Minnesota United FC vs. LA Galaxy | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Minnesota United vs. LA Galaxy
2017 MLS Match Preview
TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sunday, May 21 – 5:00 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US, MLS LIVE in Canada
In the very recent past, everyone would expect the usually sparkling LA Galaxy to steamroll any expansion team. But, these are not usual times. The Galaxy, for one, find themselves on some unsteady footing. What looked like a bust of a season took a turn last week with their 3-1 victory at the Red Bulls, one that snapped New York's unbeaten home streak.
Minnesota United FC, meanwhile, are following a similar-ish trajectory -- a devastating start to the season, followed by plenty of reasons for positivity. Sure, they fell 3-2 to Toronto FC last weekend, but comparing it to, say, March 2017, that's more than a respectable response to one of the top teams in the East.
Minnesota United FC
The Loons' relative ascendance comes from either end. Early outings in MLS proved infamous goalfests for all of their opponents -- but no more. Minnesota's tightened up their backline in a big way, at least in familiar Minneapolis surroundings. After conceding eight goals in their first two home games, they've now conceded just one over their last three games at home.
Up top, though, the dream team of Christian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra still ride high. And they're not exactly facing unfamiliar foes, either; both recently spoke at length about their childhood Galaxy fandom. Fans are also still likely pinning high hopes on rookie Abu Danladi, whose debut league goal earlier this month offered tempting promise.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – M Bernardo Anor (left lower leg injury), M/D Thomas de Villardi (left Achilles injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): GK: Bobby Shuttleworth – Jerome Thiesson, Brent Kallman, Francisco Calvo, Marc Burch – Sam Cronin, Ibson – Kevin Molino, Abu Danladi, Miguel Ibarra – Christian Ramirez
Notes: Minnesota United has faced 29 shots on target when playing at home this season, the third most in MLS. But Kevin Molino’s brace against Toronto FC last weekend was his second multi-goal game in his 47 regular-season MLS appearances (16 overall MLS goals).
Are the Galaxy "finally on the same page," as breakout star Romain Alessandrini described it last weekend? There's only a small sample size of two positive matches in a row, but signs point to a possible yes. Besides last week's shellacking of the New York Red Bulls, they drew a tough-in-2017 Chicago Fire at home the match before that. And the Galaxy owe Alessandrini himself plenty of credit for that: He boasts 10 combined goals and assists so far this year.
Some might say offseason acquisition Joao Pedro's turnaround mimics that of the team overall, with surging confidence translating to flexibility and decisiveness on the pitch. Oh yeah, opponents should also probably worry about Gio Dos Santos' recent run of form, which has proved good enough to earn him a spot again on the Mexican national team roster.
- Suspended: D Bradley Diallo (red card vs. New York)
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – D Robbie Rogers (ankle injury, out for season), M Sebastian Lletget (foot surgery), GK Clement Diop (hip injury), M Jermaine Jones (MCL sprain)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): GK: Brian Rowe — Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney — Ema Boateng, Baggio Husidic, Joao Pedro, Romain Alessandrini — Gyasi Zardes, Giovani Dos Santos
Notes: The Galaxy’s 3-1 win away to the Red Bulls last weekend means they have only lost four of their last 10 away games (three wins three draws). They have scored multiple goals in seven of their last 10 regular-season away games.
- First matchup.
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Jeff Muschik, Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos