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LA Galaxy vs. Sporting Kansas City | 2018 MLS Match Preview

LA Galaxy vs. Sporting Kansas City
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 6
StubHub Center 
– Carson, Calif.
9:00 pm ET – April 8, 2018
WATCH: FS1 | MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada

What can Zlatan Ibrahimovic do for an encore? We find out Sunday night as the LA Galaxy seek a second consecutive home win against a Sporting Kansas City side that has won three of their last four.

Sporting have gone undefeated in the last six meetings with the Galaxy (3W-3D) and there has been an average of 2.5 goals per game over this span, per Opta.

LA Galaxy  

By now you’ve seen the game, or the highlights, or the tweets, or the analysis. Zlatan Ibrahimovic flipped the script in the first "El Trafico," scoring a pair of goals in just 19 minutes off the bench, including the stoppage-time winner as the LA Galaxy (2-1-1) rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat LAFC, 4-3

In addition to being named to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 5, Zlatan was named the Alcatel MLS Player of the Week as voted by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR).

Perhaps a bit lost in all the Zlatan love was what Sebastian Lletget and Chris Pontius did, scoring a pair of goals 12 minutes apart, to set the table for Zlatan's late heroics.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Romain Alessandrini (hamstring), F - Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: F - Giovani dos Santos (hamstring), M - Jonathan dos Santos (hamstring); D - Michael Ciani (groin)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: David Bingham — Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole — Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos — Sebastian Lletget, Giovani dos Santos, Ema Boateng — Ola Kamara

  • Notes: Ibrahimović’s brace against LAFC took place in just 19 minutes of playing time. There have only been five other instances of a player scoring two goals in a single game with 19 or less minutes of playing time since the start of the 2010 MLS season. … The Galaxy’s 4-3 comeback victory against LAFC last weekend was just the 12th time in league history that a team came back from a three-goal deficit to secure a result, and the second ever to win such a game in regulation (Seattle vs D.C., July 23, 2017).

Sporting Kansas City      

Now that’s the Sporting side we know so well. After conceding multiple goals in their first four games — and scoring nine goals in their last three — SKC (3-1-1) locked things down defensively for their first clean sheet of the season and Felipe Gutierrez continued his torrid start to his MLS career with his league-leading fifth goal, but left the match due to injury in a 1-0 win over D.C. United.

After dropping their season-opener to NYCFC, Sporting have gone unbeaten in their last four and head to the StubHub Center following their best defensive effort of the season. 

“Tonight, I thought we were locked in,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said after the game. “We knew when it was time to step up, when to drop off, when to clear the ball, when to keep possession. It was smart by the group.”

Ike Opara and Ilie Sanchez were named to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 5. Ilie also found himself on Andrew Wiebe's All-Underrated Best XI.

  • Suspended: None 
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: M - Felipe Gutierrez (undisclosed)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Tim Melia — Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Jimmy Medranda — Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie Sanchez, Roger Espinoza — Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi

  • Notes: Gutiérrez enters this weekend with a MLS-best five goals. Only two Sporting Kansas City players had more than five goals in 2017. … Sporting’s 1-0 win over D.C. United was a third win in four games, despite conceding at least two goals in their first four games of 2018. They have conceded nine goals already this year, after only conceding 29 in all of last season.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: LA Galaxy SC 24 wins, 89 goals … Sporting Kansas City 22 wins, 73 goals … Ties 14
  • At Los Angeles: Galaxy 16 wins, 49 goals … Sporting 6 wins, 28 goals … Ties 7
  • Last meeting at Los Angeles: LA Galaxy 1, Sporting Kansas City 2 (June 24, 2017)

Referees

Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Kathryn Nesbitt
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Ricardo Salazar

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Current Form

LA Galaxy
Sporting KC

Season Stats

LA GalaxySporting Kansas City
4Games Played5
2Wins3
1Losses1
1Draws1
7Goals10
6Goals Conceded9
31Shots55
13Shots on Target29
47Fouls committed59
44Fouls suffered42
6Offside8
18Corners42

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
LA1110171.8
SKC11111102
01234+Avg
LA001013
SKC110101.3
01234+Avg
LA110000.5
SKC001013

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
LA1111061.5
SKC1031091.8
01234+Avg
LA010102
SKC102001.3
01234+Avg
LA101001
SKC001102.5
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