The Los Angeles Galaxy played their 17th game of the season on Saturday, marking the halfway point of the MLS season. Let’s take a look at how they got here and what lies ahead for the five-time MLS Cup champions.
The Los Angeles Galaxy got off to a slow start this season, losing four of their first six matches. However, they began to find their form at the beginning of May when they ran off an eight-match unbeaten streak that included five wins.
The win that kicked off this stretch was a 3-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls away from home, where they were led by two goals within the first ten minutes from French international Romain Alessandrini. They continued their excellent away form by grinding out a 2-1 win over expansion side Minnesota United FC in a nationally televised match the next week.
The Galaxy currently sits in sixth place in the Western Conference standings, having collected 22 points in their 17 MLS matches so far this season. Although the sixth place club is the final team that qualifies for the MLS playoffs, it is an uncomfortable position for a club that finished third in the conference last season.
When former head coach Bruce Arena left the Galaxy to become the coach of the USA National Team, it paved the way for long-time assistant Curt Onalfo to lead the club going forward. Under Onalfo, the Galaxy have used creativity and a dangerous counter-attack to score the third-most goals in the Western Conference this season.
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Between MLS matches, the Galaxy have been participating in the U.S. Open Cup, where 99 soccer clubs from throughout the country compete in a knockout tournament to crown the best team in the U.S.
With a 2-0 victory over Sacramento Republic FC in the round of 16, Los Angeles has secured a spot in the quarterfinals of the tournament, where they’ll take on their bitter rivals the San Jose Earthquakes on July 10th.
If the Galaxy can get past the Earthquakes in another edition of the California Clasico, they’ll be one step closer to securing their third U.S. Open Cup title, and their first since 2005.
The Galaxy’s attack has been led by winger Romain Alessandrini with eight goals on the season, followed by Mexican superstar Giovani Dos Santos with six goals. Alessandrini also leads the team in assists with six, followed by American International Jermaine Jones with two.
Fortunately for LA, the second half of their season features sets of consecutive home games against lesser opponents. The Galaxy will need to continue their solid play away from home and do a better job of securing points by avoiding giving up goals late in games.
The MLS Western Conference is strong this season, but the Los Angeles Galaxy have put themselves in a position to make the playoffs and chase a sixth MLS Cup.