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Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Minnesota United FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
StubHub Center | Carson, California
08.11.2018 | MLS Week No. 24 | MLS Game No. 24
9:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN)

Fueled by the heartbreak sustained last Saturday at home, a galvanized Minnesota United side is eager to get its five-game road trip off to a positive start as it visits the red-hot Los Angeles Galaxy, a team that saw a seven-game unbeaten run snapped in its last outing. Prior to their loss to Colorado last week, the Galaxy were 4-0-3 in their last seven games and are unbeaten (3-0-1) in their last four at home.

The Loons will square off against Los Angeles on Saturday, August 11 at 9:30 p.m. CT at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Pre-game coverage begins at 9:00 p.m. on FOX Sports North, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.

“They have really good players,” Head Coach Adrian Heath said. “It doesn’t surprise me now that they have started to really climb up the table. If we want to have any ideals of taking this towards the end of the season, away from home is going to be the key to that. We have to start picking up some road wins. What better place to start than at the Galaxy?”

Minnesota’s stoppage time loss to Seattle dropped it to ninth place in the Western Conference and six points back of a playoff spot. Heath estimated it will take five or six more wins this season to put MNUFC in the playoff conversation at the end of the year. So with just four more home games left on its docket, it is paramount for the Loons to reverse their season-long struggles away from home on their current extended road trip.

Defender Brent Kallman said there is a “real sense of urgency” in the locker room, which has increased after the setback to the Sounders. MNUFC has not gotten a result away from home since its 2-1 win at Orlando on March 20 — a stretch of nine road games — but Kallman believes one result can remedy those woes.

“It does not even have to be a win,” Kallman said. “The goal on the road is just to get points. If we get a point or more out of this next game maybe we will feel like we got a little monkey off of our back. We just have to find a way to get it done. It does not have to be pretty on the road and a lot of times it isn’t. You just have to grind it out.”

To get a result, Kallman and the Minnesota defense will have to contend with Los Angeles’ array of attacking talent. The Galaxy boasts the second-highest scoring attack in the lead with 44 goals in 23 games, spearheaded by forwards Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara, who rank first and second on the team with 15 and nine goals, respectively. Beyond the front line, there are also the two Dos Santos brothers — midfielder Jonathan and forward Giovani — midfielders Romain Alessandrini, Emmanuel Boateng, Perry Kitchen and Chris Pontius to contend with.

Kallman, though, believes that if MNUFC can ward off Los Angeles early and keep the game within reach, the Loons can then expose the Galaxy on the counterattack. He stressed playing it safe early because the later the game goes scoreless, the more the home side will press and open up space for forwards Angelo Rodriguez and Darwin Quintero and midfielder Miguel Ibarra on the counter.

“We have guys like Darwin and Miguel in attack,” Kallman said. “If we get them on the counter attack with space we are really dangerous. Locking stuff down early and not giving up cheap goals is going to be massive for us. If we can hold teams to one goal or less, we are going to give ourselves a chance to win because we have guys who can score and create a lot of stuff.”

Quintero comes into Saturday’s match up with seven goals and six assists in his last seven matches and has had a hand in 13 of the team’s last 17 goals dating back to the 4-3 win over Toronto FC on July 4. The Colombian Designated Player leads the team with 10 goals and eight assists on the season.

Of course, Ibrahimovic’s larger-than-life presence headlines Los Angeles’ roster. The former Manchester United, PSG, AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Ajax man has taken MLS by storm. His 15 goals rank No. 2 in the league and he leads the Galaxy with six assists in 17 appearances since arriving stateside in March — making him a key point of focus for Minnesota this weekend.

“We know that if we don’t mark him well in the box and don’t put him in situations or certain areas of the field, he is a problem for people,” Heath said. “People don’t realize how big he is until you get around him. He is not only tall, but he is a huge guy. He and Kamara have a nice understanding going. It is going to be difficult.”

