Injuries at the beginning of the season, especially to two of your biggest stars, is not that the start one would hope. But that is exactly what first year manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto and the LA Galaxy are dealing with at the moment.
Both Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is suffering from an Achilles’ injury, and Romain Alessandrini (hamstring), will miss their second consecutive game on Saturday.
Ibrahimovic injury optimism
However, GBS was cautious about the prospects of when Ibrahimovic could return. “I think he will start training with us next week and try to get ready for the game against Portland.
“I hope he can come back against Portland and stay all year.”
The Galaxy, last weekend against Dallas, struggled generating any kind of in the final third. Of the 11 shots attempted by GBS’ attack, only one, an Efrain Alvarez attempt, found the target. Three of them were blocked by defenders and another from Rolf Feltscher hit the the frame of the goal.
Meanwhile, Chris Pontius, who was deployed as the striker, will not be a viable option up top if Ibrahimovic injured long term. He created three shots, but none of them tested Dallas’ goalkeeper.
Striker depth concerns
The Argentine manager addressed this need for reinforcements, saying “we are working to bring someone in.”
But until another forward joins, the Galaxy worked on a short term fix ahead of their match against Minnesota United.
Young Uriel Antuna could feature as a striker this Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park. Despite his quickness, Antuna has not played a whole lot in that striker role, which could leave some indecision from him in the final third.
“We practiced with Antuna in that position today (Thursday),” GBS told media. “He’s fast and can be dangerous in that position.
“ … We need to remember he’s 21, but we have a lot of expectations for him.”
If the Manchester City loanee does take that striker spot, expect Pontius to occupy the right wing spot and Emmanuel Boateng on the left.
However, the veteran Pontius should be playing up top once again. This time around, though, the final ball will have to be better and test Minnesota more throughout the match.
The Galaxy will need to be sharp in attack because Minnesota United are dangerous at the other end.
“They’ve done pretty good,” Pontius acknowledged. “They’ve got some attacking weapons. Ever since they’ve gotten (Darwin) Quintero they’ve been a different beast to deal with.”
In their two games so far this season, they have scored six goals and allowed only two. Five different MNUFC members have found the back of the net too, with Darwin Quintero converting two penalty kicks.
So, those mistakes that occurred in defense during the opening matches cannot be a factor this time around.
If the Galaxy can remain compact at the back and be error free, this match should be kept close. However, if the defense remains suspect, Minnesota could turn the screws and break this game wide open.
When, where and how to watch
Who: Galaxy vs Minnesota United
When: 7:30 PM PST
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park
Watch: Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN+