Galaxy-Sporting Kansas City Preview
Coming off a much-needed victory and with their star slated to be back in tow, the Los Angeles Galaxy should feel poised to get back to their winning ways.
With Zlatan Ibrahimović eligible to be in place from his two-game ban, the visiting Galaxy try to build on their first victory in almost a month Wednesday night while looking to change their fortune against Sporting Kansas City.
Mired in a season-high four-game losing streak and without Ibrahimović (team-leading nine goals) for the last of his two-game suspension for violent conduct, Los Angeles (8-5-1) pulled out an impressive 1-0 victory at Orlando City SC on Friday night. Jonathan dos Santos delivered a wonder strike from 25-yards out in the 19th minute and keeper David Bingham made a diving stop on a Nani penalty kick in the 32nd to help the visitors prevail for the first time since a 2-1 home victory over Real Salt Lake on April 28.
"I think the team knew we were together after coming off a bad record, but this victory and the suffering we had (while holding the lead) in the second half will help us tremendously for the rest of the season," Dos Santos, who is dealing with a hip issue, told the Galaxy's official website.
Now, L.A. gets Ibrahimović back and has a chance regain the winning form that produced a five-game winning streak covering March and April.
"I think we are a very good team, very big club, we need to fight like (the) Galaxy," Los Angeles coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said.
One potential problem is that the Galaxy are 0-4-4 against Sporting since a 2-1 home victory in April 2015. They're also 0-5-6 at Kansas City since winning 1-0 there on Sept. 27, 2007.
It has not been an easy go of it this season for SKC (3-4-5), especially considering the number of injuries it's had to deal with thus far in the campaign. However, Kansas City did just end an 0-3-4 rut with a spirited 3-2 home victory over Seattle on Sunday. Johnny Russell recorded a hat trick, but Kansas City had to hold off a pesky Sounders club that nearly twice erased deficits of two goals.
"We've needed it," Russell, who had four goals coming into that match, told Kansas City's official website. "You can tell the games that we've played, things (weren't) going right.
"To put it all together (while) still missing a lot of guys - and everyone that came in was brilliant - makes it a massive win, and one that's long overdue, as well."
So has winning back-to-back games in 2019, something Kansas City will try again to do for the first time this season.
Updated May 27, 2019