LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
StubHub Center | Carson, California
10.15.17 | MLS Week #32 | MLS Game #33
6:30 p.m. CT (FOX 9+, MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN)
MIN: 10-16-6; 3-10-2 on the road
LA: 7-17-8; 2-9-5 at home
This week, the Loons head to SoCal for a match against the LA Galaxy. The last time these two teams met was at TCF Bank Stadium in May, when the home side ultimately lost a hard-fought match despite winning the possession battle and doubling up the Galaxy on corner kicks. MNUFC will look to take advantage of a Galaxy side that’s struggled at home this season and is winless in its last six. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CT with pre-match coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. on FOX 9+ and MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.
Despite the Galaxy’s disappointing season, Head Coach Adrian Heath is not about to look past the team’s penultimate match of their inaugural season given the players that LA has.
“If you look at the quality of the players, they have [Giovani] dos Santos, and [Romain] Alessandrini and Gyasi Zardes,” said Heath. “They’ve got quality with [Emmanuel] Boateng on the wing. They’ve got quality players. Now obviously it’s not been the type of year that probably they or everyone else expected out of the Galaxy, because over the last 10 years, they’ve been the standard bearers of the league. But you know, if they turn up and they play well, it’s going to be tough for us. But we’re looking forward to it.”
At the very least, the Loons can expect to have a deeper squad as they head to Los Angeles after welcoming back players like defenders Michael Boxall, Francisco Calvo and Jermaine Taylor and midfielders Johan Venegas and Kevin Molino from international duty. Trinidad and Tobago were knocked out of World Cup Qualifying and Calvo, Venegas and the rest of Costa Rica’s Ticos booked their ticket to Russia. Boxall’s New Zealand squad played an international friendly against Japan after beating the Solomon Islands in September to earn a shot at Peru in November to qualify.
“I don’t think there’s a big mental component about it,” said Boxall when asked about the adjustment of going back and forth to the national team. “Because I’ve been with the national team for five, six years now — used to the group, used to the style of play — once you’re in that environment, you just adjust. The same thing happens when you come back to Minnesota United. You get back into the groove of things.”
Early in the season, Heath was essentially doing double duty: evaluating the talent the team had put together in a very short window of time while also working to build that talent into a cohesive unit. As the season has progressed and new players have come in, the chemistry has improved and the team has shown progress: Go back and tell fans in March that the Loons would be 3-1-1 in the five matches leading up to their final road trip and would only be eliminated from the playoffs with two matches to go and they would likely take it gladly. Our attention at this point might be turning toward the offseason and understanding the team’s needs for 2018, but for Heath, that job has never really stopped.
“It’s been a year-long process, evaluating the group that we have,” he said. “Evaluating people we might think that we can bring in to help us. That’s been a continual one — we’ve got people traveling all around the world, basically. So, we realized that, I think we’ve got progressively better as the season has gone. Are we anywhere near where we want to be? No. And we’ve realized that we’ve got a lot of work still ahead of us. But we do think that we’ve got a really good core and a good base to work from.”
For Boxall, who joined the team in mid-July from SuperSport United in South Africa, the chemistry within the team has been steadily building and he’s looking forward to finishing the season and getting right back to work for a full season with the squad.
“Coming in I wasn’t entirely sure what the group was about,” he said. “But I think everything I’ve seen is all positive, and especially the last two, three months. It’s exciting to see what we’re building. I think it’s just a shame that the point that I came in was a little bit too late. But I think with the fans who have been absolutely outstanding since I’ve arrived, it’s been amazing for everyone. Just excited to working off season and coming back next year ready to go.”
Following this weekend’s match, the Loons will head to San Jose to face the Earthquakes in their final match of the season. The teams kick off at 3:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, October 22 with pre-match coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT on FOX 9+ and MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.
M – Bernardo Anor (left lower leg injury)
M/D – Thomas de Villardi (left Achilles injury)
M – Sam Cronin (head injury)
D – Robbie Rogers (ankle injury, out for season)
M – Sebastian Lletget (foot surgery 3/24, out 4-6 months)
M – Baggio Husidic (fractured fibula 5/21, out 6-8 weeks)
D – Pele van Anholt (torn ACL/meniscus 8/27, out for season)
D – Daniel Steres (L2-4 transverse process fracture 9/10, out 6-8 weeks)
D – Bradley Diallo (right hamstring injury)
D – Joseph Greenspan (red card)
Los Angeles Galaxy
- Marc Burch made three appearances for LA in 2006. He then moved to Columbus Crew later in the season, where he was coached by Sigi Schmid. Schmid later coached Burch in 2012 and 2013 when they were both a part of Seattle Sounders FC.
- Brian Rowe, Nathan Smith and Abu Danladi all played their college soccer for UCLA. Smith and Danladi were teammates in 2014 and 2015.
- Jermaine Jones and Bobby Shuttleworth were teammates in 2014 and 2015 on the New England Revolution. Jones then joined Sam Cronin and Burch for the 2016 season with the Colorado Rapids.
- Jack McInerney was a teammate of Johan Venegas’ on Montreal Impact in 2015 before being traded to Columbus Crew SC late in the season, where he joined Ethan Finlay. McInerney then played with Jermaine Taylor on Portland Timbers in 2016.
- Emmanuel Boateng and Danladi both graduated from the Right to Dream Academy. Boateng and Ismaila Jome also attended UC Santa Barbara for college.
- Galaxy Assistant Coach Dominic Kinnear played the 1999 and 2000 MLS seasons with Manny Lagos on the Tampa Bay Mutiny. Kinnear coached Taylor on Houston Dynamo from 2011 through 2014.
- Minnesota United was eliminated from playoff contention following last match. A draw between Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas was the result that mathematically knocked the Loons out of the race.
- LA sports the worst home record in MLS at 2-9-5 and has taken just 11 points at StubHub Center. The next lowest home point total is D.C. United with 21.
- Forward Abu Danladi has gotten at least one point in four of the past five matches, with three goals and an assist.
- In the past two matches, Minnesota’s opponents have had to put in their backup goalkeepers in the second half. On October 3, Atlanta United was forced to make a change due to a red card to starting goalkeeper Kyle Reynish. Sporting Kansas City needed to make a change to replace injured Tim Melia on October 7.
- Brandon Allen made his first MLS appearance for Minnesota against Sporting KC, entering the match as a substitute in the 81st minute.
- Brent Kallman scored his second MLS goal last match. His first came back on March 25 against the New England Revolution.
- Christian Ramirez (14G/3A), Danladi (8G/3A) and Molino (7G/9A) all have double-digit points this season.
- Bobby Shuttleworth has made a career-high 111 saves so far this season.
- Sigi Schmid has 229 wins in his MLS coaching career, the most in league history. He rejoined LA Galaxy this season after previously coaching the club from 1999–2004.
- Molino became the first MNUFC player to win the MLS Player of the Week award during Week 31.
- Molino, Danladi and Kallman were all on the MLS Team of the Week for Week 31, with Collin Martin on the bench. This was Martin’s first time being included in the Team of the Week this season.
- This is the first season since 2008 that LA has not qualified for the playoffs.