The hard-charging Minnesota United will not see as much resistance as expected Saturday night when they look for a third consecutive victory to start the season at Los Angeles against the Galaxy.
At 2-0 with three goals scored in each game, the Loons now get a Galaxy team that is expected to be without striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Achilles) and midfielder Romain Alessandrini (hamstring).
“I’ve been talking with the doctor (about Ibrahimovic), and we hope he plays (March 31) against Portland,” new Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said. “He’ll come with us when we know, and he knows, everything is OK to play. We don’t want to take a risk.”
It is a major blow to the Galaxy regardless of the scenario, but even more so since Ola Kamara, second on the team with 14 goals last year, is now in China on a transfer that was made official two days before the start of the regular season. Ibrahimovic (22) and Alessandrini (11) were L.A.’s only other players to top five goals last season.
One day after Kamara’s transfer, the Galaxy bought out the contract of midfielder Giovani dos Santos to get them to the MLS limit of four designated players.
The Galaxy won their season opener 2-1 at home against the Chicago Fire when Ibrahimovic and Alessandrini were in the starting lineup, and then lost 2-0 at FC Dallas without both players.
Minnesota has shown a skilled offense in a pair of road victories to start the season, 3-2 at Vancouver on March 2 and 3-0 at San Jose on March 9. Saturday’s game will be the middle game of five road contests to start the season while the finishing touches are put on the team’s new home, Allianz Field.
Setting up their attack from the midfield with Jan Gregus and Osvaldo Alonso, the Loons received a goal and two assists from forward Darwin Quintero in the opener and another goal and assist from Quintero last week.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve dominated both games’ possession, because we’ve got two really good continuity players in there,” Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath said of Gregus and Alonso, according to mlssoccer.com. “We’ve got people who know where to go, to stand and get the ball, we’ve got people who know when to pick the pace of the game up, when to slow the game down and that’s only going to get better, that partnership.”
–Field Level Media