After their 2023 MLS season started a week late, the Los Angeles Galaxy might still be catching up. They opened their campaign with a dismal 3-1 away loss to bogey team, FC Dallas. LA’s defense looked suspect by conceding three goals in 20+ minutes. Meanwhile, lack of width meant the galactic attack generated little to no offense. The Galaxy will try to rebound and get their first three points of the season away against SKC. But SKC is the Galaxy’s other bogey team. They haven’t beaten SKC in four matches, with their last win coming in 2019.
LA Galaxy vs. SKC Predictions
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 7, 2023
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
While it’s true that the Galaxy looked pretty poor in their opening match, that’s exactly what it was, the first match of the season. LA has two DPs out, a right back on the way in, a reported bid in for a left back, and a starting winger to buy. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see more than half of the starting lineup against FC Dallas, move to a bench role once those reinforcements are brought in. And they need help.
Against FCD, Galaxy striker Dejan Joveljic had only two touches in the opposing box. Part of this could be down to the Serbian still getting used to starting. It’s definitely the lack of service he’s getting, however. Since there are no true wingers in the team beyond Tyler Boyd, there is no width to stretch the field. Because of this, the Galaxy needs to try to force the ball into the middle, and so far, it isn’t working. Stretching the field is precisely where FC Dallas made the Galaxy pay. Dallas sprayed long-ball passes out wide and stretched the Galaxy defense, which could not deal with the simple tactic. It led to LA giving up three unanswered goals.
The game out of reach, Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney brought on Jalen Neal and Preston Judd to make their MLS debuts. Both immediately looked like upgrades to their more experienced counterparts. Neal in particular goes from strength to strength. Against FC Dallas, he instantly brought more stability to the back line and if there was ever a good time to start him, it would be against SKC. In fact, this is a good moment for the Galaxy to break their streak against their other bogey team as well. With all three SKC DPs expected to not feature, it might be the moment for Neal and the Galaxy to make some good memories in SKC.
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SKC’s Current Run of Form
The Ex-KC Wiz hasn’t started its season in the best way either. As mentioned, SKC is playing without all three of their DPs (Johnny Russell, Alan Pulido, and Gadi Kinda). Veteran 36-year-old Midfielder Roger Espinoza’s experience will be relied upon to get the club through the injury spell as well as Graham Zusi. A makeshift lineup doesn’t make for loads of free-flowing football and the team is still looking for its first goal this year.
SKC was unlucky not to get their goal against Colorado, though. They peppered William Yarbrough’s goal with several point-blank shots. Their 15 shots on target, are the second most for an MLS club in the young season so far. And they have weapons that can hurt the Galaxy. In last year’s fixtures, Daniel Salloi had a goal and an assist. William Agada did even better grabbing an assist and two goals in two matches.
The Galaxy’s other bogey team, Sporting Kansas City has only lost two of its last 14 matches against LA. This streak, with seven wins for SKC and five ties, dates back to October 2015. The Galaxy gave up six goals in two games to this team last year. For a side hungry for their first goal of the season, if they get one on the Galaxy early, they’ll try to feast as FCD did.
LA goalkeeper Jonathan Bond lost three out of four games against SKC, allowing 10 goals on 22 shots faced. His coach fares no better. Vanney is winless in nine MLS meetings against Peter Vermes and Sporting, losing five of those. The only saving grace for the Galaxy is that usual thorn Johnny Russell will be out recovering from injury for this match.
LA Galaxy vs. SKC Prediction
No wingers? No problem. Look for LA to shake off the opening-day blues with a recovery win against SKC. They have to win. With as injury stricken as SKC is, the Galaxy might not get another chance like this for a long time. The defense will recover and Dejan will add to his goal tally to inspire LA’s victory.