Frisco, TX – The Los Angeles Galaxy traveled to Dallas on Saturday, March 4 to open their 2023 MLS campaign and displayed the form their lone star visits have become known for. FC Dallas humbled LA in a 3-1 lesson and extended the Galaxy’s winless run against FCD to seven games. These LA Galaxy post-match talking points try to shed light on why Los Angeles could not get any points in match day one and snap a winless run dating back to 2015.
If the Galaxy is going to start winning these matches, they’ll need to sort out their twin Achilles heels. Their suspect defense and a roster that is still uncertain cost them again. What is certain is that the roster needs depth. A lack of options leaves Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney short of options and the ability to play in his preferred method. Reinforcements are needed to help LA find success on both ends of the pitch.
LA Galaxy Post-Match
Jesus Ferreira took over as @FCDallas walk away with all three points. pic.twitter.com/7cidnkGSmq
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 5, 2023
Defense Gets Undone
This game played out just like you’d expect based on the fixtures last year. The only thing of difference was the members of the back line. Then, as now, the Galaxy defense was slow and unresponsive and could not deal with the FCD attack. Jesus Ferreira, Paul Arriola, and Alan Velasco moved Galaxy Center Backs Chris Mavinga and Martin Cáceres out of shape at will. Mavinga in particular had a regular season debut to forget for LA, having been involved if not at fault for all three FC Dallas goals in the loss. While Raheem Edwards will never want to see a replay of Arriola muscling him off the ball to set up the home team’s equalizer just before the half.
After Dallas got the tie, it was all FCD. The Galaxy backline wilted and gave up three unanswered goals.
“It was very stretched. We obviously want to play high to compress the game, but then, obviously, when you’re high, you can’t give the ball away. Otherwise, you’re exposed. And we’re doing a lot of emergency defending. Whether that’s center backs trying to make plays, or people running back, or myself running out,” Galaxy Goalkeeper Jonathan Bond explained. “It’s all very difficult to do, especially when they’ve got so much speed. [Paul] Arriola, [Jesús] Ferreira, [Alan] Velasco. Those guys thrive off that space, and they just had too much of it today.”
Debuts for Jalen Neal and Preston Judd
The troubling thing is, Dallas should have had more. Ferreira announced his intentions early with a driven shot that struck the bar in the third minute. In the end, both center-backs lost Ferreira on Dallas’ third goal, which sealed Ferreira’s brace and FCD’s victory. The Galaxy looked much better once Vanney brought on Jalen Neal and Preston Judd, who made their MLS debuts in the loss. The 19-year-old Neal’s quickness lets him bring calm to the defense. He was able to anticipate the start of opposing attacks before they happened.
About what we expected with Chicharito and Costa out. Mavinga and Caceres your CB pairing.
Wingers are Alvarez and Memo. #LAGalaxy #MLS https://t.co/vwn1K4JSAn
— Corner Of The Galaxy (@GalaxyPodcast) March 5, 2023
Did Dejan Joveljić Do Enough?
With Chicharito out, Dejan Joveljić had a chance to lead the line. It led to a performance where the Serbian Striker was only allowed two touches in the opposing box. One of those touches was a goal, however, and Joveljić supporters will say he lacked any kind of service. Whether Joveljić is a victim of the lineup at the moment or just isn’t made to be a starter in Vanney’s system, is irrelevant. While the captain is out, Joveljić needs to find a way to score, and he isn’t going to do it with just two touches.
“We need him to stretch the field, be a little dynamic and get behind that backline. In general, he played a solid match, but again, it’s recognizing the personalities on the field and recognizing the roles within the group,” Vanney said of Joveljić’s performance in the LA Galaxy post-match press conference. The striker is undoubtedly a good player, who Vanney said does the small things when not scoring. Joveljić’s main job is scoring though, and his coach needs him to start if they are to weather Chicharito’s absence. If he doesn’t find the net, Preston Judd is certainly ready to come in and try to take over some minutes.
Leerdam 🇸🇷 ➡️ Joveljić 🇷🇸 pic.twitter.com/7ZgrxQzYmT
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 5, 2023
Reinforcements Are Needed
It was clear on the field and at the risk of repetition, the Los Angeles Galaxy needs wingers. They need wide players. And yes, they certainly need dependable depth pieces. Two of their most important, and DP, are players are out through injury leaving them short on the attack. Douglas Costa probably could have troubled Dallas with his ability to stretch the field had been fit and on his game. His absence meant the Galaxy started the game with Efrain Alvarez and Memo Rodriguez on the wings. Both were serviceable enough to bring in off the bench to cover the wing later on in a match. But, not to be starting wingers for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Neither’s ability is in question, their fit on wings is.
The Galaxy hasn’t made it easy on itself. Instead of working quickly to set their roster, the club is still scrambling to put a competitive starting 11 on the pitch. They have one piece added already. Brazilian Lucas Calegari is working through visa issues and is expected to slide into Julian Araujo’s right-back spot. The club claims it is working to bring in “two to three” more signings, and they’ll need them.
The team lacks a viable threat on the wing, and without this key piece, who knows how Vanney will get the team to play like he wants? They also need to fix the defense, their other Achilles heel. The Los Angeles Galaxy has just a week to figure it out. They’ll play Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m., in their second straight-away match.
🚨[EXCLUSIVO] Los Angeles Galaxy tiene negociaciones avanzadas para comprar un porcentaje de Julián Aude.
*️⃣Ya hay oferta formal por el lateral izquierdo de 19 años y Lanús discute los aspectos finales para finiquitar la operación. #LAGalaxy pic.twitter.com/ETDJ91B8Tn
— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) March 5, 2023