Guillermo Barros Schelotto will manage his first match as the head coach of the LA Galaxy on Saturday as his first campaign gets underway.
Throughout the preseason, the Galaxy looked like a side that was trying to find its identity.
The Argentine takes charge for the first time at Dignity Health Sports Park and welcomes in the Chicago Fire.
LA started out their preseason in great fashion, getting a resounding 4-1 win over Japanese club Vissel Kobe, which featured Spain greats Andreas Iniesta, David Villa, and Fernando Torres. Now former Galaxy striker Ola Kamara got two goals in this match, with Emmanuel Boateng netting another.
Then, in a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC, an own goal from the visiting team saw both sides come away splitting the preseason points.
Next up came two closed-door friendlies with Atlanta United and the Vancouver Whitecaps. However, both wound up as goalless draws. The signs of an improved defense is starting to take shape, but work on the offensive end is still required.
In the final preseason match, the Galaxy took a slight step back, losing handily by a score of 4-1 to the Colorado Rapids at the Dignity Health Sports Park.
There were a handful of roster moves that kept the front office busy leading up to the first match of 2019.
First, early in the week, Ola Kamara indicated that he wanted a different opportunity to play soccer elsewhere. On Thursday, the Galaxy moved the 29-year-old striker to Shenzhen F.C. of the Chinese Super League.
General Manager Dennis te Kloese said in a release from the Galaxy that, “This decision will be mutually beneficial to both the club and Ola (Kamara).
“ … We thank Ola for what he has contributed to this club and wish him the best in the future.”
Then, to kick off March, the Galaxy traded the Colorado Rapids $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to acquire the number one spot in the Waiver Order. This move allowed LA to claim LA Galaxy II defender Julian Araujo off of waivers.
“Julian is one of the best young defenders in Southern California and we’re thrilled that he’s chosen to begin his professional career with the LA Galaxy,” te Klose said.
One more move was left to make. Per Major League Soccer rules, a club is only allowed to have three Designated Players on their roster.
However, the Galaxy had four de facto Designated Players. With the rosters due to be submitted at 5:00 PM PST, Giovani dos Santos’ contract was bought out to meet the roster requirements.
“We have come to this decision and believe that it is best for the club and Giovani,” the general manager said in a release.
Now, let’s finally talk about the match itself. With Kamara now in China, expect Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be the lone striker up top in a possible 4-2-3-1 formation.
Romain Alessandrini should occupy his usual spot down the right flank, while cutting inside when he has the ball.
Both Sebastian Lletget, Perry Kitchen, and Juninho are suffering from undisclosed injuries and will be out this match. That means that the midfield should be patrolled by Jonathan Dos Santos and Servando Carrasco.
There should not be much change in the back line from what we have seen throughout the preseason. Jørgen Skjelvik and Rolf Feltscher will play left and right back respectively. Daniel Steres is in line to occupy one of the central defender spots, with new boy Diego Polenta playing alongside Steres.
When, where, and how to watch
When: Saturday, March 2nd, 5:00 PM PST.
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park
Watch: Fox Sports 1