LA Galaxy vs. Sporting Kansas City | 2017 MLS Match Preview
LA Galaxy vs. Sporting Kansas City
2017 MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center – Carson, California
Saturday, June 24 – 10:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
It's been a long time coming for the LA Galaxy, but their youth movement seems to be bearing fruit. The most recent example of this, of course, came in the Galaxy's 3-1 win at the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday when head coach Curt Onalfo put out one of the youngest lineups in team history, including four academy products in the starting XI and three more on the bench.
It's no one-off, though – according to Soccer America, the star-studded Galaxy have given 35.7% of their minutes this season to players who signed as Homegrowns or from LA Galaxy II, which comfortably leads the league. Only the New York Red Bulls (27.4%) have given more than a quarter of their minutes to academy and USL products.
And with two of the Galaxy's biggest names (Giovani dos Santos - international duty & Jermaine Jones - injury) set to miss out once again vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night, the youth will need to once again come up big. Though Sporting have struggled to win on the road, they've picked up at least one point in five of their nine away trips this season and run the tightest ship in the league on defense, having conceded just 11 goals in 2017, good for a miserly average of 0.64 per game.
If the Galaxy can take their sterling road form back home to Southern California, it should make for a fascinating match-up between two of the league's most decorated teams.
The Galaxy's results on the year continue to fly in the face of conventional logic. While the home-road splits in MLS continue to trend in favor of the home teams, the Galaxy have only won one of their seven home games in 2017. In fact, the Galaxy have now drawn three consecutive home games and a draw in Saturday night's clash would be a franchise record. The saving grace for LA then, has been the fact that they've been outstanding on the road throughout the first half of the season, with their 5-2-1 record away from the friendly confines of StubHub Center good enough to put them in fifth place in the Western Conference heading into the weekend's slate of games.
With a slew of absences, both short- and long-term, and an unforgiving schedule Onalfo will have to dip into the USL/academy well once again, but with the youth at his disposal, it's not an impossible ask for him to get another win out of his young charges while looking ahead to Wednesday's US Open Cup match against Sacramento.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended next yellow card: M Romain Alessandrini
- Int’l Duty: F Giovani Dos Santos (Mexican national team)
- Injury Report: OUT — GK Brian Rowe (groin injury), MF Jermaine Jones (grade 2 right knee MCL sprain), DF Daniel Steres (right hamstring injury), DF Robbie Rogers (left ankle - season-ending injury), MF Sebastian Lletget (foot), MF Baggio Husidic (left fibula fracture); QUESTIONABLE — D - Bradley Diallo (hamstring injury), M - Raul Mendiola (undisclosed injury)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1, left to right): Clement Diop — Ashley Cole, Dave Romney, Jelle Van Damme, Bradley Diallo — Joao Pedro, Rafael Garcia — Emmanuel Boateng, Romain Alessandrini, Gyasi Zardes — Jack McInerney
Notes: Romain Alessandrini has 15 combined goals and assists so far this year, tied for the second most in the league.
Sporting Kansas City
Are Peter Vermes' men the best team in the Western Conference? They're certainly in the conversation thanks to an unblemished run at home (6-0-2), but those credentials would be bolstered by a win in LA, which would buck SoCal history between the two teams.
Fortunately, the Galaxy have been poor at StubHub Center in 2017 (1-3-3), will be without dos Santos thanks to the Confederations Cup and on short rest after a midweek road trip to Colorado. Kansas City, meanwhile, will be well rested and healthy outside of Homegrown centerback Erik Palmer-Brown.
Of course, they'll need goals to take all three points, and Sporting have been streaky in that department this season while their league-best defense keeps them in games and helps grind out results like last weekend's scoreless draw in San Jose. To wit, Dom Dwyer hasn't scored since May 3.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended next yellow card: D Seth Sinovic, M Roger Espinoza
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE – D Erik Palmer-Brown (thigh injury)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Tim Melia – Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic – Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Benny Feilhaber – Gerso Fernandes, Dom Dwyer, Latif Blessing
Notes: Sporting have conceded only seven goals from open play so far this season, the lowest of any team in the league. Only two other MLS teams have conceded less than 10 goals from open play so far this season.
- Overall: Galaxy 24 wins (87 goals), Kansas City 20 wins (69 goals), 14 draws
- At LA Galaxy: Galaxy 16 wins (48 goals), Kansas City 5 wins (26 goals), 7 draws
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Mike Kampmeinert, Adam Garner
Fourth Official: Dave Gantar