The LA Galaxy were once the crown jewel of Major League Soccer, but that is not the case in 2017.
Los Angeles has struggled mightily after the departures of recognized names like Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Bruce Arena. Head coach Curt Onalfo was fired in late July and former Columbus Crew SC champion Sigi Schmid was brought back to the Galaxy.
Now LA comes to Columbus, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference, 11 points out of a playoff spot.
The Galaxy enter this game without a win in the team’s last eight matches, so this is an opportunity for Crew SC. To be fair though, LA is tied for the most road wins in MLS, meaning the Black & Gold cannot take the midweek opponent lightly.
Both teams will be slightly depleted for this one — no Giovani dos Santos and Jermaine Jones for Los Angeles due to injuries and no Harrison Afful for Columbus due to suspension — meaning adjustments will have to be made.
How does our staff feel about this second game of three in eight? Let’s take a look.
The Galaxy are really a hit-and-miss kind of team. They have all the star power in the world but somehow have been one of the biggest disappointments in Major League Soccer this season.
Los Angeles has performed dreadfully at home with a record of 1-7-4 and maintained one of the best record on the road going 5-5-1. This will be a nice test for Crew SC and truly will see how ready this team could be for a playoff run. The Galaxy are expected to be without Jermaine Jones and I expect that to actually be beneficial to LA.
The Black & Gold will still encounter Jonathan dos Santos and possibly Romain Alessandrini. Columbus will have to limit mental errors and work together as a team to overcome the challenge that Los Angeles presents.
Columbus Crew SC 1 LA Galaxy 0
This is a bit of a tricky one because LA is a better team than its record indicates. If you’ve actually watched the Galaxy this season, the team creates chances and has the firepower to be dangerous in any given moment.
With that said, there will be no Giovani dos Santos or Jermaine Jones in this one and possibly Romain Alessandrini, who is a game time decision. Crew SC will miss out on Harrison Afful, who’s out after the red card last week.
I believe we see the return of Federico Higuain in this game, but how will that work? Is it a return to the 4-2-3-1 for Columbus in order to get Pipa, Justin Meram and new Designated Player signing Pedro Santos on the field together or does one sit in the 3-4-2-1 formation?
These next two home games are big for the Black & Gold’s playoff hopes. I think this is a must win for Crew SC, and I think the team gets it done.
Columbus Crew SC 3 LA Galaxy 1
I have some concerns, especially if Artur is still out, because of LA's ability to exploit that central space with trailing runs from Joao Pedro and Jonathan Dos Santos, and Romain Alessandrini, if he plays, cutting inside. That said, I'll pretend that Artur plays and everything is fine!
The Galaxy are one of MLS's toughest road teams, for whatever reason, but I think Columbus has its back against the wall, and LA is demolished by injuries, as it has been all year. No Gio Dos Santos, no Jermaine Jones. Maybe no Allesandrini? Especially if the answer to that final question is no, then there is no excuse for Columbus to lose to a Galaxy side with zero ability to break down a defense.
Midweek player rotation is always a wild card, but I'm hoping either the return of Federico Higuain or the inclusion of Pedro Santos adds some spark for Crew SC. I was already optimistic, but the LA injury news makes me feel confident. Will that hold up all homestand?
Columbus Crew SC 2 LA Galaxy 1
I’m not too concerned about LA. The Galaxy have, no question, struggled this season, having not claimed a league victory since June 21. It's nice to watch a large market team flounder, no?
While fans will like to soak up this imploded Galaxy side, they should be keeping an eye on MLS newcomer Romain Alessandrini. If he plays, he can create problems.
Crew SC have beaten Los Angeles once over the past seven seasons. Columbus looks to be sitting in a better spot to seize three points this time around. The Black & Gold have better depth, home fan backing, and the chance of seeing something special from the new Designated Player Pedro Santos.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Los Angeles Galaxy 1
Crew SC return home for an important three-match stand and get one of the worst Galaxy teams in years, without multiple starting players.
While not yet mathematically eliminated, LA haven't show any interest in winning with only one point in its last eight matches. Throw in the loss of center back Jelle Van Damme, the absence of Jermaine Jones, and the lack of Giovanni Dos Santos and Columbus have no excuse not to grab the first three points in this crucial home stand.
I expect, and hope, to see much more of Pedro Santos. Maybe we will even see three DPs on the field for the Black & Gold.
Columbus Crew SC 2 LA Galaxy 1
Few teams in MLS are having a more disappointing season than the LA Galaxy. The Californians are virtually out of playoff contention and have won one game in the last two months, losing eight of its last nine matches (and tied the other one) and changed their coach during the terrible streak.
Against Crew SC, LA will not have injured Giovani dos Santos and Jermaine Jones and former captain Jelle van Damme, who returned to Belgium. Romain Alessandrini is still questionable. Against a team that is going through an awful moment and has so many absences, Columbus has everything in hand to get the three points at home.
Columbus Crew SC 2 LA Galaxy 0
It’s a big clash at MAPFRE Stadium and we seem pretty optimistic. How do you feel about Wednesday’s contest?