River City Ramble Uncategorized St Louis City at LA Galaxy Preview

St Louis City at LA Galaxy Preview

by Mike Turner

Since we did not post a podcast this week to preview this match, I thought I would post my thoughts anticipating what to expect in a few hours. Keep in mind my mantra that “all road games in MLS are hard”.

I must admit, I’m not feeling all that confident about tonight’s match against the Galaxy in Carson. LA has been an elite level transition team so far this season with the addition of Joseph Paintsil and Gabriel Pec to do the running to be fed by Rique Puig. I must also mention Dejan Joveljic up top as a dangerous striker.

Another player we need to key on is Mark Delgado, whose ability to control the midfield has been a prime driver of their offense. He and Puig have the ability to handle our mid-field block and take away perhaps our best advantage. He is also a plus in the Galaxy’s attack, having already posted 2 assists this season.

Their defense is greatly improved, but is still vulnerable, especially their transition D. Two offseason center back signings, Miki Yamane and Maya Yoshida have been key additions for their defense. Yamana will be the CB most likely tasked with stopping Celio Pompeau from attacking in the final third CITY. Yamane has not faced a direct winger thus far in MLS, and Celio’s ability to take opponents off the dribble could prove to be an advantage.

No Löwen – No Bueno

The loss of St Louis City’s designated player and star midfielder Eduard Löwen is a concern. Löwen is both a vital link from defense to attack (especially in transition) and an important piece in defense.

Head coach Bradley Carnell has proven he can be indecipherable when one anticipates his starting lineup. I look for Tomas Ostrak to get the start replacing Löwen. Of all the many players who have stepped up and had a breakthrough game for St Louis since the club’s debut last season, Ostrak is outstanding in his lack of one. Tonight is perfect timing for him to get his, and on a big stage as well.

I see Durkin at the #6 with Blom most likely not starting. I see Indiana Vassilev starting further forward again. Ostrak has been groomed lately at the #8, I see Chris Durkin as the #6 with Njabulo Blom most likely not starting.

To me this game cries out for Sam Adeniran’s ability to use his pace to get behind the defense in transition. But Joao Klauss could also be necessary to force or be target for Galaxy turnovers in the defensive half. Perhaps Carnell will opt for a two-striker formation that he favored last year in road matches but hasn’t been deployed in a road match this season (extreme small sample size ALERT). In that case I see Vassilev at the #8 and Ostrak as a sub.

In Conclusion

The Galaxy have shown they are a much-improved side in 2024. They are also the strongest opponent St Louis City will have faced so far this season. I don’t expect LA to cede possession like Austin did, but it is the book on us. They are very potent on the counterattack and could decide that ceding possession and bunkering in their defensive half and waiting for opportunities to unleash a lethal quick strike is preferable to fighting through our midfield press.

Writing before match, I definitely say I will be happy with a road draw.

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