In a season full of turmoil, of more downs than ups, the Los Angeles Galaxy will get a rare break when they host Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. A supporter homecoming will be the boost the Galaxy needs to lift itself from the league and conference bottom. After months away due to a protest over the continued employment of Galaxy President Chris Klein, the return of the Galaxy supporter groups will act as the 12th player on the field for LA. And after an encouraging away tie against Western Conference leaders St. Louis City, the Galaxy is starting to show signs of life. More importantly, some of their most important players are starting to step up.
LA Galaxy vs. SKC at Dignity Health Sports Park
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
Unbeaten in its last two MLS games, including a “special” 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake, the Galaxy will try to keep that momentum going. They’ll need to. At almost the midway point of the season, their 3-4-9 record is good enough to be tied for last place in the Western Conference and MLS with 13 points and a -13 goal difference. In eight matches played at Dignity Health Sports Park across all competitions during the 2023 campaign, the Galaxy holds a 3-4-1 record (12 GF, 12 GA).
This could be the match that turns it around in LA. If the Galaxy is missing Dejan Jovelic for international duty, first-year forward Preston Judd could become a hero in front of the returning Galaxy faithful with a good match and a couple of goals. Similarly, Douglas Costa could gain more ground in winning over Galaxy fans, by continuing his good performances. Can he build off his two-goal contributions in the last two Galaxy games?
If Costa and Tyler Boyd can continue to be dangerous for LA, Riqui Puig will have consistent options to look for on the attack. Defender Jalen Neal will be a huge miss for LA as he departs for USMNT Gold Cup duty.
Sporting Kansas City’s Current Run of Form
Just a few weeks ago, Sporting Kansas City and the Galaxy were locked in a battle to see who could be the league’s most laughable team. Since the start of May, they’ve turned it around. In that period, SKC has produced the third most points in the league and the most among all Western Conference clubs.
Although their last match was a tough 2-1 home loss to LAFC, before that, they were unbeaten in four and had lost just once in the last seven contests. They’ve lost just three times in the last games and that streak has helped them climb to 10th place with a 5-5-9 record and 20 points. And a lot of it can be attributed to the return from injury of Alan Pulido. His five goals and three assists are powering an offense that was struggling to produce. Combined with the return of Johnny Russel and the steady contributions of Erik Thommy and Daniel Salloi, SKC is suddenly one of the hottest teams in MLS.
The Galaxy still can’t seem to get a win over SKC. Kansas City has frustrated LA four matches in a row. The last contest was a scoreless draw on the road, with honors being shared 2-2 in the game before that in Los Angeles. The last Galaxy win over SKC was at home on September 15, 2019, in a 7-2 win in which Zlatan starred. Additionally, Sporting Kansas City has only lost two of its last 14 matches against LA. This streak, with seven SKC wins and five ties, dates back to October 2015. With SKC Head Coach Peter Vermes getting the better of Greg Vanney on the last ten occasions, Vanney and the Galaxy might be due.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy_Es) March 12, 2023
LA Galaxy vs. SKC Prediction
The supporter homecoming is the X factor here. The Galaxy won’t have a first-choice starting lineup and has traditionally had trouble against SKC. But, they will be at home, and they will have their supporters behind them. For a team lacking in getting some lucky breaks this year, this feel-good feeling and celebratory mood at Dignity Health Sports Park should be enough to carry the day for LA. Look for a Los Angeles Galaxy win that will extend their unbeaten streak to three games. It will also set them up nicely for a weekend away trip, where they will do battle with MLS’ other last-place team, the Colorado Rapids. This could be the Galaxy’s most important game this year.