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Galaxy-FC Dallas Preview
The LA Galaxy combined elements of the past, present and future in their 2-1 comeback win over the Chicago Fire on MLS's opening weekend.
On a night when they unveiled a statue of English-born star David Beckham, who helped LA win MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012, the Galaxy got a game-winning goal from 37-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic that started with a pass from 16-year-old phenom Efrain Alvarez.
Ibrahimovic and Alvarez - the oldest and youngest outfield players to play in MLS last week - will look to add more tallies to the scoresheet Saturday when the Galaxy head to Texas to face FC Dallas.
Alvarez, a homegrown product of the Galaxy's academy, made his MLS debut by entering in the 60th minute as a substitute. He wasted little time in showing why he was the seventh-youngest player to sign in MLS, assisting on Daniel Steres' headed goal before sparking the attack that led to Ibrahimovic's winning tally.
"I think he's the best talent in MLS by far," Ibrahimovic said of his teenage teammate. "The club, the team, the coach have to take care of him in the right way."
The club would prefer to ease Alvarez into the lineup gradually, but if he continues to dazzle off the bench, first-year Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto may be forced to use him in the starting 11 sooner rather than later.
Not everything was rosy in the Galaxy's opener, however, as midfielder Romain Alessandrini suffered a right hamstring injury just 20 minutes in and centerback Diego Polenta committed an embarrassing turnover that led to a 1-0 deficit - leaving questions about Schelotto's starting lineup at FC Dallas.
The home side has had the Galaxy's number in the recent past, with Dallas going 6-0-1 against LA in the last three years, including one win in U.S. Open Cup play.
FC Dallas will be aiming to continue that trend while looking for a better result than last week's 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution.
Luchi Gonzalez's team got a brilliant goal on the counterattack from Michael Barrios in the 13th minute but failed to protect the lead, conceding in the 57th minute.
"(The players) were disappointed with the draw," Gonzalez said in his postgame press conference. "We're here at home. We want to play to win."
Gonzalez, in his first year as Dallas' coach, is tasked with finding scoring after the departure of last year's top two leading goal producers, Maximiliano Urruti and Roland Lamah, who each scored eight goals in 2018.
Barrios figures to be among the favorites to step up as Dallas' primary scoring threat in 2019. In his fifth year with Dallas, the 27-year-old has totaled 26 goals and 25 assists.
Updated March 8, 2019