LA Galaxy’s squad depth is paramount to their success in MLS this season, according to head coach Greg Vanney as they prepare to play Colorado Rapids.
The Galaxy are unbeaten in their last four games and are only two points behind Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City, having most recently triumphed 1-0 over Minnesota United.
Vanney credited Saturday’s win to back-up goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, who made seven saves to avert late pressure, and explained how squad depth will be vital come the end of the campaign.
“The group that we keep putting together just keeps getting deeper and deeper, which is important in a long MLS season,” Vanney said.
“We’re proving that we have a team that can compete for the long haul; not just for little bits and pieces of the season.
“This is one of those that our depth is capable of coming to some of the most difficult places in the league and finding ways to win games.”
The Rapids sit in fourth and are on a three-game unbeaten run, too, inflicting Houston Dynamo’s first home defeat of the season with a commanding 3-1 victory last time out.
A win for the visitors, who have two games in hand over the top two, could place further spotlight on Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“The thing about this group is they’re starting to get really confident and have real self-belief,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said.
“One of the big adjustments in this league is to be able to deal with teams that are erratically different on Saturday from the team that you are going to see on a Wednesday to the team you will see the next Saturday.
“And it really is a testament to the team’s maturity and their ability to read situations and to think collectively, which is probably the biggest key to us continuing to do well.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LA Galaxy – Kevin Cabral
Cabral has impressed in the absence of Javier Hernandez. The Galaxy forward has netted in his last two games, scoring what proved to be the winner against the Loons.
Colorado Rapids – William Yarbrough
The Dynamo blasted 10 shots on target against Yarbrough but they were unable to beat the Rapids goalkeeper. The 32-year-old has conceded just once in his last three starts and has provided Fraser some defensive solidarity between the sticks.
KEY OPTA FACTS
-The Rapids have won three straight MLS matches over the Galaxy for the third time in club history (also in 2006 and 2013-14). Colorado has never won four straight matches over the Galaxy in MLS.
-The Galaxy picked up their 11th win of the season on Saturday, beating Minnesota United, 1-0, on the road. Los Angeles hasn’t had more than 11 wins after 19 matches of a season since the 2010 campaign when they had 12 victories at this stage.
-Colorado’s 3-1 win in Houston was its second consecutive victory on the road after a 1-0 win at Austin in late July. The Rapids have not won three straight away matches in over 20 years, since wins over the Crew, Fire and Revolution in April-May 2000.
-Dejan Joveljic recorded an assist on his debut with the Galaxy, the first player to do so since Gordon Wild in July 2020. The last Galaxy player to record assists in his first two matches with the team in MLS was Giovani dos Santos in 2015 (first 3).
-Lalas Abubakar has scored two goals in his last five matches after finding the net just three times in his first 80 MLS matches (including playoffs). The 2021 campaign is the first time he’s scored multiple goals in a single MLS season.