Inconsistent LA Galaxy Look for Answers against Inconsistent New York Red Bulls

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CARSON, CA - APRIL 21: Giovani dos Santos #10 of Los Angeles Galaxy plays the ball on the attack against Jeff Larentowicz #18 of Atlanta United during the second half of their MLS match at StubHub Center on April 21, 2018 in Carson, California. Atlanta United defeated the Galaxy 2-0. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Carson, Calif. – The LA Galaxy face off against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday at the StubHub Center in what seems to be an even contest between two sides trying to find a run of consistent form. The Galaxy play their second consecutive home-game following their 2-0 defeat to Atlanta United FC. The Galaxy have had checkered results this season.

Similarly, the Red Bulls have alternated between winning and losing. With both teams coming off a loss, either the Galaxy or the Red Bulls will end the match with back-to-back losses for the first time in 2018.

LA Galaxy New York Red Bulls Preview: Looking for Consistency in Bicoastal Contest

LA Galaxy vs New York Red Bulls
2018 MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center
April 28, 2018 – 7:30 pm PT
Stream: ESPN+

The LA Galaxy have been in a poor run of form recently. They have eagerly been attempting to build chemistry and tactical familiarity. Unfortunately, they must take two steps backward after Rolf Feltscher has apparently torn his right pectoral muscle. That injury means he will be sidelined for a considerable duration of time.

In addition to Feltscher’s injury, the Galaxy will be missing Jonathan dos Santos who is still recovering from his calf injury sustained before the Atlanta United match.

The Formation

The most interesting thing to watch in this contest will be whether or not the Galaxy continue with their 4-4-2 or if they decide to go with a 3-5-2.

4-4-2

With Feltscher injured, they could very easily give newcomer Emrah Klimenta his debut. This is the easy, pragmatic choice. Klimenta deserves to start considering Feltscher’s uninspiring performances this season. If the Galaxy decide to stick with a 4-4-2, they would benefit from keeping the four midfielders more central as the Galaxy have been dominated in the middle of the field all season.

3-5-2

With great risk comes great reward. An LA Galaxy side that has only scored eight goals in seven contests could use a shake-up to ignite the offense.  Putting it in perspective, four of those goals came in El Trafico. This means the LA Galaxy have only scored four goals in their other six games.

While the math is simple, the solution is not. The Galaxy, who have the most individually talented roster in the league, are being outscored per game by all but five teams. Clearly, this is a problem. Compounding issues, the Galaxy are creating fewer chances than all but four other teams.

A risky solution to this is to turn to a three-man defense. By bolstering the midfield, the LA Galaxy might be able to avoid the problem that hurts them the most: losing possession in the midfield. They simply haven’t been good enough in the middle of the field, and they must be intentional in finding a solution if they intend to win this game.

Prediction: LA Galaxy 2, New York Red Bulls 2

This has all the ingredients for a draw. Both teams are inconsistent, yet they both are capable of brilliance. The Galaxy have the sexy hired guns who have been brought in to score goals and save face for a franchise in need of an identity. The Red Bulls have a young core that is growing up together. (See: Tyler AdamsAlejandro Romero Gamarra, Carlos Rivas, et al.)

Expect the Galaxy to hold the possession in this game. They have lacked a team identity for most of the season, and with their lack of pace becoming more apparent, a slow, possession style attack is something that will suit them well. Furthermore, if they are able to pass around the back, they will entice NYRB to throw players forward into the press. This will allow the Galaxy to spring forward and find gaps for the final pass.

The final task will require the LA Galaxy to finish in the back of the net. This has eluded them in 2018, but every season has its ebbs and flows. It’s time for the Galaxy goals to start flowing.

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