The StubHub usually equals three points
LA will be looking to rebound from their narrow 2-1 home defeat they suffered by Western Conference rivals, FC Dallas. The Galaxy will be attempting to avoid losing consecutive home games to start a season for the first time in the clubs history.
LA has usually started an MLS campaign either undefeated at home or with a draw or two. Their worst start came in 2009 when they tied two games and lost another. LA Galaxy’s head coach Curt Onalfo will have a few issues to resolve if he wants LA to pick up their first points of the season.
LA's road blocks to their first victory of the season
The injury list has not changed for LA from week one to now. Robbie Rogers (ankle injury), Ashley Cole (calf strain) and Gyasi Zardes (knee surgery) will still not be available for Sunday's clash. Now add on the one game suspension that US international Jermaine Jones and defender Dave Romney will be serving for this match.
With Jones and Romney out for this game, there are now gaps in the starting 11. Onalfo has some creative room to work with when it comes to replacing Jones. He could replace him for Sebastian Lletget and place Emmanuel Boateng on the wings. Another option for the coach is he can leave Lletget on the wings and put Baggio Husidic in the middle. In the end of the day, Onalfo has multiple ways to replace Jones on Sunday.
However, the real dilemma for the coach is replacing Romney. Rogers and Cole with their injuries will not be available for LA. Regardless, that Cole returned to training this week, he is still listed as “out” on the mlssoccer.com injury list.
Plus there is no more A.J. DeLaGarza, Oscar Sorto or Leonardo for Onalfo to turn too on Sunday. Los Angeles does not have the tested depth in the backline as they once did. The defenders who are on the sideline for LA are Nathan Smith, Hugo Arellano, and Bradley Diallo.
All three players have two things in common. One, the three defenders just joined the senior squad this offseason from the United Soccer League side, LA Galaxy II. The other fact they all share is none of them have MLS experience.
Onalfo may choose to go a different route and put Lletget as a fullback. He did that in week one for a small portion of the second half. However, against the pace of the Timbers offense, the short-handed defense of the Galaxy might come up short at home.
Against Dallas, the defense struggled to keep up with the Toros speed. Both of the Hoops goals came from open play. Maximiliano Urruti and Kellyn Acosta made dangerous runs at the defense with the ball in the penalty box and then finished the play with a clinical shot. If LA’s goalkeeper Brian Rowe and captain Jelle Van Damme did not make two crucial saves in week one, Dallas would have won the match by more a comfortable margin.
With Portland having the likes of Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, Fanendo Adi and Sebastian Blanco the Galaxy’s defense will fall apart. Even though the Los Angeles attack is led by Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini and Lletget, the offense will not be able to keep up with the Timbers. The only way the home side will leave with three points is if the short-handed defense can perform.
Prediction: LA 1-4 Portland