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LA Galaxy is likely to add to their unbeaten streak in the upcoming home fixture against Philadelphia on Saturday. Their last win at home, earlier this week, will be a huge morale-booster as they defeated a better-placed LAFC 2-1 in the Western Conference match.
In their last home fixture, LA Galaxy opened the scoring with Tyler Boyd netting the first goal in the 26th minute, while Riqui Puig scored the winner in the 73rd minute to seal the deal for the hosts. Spanish midfielder Ilie Sanchez was the lone goal-scorer for LAFC in the second half.
Philadelphia will have their task cut out to stop the LA Galaxy juggernaut, as they have failed to register a win in their last four away fixtures. The club registered its last away win against Colorado in May. It was, however, not a convincing display from LA Galaxy as they were reduced to 10-man against a 10-man Colorado side in the injury time after securing the winner through Julian Carranza in the 52nd minute.
The Jim Curtin-managed side can take a lot of positives from their thumping 4-1 win over Inter Miami in June. Curtin is likely to opt for the more fluid 4-1-2-1-2 combination to stop LA Galaxy from adding one more to their unbeaten run.
LA Galaxy and Philadelphia will renew their rivalry for the first time since 2019 in the upcoming fixture. Both clubs will feature a new look. However, the last time both sides faced off, Curtin was still at the helm of Philadelphia and looking to avenge his defeat against the Greg Vanney-managed side.
In their previous meeting, LA Galaxy opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation, while Philadelphia played with a 4-3-1-2 combination. Swedish talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic completed a brace (27’, 36’) after converting his second goal from the spot to allow LA Galaxy to clinch a 2-0 victory. Meanwhile, Philadelphia failed to find the back of the net, with matters worsening for them when Auston Trusty was sent off in the 76th minute.
Philadelphia registered its last and only win against the LA Galaxy in July 2012. The two clubs have faced off 12 times in the MLS, with LA Galaxy ruling the roost with seven wins, while the teams have registered three draws.
The away form will be concerning for the Curtin-managed side as they have not registered a single win in their last three fixtures. The club was thumped 0-2 by Atlanta United in their last outing earlier this week.
However, LA Galaxy will look to hold on to their fortress after registering a win and loss in their last two home fixtures. Their last loss at home came against Charlotte in May. In that match, LA Galaxy was reduced to 10-man before registering a 0-1 loss after their star Mexican forward Javier Hernandez was sent off in the 85th minute.
It is likely that Vanney will opt for an unchanged winning combination from their last win against LAFC. It means that the LA Galaxy’s top goal-scorer, Boyd, will be joined by former Juventus winger Douglas Costa and Preston Judd in the frontline.
Chris Mavinga and Kelvin Leerdam will resume their defensive duties as center-backs in the match against Philadelphia, while Raheem Edwards and Lucas Calegri will feature as full-backs.
The club will be without the services of Hernandez as he has been sidelined due to an ACL rupture. Due to their respective injuries, Martin Caceres and Memo Rodriguez will continue to be under observation on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Carranza will continue to be the key attacker for Philadelphia. Danish forward Mikael Uhre will join him in the frontline. Uhre has consistently provided assists and scored goals for Philadelphia in the ongoing season.
Curtin will rely on his three-man at-the-back formation with Jakob Glesnes, Nathan Harriel, and Jack Elliot to be lined up in front of their goalkeeper Joe Bendik. The other goalkeeping option for Philadelphia, Andre Blake, will be unavailable for the fixture as he is representing Jamaica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The club will head into the fixture without the services of their winger Kai Wagner as he has been sidelined due to a hamstring injury. Philadelphia is likely to field a 3-4-1-2 formation to overcome the LA Galaxy threat.
Philadelphia are well-placed in the Eastern Conference points table to qualify for the 2023 MLS playoffs. Their fine run has been largely possible due to the goal-scoring rate of their Argentine forward Carranza and the assist and goal-scoring prowess shown by his Hungarian compatriot and midfielder Daniel Gazday.
Carranza has found the back of the net 10 times in 19 appearances and assisted three times this season. He is chasing the race for the golden boot and remains three goals behind the season's top goal-scorer, Hany Mukhtar of Nashville SC. Meanwhile, Gazdag has been among the most valuable players for Philadelphia in the ongoing season. He has contributed with seven-goal and nine assists from 18 appearances.
Danish forward Uhre has also made his presence felt for Philadelphia, as he has recorded six goals and three assists in 19 appearances for the club. American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya who has five assists in 15 appearances to his name, will be another player to watch out for in the Philadelphia line-up. Amongst others, Jose Martinez, Leon Flach, Jack Elliot, and Olivier Mbaizo will be crucial for the club.
On the contrary, LA Galaxy has failed to find consistency from their forwards this season. The club’s most consistent player, Boyd, has scored three times in 20 appearances, while Judd has netted as many times in 14 matches.
Spanish midfielder Puig has, meanwhile, been the most attractive player in the LA Galaxy line-up. He has scored twice in 19 appearances while also using his creativity to assist five times. His fellow midfielder and club No.10 Costa also has five assists to his name and will play a crucial role in the upcoming fixture against LA Galaxy.
Amongst others, Dejan Joveljic has three assists, while Calegari has two to his name.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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