After Saturday’s West Coast clash, Minnesota United continues its five-game road trip in the Lone Star State against FC Dallas on Saturday, August 18. Kick off for that game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North Plus, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.

INJURY REPORT

Minnesota United FC
OUT:
M – Sam Cronin (cervicogenic dysfunction)
M – Kevin Molino (left ACL tear)
M – Ethan Finlay (right ACL tear)
M – Maximiano (right knee injury)

QUESTIONABLE:
D – Jerome Thiesson (right lower leg injury)

Los Angeles Galaxy
OUT: 
D - Rolf Feltscher (shoulder surgery)

FIRST TOUCHES

  • Darwin Quintero scored his 10th goal of the season in the 2-1 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, August 4. His 19th-minute finish was nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.
  • Quintero’s goal against Seattle was his seventh in as many games. He has added six assists during that span.
  • Quintero has gotten at least one point in each of the past five games.
  • With 10 goals on the year, Quintero is tied for eighth-most in MLS.
  • Miguel Ibarra contributed his seventh assist of the season on Quintero’s goal against Seattle. With the assist, he set a new club record for most career assists with MNUFC in MLS (11 total), passing Kevin Molino.
  • Quintero is one assist away from tying Molino’s single-season club record of nine assists.
  • Ángelo Rodríguez made his MNUFC debut as a starter against Seattle, featuring for 69 minutes and hitting the post with a dangerous header during that time.
  • MNUFC recently traded forward Christian Ramirez to LAFC for up to $1 million in Allocation Money.
  • Ibarra continues to be among the most-accurate shot takers in MLS. His 68 percent shots-on-target accuracy is second only to Jonathan Osorio of Toronto FC (69.6 percent).
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic is currently second in the league with 15 goals this season. Five of those goals have been game-winners.
  • Ashley Cole is one of four players with multiple red cards in 2018.
  • Cole and Ibarra both have three game-winning assists in 2018.
  • David Bingham has the second-most saves in MLS with 88 in 23 appearances. Bobby Shuttleworth is tied for fourth with 77 in 17.
  • Both the Loons and Galaxy have been cautioned 50 times this year.
  • Both squads have scored their only penalty kick attempts this year.
  • The Galaxy’s seven games with three or more goals is the second-most in MLS.
  • MNUFC and LA have the highest scoring percentages in MLS. The Galaxy lead the league with 15.2 percent of their shots ending up in the net, followed closely by the Loons at 14.5 percent.
  • MNUFC has made the second-most saves in MLS. The 99 combined saves from Shuttleworth and Matt Lampson are just one behind league-leading Montreal Impact.
  • Marc Burch made three appearances for LA Galaxy during his first MLS season in 2006. He joined Columbus Crew SC later that year, where he was coached by Sigi Schmid. Schmid also coached Burch in 2012 and 2013 when both were a part of Seattle Sounders FC.
  • Emmanuel Boateng and Abu Danladi both graduated from the Right to Dream Academy.
  • LA Galaxy Assistant Coach Dominic Kinnear played the 1999 and 2000 MLS seasons with MNUFC Sporting Director Manny Lagos on the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
  • David Bingham and Sam Cronin played together for San Jose Earthquakes from 2011 through 2014.
  • Perry Kitchen and Burch played the 2011 season with
  • D.C. United. Collin Martin joined Kitchen at D.C. from 2013 until Kitchen left the club in 2015.
  • Ola Kamara was a teammate of Ethan Finlay’s on Columbus Crew SC in 2016 and 2017.
  • Bryan Sylvestre and Michael Boxall both played for Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2011 and 2012. Sylvestre also tended goal against Minnesota while playing for the Carolina RailHawks in 2015 and 2016 in the NASL.
  • Servando Carrasco and Burch played for Seattle Sounders FC in 2012 and 2013. Corrasco then played with Kevin Molino and was coached by Adrian Heath on Orlando City SC from 2015 to 2016.
  • Sheanon Williams and Collen Warner played the 2016 season together for the Houston Dynamo.
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