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LA Galaxy vs. LAFC: Three Questions

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Checking out LAFC’s foe ahead of Saturday’s showdown.

MLS: LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The big LA rivalry is back, as LAFC head to Carson to take on the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening. Ahead of the showdown, the viral hit three questions feature is back, as I interview myself (twice) on these respective teams. Many thanks to me for answering my questions about the Galaxy here.

Angels on Parade asks LAG Confidential:

1. The Galaxy look overall like they’ve improved under Greg Vanney, winning two of their first three games this season. What is fueling the turnaround?

There are several factors fueling the turnaround in the opening weeks. I think it starts, first and foremost, with Vanney, who has come in and overall brought both a coherent gameplan and a penchant for making adjustments during games to the Galaxy’s benefit. After going down twice and the attack looking anemic in the opening game against Inter Miami, Vanney actually fixed some things in short order and the Galaxy came from behind to win 3-2. I think there is logic, coherence and a style that can actually compete in MLS under Vanney.

Then we’ve seen many of the returning players raise their game, none more so that Chicharito, who leads MLS in scoring with five goals right now. While the Galaxy had plenty of issues in 2020, I think one of the problems was that their main players almost to a man underachieved, so if they merely ‘achieve’ that’s already an improvement. If the likes of Chicharito and Jonathan dos Santos can be elite then this team’s ceiling should be much higher.

And finally the club has actually brought in a lot of new players this season. Many of them haven’t arrived or are just getting up to speed in MLS, but they’ve added pieces in every part of the field, with many of them already making a difference. To name one, Jonathan Bond seems to have been an immediate upgrade at goalkeeper for the club.

2. So things are rosy for the Galaxy! Why did they lose 3-0 last weekend, then?

Yep, that’s a fair question. Look, the Galaxy have fallen off a cliff in recent years, so I think you have to grade on a curve to an extent. They look a lot better, but while they have tangibly improved in results through just three games, that doesn’t mean they won’t still have some bad games. And the game against the Sounders last weekend wasn’t good — the lineup changed, in some ways inexplicably, there was little attacking flow, and the Galaxy’s defense looked particularly weak. I think ultimately, they faced a team that is truly better than them, and I think Saturday’s game will be a great measuring stick for both teams, but in particular for the Galaxy as they make the climb back up to respectability and beyond.

3. How are they going to play against LAFC on Saturday?

I think it’s quite likely the Galaxy will sit back some more to prevent a replica of the loss in Seattle. In that game, Vanney appeared to try and beat the Sounders with their own medicine, playing a very attacking midfield, but leaving Chicharito isolated just compounded the attacking issues anyway. And the defense was like a sieve.

So this time, I bet there will be another defensive-minded midfielder and they’ll probably play in a mid- or low-block and look to counter LAFC, who can obviously get got that way themselves in defense at times. But since the defense has allowed seven goals in three games, there’s work to do in order to shore things up in the back and I don’t see them playing fast and loose, so they’ll likely try to muck things up and catch LAFC on the break or from a set piece.

You can find my answers to...well, my questions about LAFC over at LAG Confidential.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.