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Sounders vs LA Galaxy: Three Questions

Seattle hosts the OGs at Noon30 on FOX and FOX Deportes.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Once upon a time the LA Galaxy were the dynasty. Then they fell, hard. The reboot started in 2021, but Greg Vanney (former Seattle Sounders broadcast analyst) really took charge this last off-season. The Galaxy have re-embraced DPs full of fame, including new signing Douglas Costa and one-time most famous player in Concacaf, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

The supporting staff is quite talented, at least in the midfield. There may be problems in defense, which is why they signed Eriq Zavaleta yesterday. If you remember Zavaleta it’s because he was a forward/centerback with the Sounders who moved on to Toronto, eventually winning an MLS Cup with his uncle — who is now his coach again.

The game starts at noon30 and the weather looks great until about 2:30 PM. The match is on big FOX because these are two teams full of stars and history.

For LAG Confidential, Alicia answers Three Questions.

SaH: The Galaxy offense seems like it should be even more explosive than 2021, assuming Douglas Costa transitions to MLS better than his last few moves. Is this a safe assumption?

LAGC: I think the attack last year was Chicharito or bust, and I think the hope is that he can continue to produce while also getting more players in the goals more regularly. Kevin Cabral is the big X-factor — if he can actually score some more of the great looks he gets, then LA should be in a better place in attack. Dejan Joveljic hasn’t broken through to the first-choice XI yet, but he’s a Chicharito-esque striker and he’ll get looks, too. And then there’s midfielders like Efrain Alvarez, Rayan Raveloson, Sacha Kljestan and Victor Vazquez capable of scoring some goals, too. The big thing is getting it all together. Chicharito has a goal, Alvarez has a goal, and we’ll see if they and the rest of the cast can make the Galaxy attack more prolific and multi-faceted this season.

SaH: Without Sebastian Lletget and Jonathan Dos Santos, who controls the tempo?

LAGC: So far, Raveloson has effectively taken dos Santos’ role in midfield. They don’t play the same way, but dos Santos’ weakness was his role is hard to build around and then he was hurt a lot, so Raveloson’s more straightforward “jack of all trades” style of midfield may fit better in the long run. And then Mark Delgado has basically replaced Lletget, although those two don’t play much alike, either. Lletget was, in my opinion, a pure attacker miscast as a two-way midfielder, which basically wasted his talents at club level in LA. Delgado is entirely a two-way midfielder, and his unflashy game has really impressed through two weeks. I don’t think it would be a huge stretch to say that his presence may have been the last 5 percent needed to get these first two wins of the season for the Galaxy.

SaH: Vanney added two former Sounders to be bench depth. Will Kelvin Leerdam or Eriq Zavaleta be more important to the season?

LAGC: The easy but unsatisfying answer is time will tell. If Julian Araujo gets sold in the summer transfer window, then Leerdam will be pressed into action immediately. If Araujo stays healthy and available for the Galaxy, then Leerdam will be more of a rotational option and his minutes may be limited, ultimately.

In contrast, so far the centerback slots are more amorphous and they appear to be up for grabs, although the starters through the first two weeks, Sega Coulibaly and Nick DePuy, have played well so far and gotten two shutouts. But those two are probably still in an open competition with Derrick Williams and now Zavaleta, too. I think more likely Vanney is going to ride the hot hands and change when there’s a dip, but I think Zavaleta will get some opportunities. It’s just a matter of him taking advantage of them to see if he moves up the depth chart.

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