Houston Dynamo at LA Galaxy
Saturday, June 17, 2017, 10:00 p.m. CT
StubHub Center, Carson, California
The emotions will surely be flowing for MLS veterans A.J. DeLaGarza and Leonardo when they take the field at StubHub Center on Saturday night. They'll be making their return to the stadium they called home for several years (2009-2016 for DeLaGarza and 2010-2016 for Leonardo), during which they became key figures on championship sides until their offseason moves to Houston.
They'd probably tell you they're just focused on helping the Houston Dynamo (7-6-2, 23pts) shake off their Jekyll-and-Hyde label: dominant home team (MLS-leading 7W-0L-1D record) and dismal on the road (0W-6L-1D). Despite stumbling 1W-3L-1D in their last five league matches, they're still keeping pace with conference leaders, Sporting KC, who have a mere three-point advantage over the Dynamo entering Week 16.
The Galaxy (5-5-3, 18pts) are hoping to also enter that top-of-the-table fray, but they're still playing catch-up after a rough start to the season.
After starting the season with five losses in their first seven matches, manager Curt Onalfo has orchestrated an unbelievable turnaround, leading the Galaxy on a six-match unbeaten run, including racking up a 3W-0L-1D record during a brutal four-match road stretch. They haven't had a home league match since May 6.
The Galaxy have also qualified for the US Open Cup Round of 16 with a 3-1 win over Orange County on Wednesday, needing to only use three regular starters, which is not insignificant given injuries to six starters and the suspension of Jelle Van Damme and the absence of star forward Giovani Dos Santos, who's on Confederations Cup duty.
- Suspended: DF Jelle Van Damme (yellow card accumulation)
- Suspended next yellow card: MF/FW Romain Alessandrini
- International duty: FW Giovani Dos Santos (Mexican national team)
- Injury Report: OUT — GK Brian Rowe (groin injury), MF Jermaine Jones (grade 2 right knee MCL sprain), DF Daniel Steres (right hamstring injury), DF Robbie Rogers (left ankle - season-ending injury), MF Sebastian Lletget (foot), MF Baggio Husidic (left fibula fracture)
Projected Starting XI (4-4-1, left to right): Clement Diop — Ashley Cole, Dave Romney, Hugo Arellano, Bradley Diallo — Emmanuel Boateng, Joao Pedro, Rafael Garcia, Romain Alessandrini — Jack McInerney, Gyasi Zardes
Notes: If there were ever a match to give highly-touted Homegrown defender Hugo Arellano his first MLS start, it would be this one with Jelle Van Damme suspended and Daniel Steres out injured. Arellano went the full 90 in USOC play on Wednesday ... With Dos Santos away, Jack McInerney would be the obvious candidate to pair up with Gyasi Zardes, unless Onalfo opts for a single-forward alignment.
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- Three things learned from LA's USOC win vs. Orange County
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- StubHub Center matchday guide
Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera has lamented his team's porous team defense during their road struggles, but it's the attack that continues to come up short. Houston have been shut out in five of their last six away contests and their only goal came on a 90th-minute penalty kick.
But it's not like the Dynamo can't score. They are second in the league in goals scored (27), but only three of those tallies have come on the road. Here's why things could be different on Saturday: Cabrera can start the vaunted trio of Romell Quioto, Cubo Torres and Alberth Elis for the first time in league play since March 18 in Portland, where they scored twice. While Quioto and Elis are coming off goals with Honduras in World Cup qualifying, Torres will want to prove to Mexico that they made a mistake not including him in their CONCACAF Gold Cup roster earlier in the week.
It's also worth noting that the Dynamo are coming off an actual road win -- the 3-2 extra-time victory at North Carolina FC in the US Open Cup Fourth Round. Like the Galaxy, Cabrera also exercised a heavy rotation (including six from Rio Grande Valley FC).
- Suspended: None
- Suspended next yellow card: MF Juan David Cabezas
- International duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – DF George Malki (torn left ACL), MF Eric Alexander (right MCL strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3, left to right): Tyler Deric – DaMarcus Beasley, Leonardo, Adolfo Machado, AJ DeLaGarza – Alex, Juan David Cabezas, Ricardo Clark – Romell Quioto, Erik "Cubo" Torres, Alberth Elis
Notes: If the Quioto-Torres-Elis triumvirate starts in the wide expanse of StubHub Center, Mauro Manotas, who started the last seven matches, would come off the bench, from where he has provided a spark earlier this season ... Despite starting on Sunday against Mexico in the Estadio Azteca (and playing through a hard knock) DaMarcus Beasley would seem likely to get the start at left back with backup Dylan Remick playing the full 120 minutes in the midweek USOC win.
- Three things learned from Houston's USOC victory
- Highlights: North Carolina FC 2, Houston Dynamo 3 (aet)
- Dynamo hope USOC win sparks road renaissance
- Houston Chronicle: Cubo Torres reacts to Gold Cup snub
This is the 25th all-time regular-season meeting between the two clubs. It will be the Dynamo's turn to host the Galaxy in the second and final 2017 regular season meeting between the clubs on September 27.
All-Time (24 regular season matches): LA 10W-9L-5D (26 GF / 26 GA); Houston 9W-10L-5D (26 GF / 26 GA)
At StubHub Center (11 regular season matches): LA 5W-3L-3D (13 GF / 10 GA); Houston 3W-5L-3D (10 GF / 13 GA)
Note: The two clubs have also met three times in the MLS Cup Playoffs (2009, 2011, 2012) with the last two instances coming in the MLS Cup final. The Galaxy, who hosted both of those matches at StubHub Center, came out on top for back-to-back championships (2011, 2012).
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson (bench side), Mike Rottersman (far)
Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal