struggled to match the pace of a disjointed New England attack that should have scored at least twice in this game. 

Vanney acknowledged as much, saying that the Galaxy still need to work on being a “sound defensive team” — which he noted was more than just the defense — that the Galaxy need to stop losing balls in bad spots, and get better in transition defense. 

Overall, he’s asking the Galaxy to “minimize mistakes” wherever possible. 

TRAVEL: The Galaxy will take Sunday as a recovery day, then train at Dignity Health Sports Park on Monday before departing for the Coachella Valley Invitational on Tuesday. They’ll play Seattle on Thursday and then New York Red Bulls on Sunday before returning to DHSP for a closed-door scrimmage against Vancouver on February 16. 

The final preseason game will be against DC United at DHSP on February 19. Tickets are available for that game.