Orlando City

Intelligence Report: Orlando City vs. LA Galaxy

It’s time to get up to speed on the LA Galaxy before their visit to Exploria Stadium.



Image courtesy of Orlando City

Happy Friday, everyone! Orlando City has another bite at the apple to attempt to right the wobbly ship of its form at Exploria Stadium. This week sees the LA Galaxy come to town for an inter-conference tilt.

A visit from the Galaxy means I spoke to Alicia Rodriguez, who covered the Galaxy on SBNation’s LAG Confidential. The site has not yet relaunched after SBNation’s cuts to MLS sites, but they have plans in the works to launch independently. Alicia and the folks at LAG Confidential have always done a great job with their coverage, so make sure you keep an eye out for their relaunch!

Who were some of the Galaxy’s big off-season departures, and how have those players been replaced?

Alicia Rodriguez: The Galaxy lost their top young Homegrown, defender Julian Araujo, to a delayed transfer to FC Barcelona, which is still sort of a weird sentence to write, but the kind of move that’s genuinely exciting to see. Hopefully he can make the grade at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Beyond that, the Galaxy more or less dumped their French connection, trading away attacker Kevin Cabral, who had a mighty case of the yips, and letting attacker Samuel Grandsir return to France after an inconsistent run.

In the meantime, the club opted to sign two South American youngsters at the fullback spots — Brazilian Lucas Calegari and Argentine Julian Aude — and the highest profile attacker they added was former U.S. international Tyler Boyd. Honestly, Calegari and Aude have just arrived, so they are still getting adjusted, although they’ve looked solid in limited minutes, while Boyd started terribly but has come on well the past couple weeks. If LA can get consistent production from him, they should be in much better shape in general, but time will tell on that front.

There’s been a lot of off-field noise surrounding the Galaxy with Chris Klein and supporters groups voicing their displeasure with him. Do you feel that’s had any effect on the performance on the field?

AR: I don’t know if the fan boycott itself has affected the team, but I think the fans not turning out at the stadium in regular numbers certainly has. The efforts to get Klein to leave the organization have been percolating for years, so the recent fever pitch is not as spontaneous as you might think. Plus, even without the fan boycott, the pressure is on this club — they’re supposed to be a league standard-bearer but they’ve been shambolic in so many ways over the past eight years. Galaxy fans expect to win, and I think they may be the most demanding fanbase in the league. They’re fed up, and they’re willing to stay home and not chant for their team if it leads to major changes. With the team off to a poor start this season, patience is wearing thin and the players do feel that pressure. But their only choice is to play through it. I hope while they are doing their jobs, they understand why the fans aren’t supporting them the same way they usually do, and that this situation has a positive resolution in the end. We’ll see.

The Galaxy got their first win of the season last week against Austin FC. What went right in that game that had been missing in previous weeks?

AR: I think two factors really tipped the scales in their favor: Chicharito got his first start of the season, and Austin has been awful lately. Chicharito was out the first month of the season with an injury, and after his first two seasons were injury-plagued, it was concerning, especially when the Galaxy were sluggish out of the gates without him. But he brings a fire, raises the skill level, and obviously scores goals, and his goal scored in the win was classic Chicharito.

I think now that he’s in the lineup and healthy, we can really gauge the season moving forward for LA, because they don’t look like they can cope really at all without him for a sustained period. But I wouldn’t discount the opposition, because Austin has played really pretty badly in most of their games so far this year. This was one of those games that could break a slump for a struggling team, and fortunately for the Galaxy, they got that bounce, while Austin ended up serving as cannon fodder on the night. Hey, you can only play the teams in front of you, and the Galaxy took care of business.

Are there any players unavailable for selection due to injury, suspension, etc? What is your projected starting lineup and score prediction?

In terms of availability, Riqui Puig is suspended, which should be a big relief for Orlando City.

Predicted XI: GK – Jonathan Klinsmann; Lucas Calegari, Jalen Neal, Martin Caceres, Julian Aude; Mark Delgado, Gaston Brugman, Memo Rodriguez; Dejan Joveljic, Chicharito, Tyler Boyd.

Score prediction not provided.

Thank you to Alicia for helping get us caught up on the Galaxy. Vamos Orlando!


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