Scouting Report: Will FC Dallas find success against the LA Galaxy?

The second year of the Vanney era has started well. They may still be too reliant on aging stars, but Vanney is making improvements on defense. The Galaxy enter the weekend with a record 6W-3L-1D – tied with FC Dallas on 19 points – good for third in the West. The off-season saw the departures of Jonathan dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget and the highly publicized arrival of former Brazilian Douglas Costa from Gremio (and other clubs) and the less publicized Mark Delgado from FCToronto. Early feedback indicates Delgado was the best acquisition.

Is anyone surprised LA overpaid for an over-the-top player? I thought Vanney was smarter than that, but maybe that thought process is too ingrained in the club.

Recent results

Date Residence Score A way
Date Residence Score A way
4/9 THE 2-1 LAFC
4/16 Chicago 0-0 THE
04/19 – USOC THE 1-0 True to San Diego
4/23 THE 1-0 Nashville
4/30 Real salt lake 1-0 THE
5/8 Austin 0-1 THE
5/11 – USOC Cal United Strikers 2-3 THE

The Galaxy is 3W-1L-1D in their last five league matches. Good results – especially the away game in Austin. However, the first element that jumps out at me is the rarity of the score. Prior to the attack on California United Strikers FC (of the National Independent Soccer Association [I had to look that one up]), LA have scored just five goals in their last six games. Of course, they only allowed two goals in that span. Granted, Chicago, Nashville, and RSL are all in the bottom half of the league in goals scored (and San Diego is a championship team), but it’s still a good defense. When was the last time we said that about LA?

LA is in the top five in the league for key assists (five players have double-digit KPs) and in the top ten for shots; however, those passes and shots did not translate into goals. They are third in corner kicks but bottom five in shot accuracy.

LA Stats

Player Blows Goals Aids
Player Blows Goals Aids
Chicharito 27 5 0
Douglas Costa 16 1 0
Efrain Alvarez 19 1 0
Kevin Cabral ten 0 0
Rahim Edwards 11 0 5
Rayan Raveloson 14 0 2
Jader Obrian (for comparison) 8 1 1

Given Chicharito’s injury history, those numbers must be keeping Greg Vanney awake at night. Sam Jones wrote this week, “If your plan in MLS goes somewhere along the lines of ‘playing elite defense, creating opportunities for Chicharito and taking whatever contributions you can get from everyone’, you’ll go pretty far. I do not agree. If he falls it looks bleak for the Galaxy which is why some football pundits (I’m trying to remember what Matt Doyle said last week) are just waiting for them to start sliding down the rankings so that other teams are sorting out their first-season problems. But right now, Javier Hernandez is their plan A and their plan B.

As for elite defense, LA shares the lead in fewer goals against (7) with Dallas. And only two of those goals came in the middle of play. Commentators noted that LA was happy to get a result against Austin, and based on the numbers above, the Galaxy aren’t creating much danger at home. future and is happy to play for a 1-0 win.

Player Ratings for LA:

  1. In Matt Doyle’s words, “Douglas Costa, who they signed this offseason, has been a number, while Kevin Cabral profiles (and produces) more like a signing for the U22 Initiative – a tool child who may be compelling, but who is frustrating much, much more often than not.” Neither winger had more than a handful of passes against Austin, and only a few in the final third. With just one goal from the pair, the onus falls squarely on Chicharito.
  2. The central defender duo Derrick Williams and Sega Coulibaly have come into their own this season. Both were acquired before last season but this year the pair have been strong despite not being widely known.
  3. Jonathan Bond: The keeper has five clean sheets in ten games. His defense helps him, but he still beats the numbers: G-xG = -.49. Of course, the same metric shows Paes at -1.49, so I guess our keeper is good too.

Alignment prediction: 4-2-3-1

Costa E. Alvarez Cabral
Delgado Raveloson
R. Edwards Williams Coulibally – Araujo


OUT: Adam Saldaña (left ankle), Jorge Villafaña (left knee), Víctor Vázquez (upper right leg)

Game time:

9:30 p.m. Central Time, Dignity Heath Sport Park, Carson, CA. Should be around 85 degrees with clear skies.