The LA Galaxy kicked off their public preseason schedule with a 2-1 defeat against St. Louis City SC, revealing both promise and persistent defensive issues. Despite an incomplete roster due to the resting of key players like Joveljic, Puig, and Caceres, the match showcased a mix of performances that left fans with mixed feelings.
The defensive vulnerabilities of the Galaxy were once again brought to light. St. Louis implemented a high press, targeting the Galaxy's attempts to play out from the back. This strategic approach resulted in the Reds creating problems for the Galaxy's defense, highlighting a recurring theme of defensive lapses.
The first half saw the Galaxy struggling to break through St. Louis' press, with occasional success through players like Delgado and Fagundez. The absence of Puig was felt, emphasizing the need for his return to provide a countermeasure against aggressive opposition.
LA Galaxy's preseason opener with defensive struggles and youth potential
On the positive side, the defensive duo of Yoshida and Yamane on the right side demonstrated cohesion and defensive prowess, offering a glimpse of hope for the Galaxy's backline. However, fundamental defensive mistakes from Mavinga and Aude persisted, with issues like poor positioning and disconnected play.
The match also featured young talents from the Galaxy academy, including Cuevas and Lepley, but none stood out as immediate first-team contenders. The St. Louis press exposed a flaw in the younger players' game - the failure to move the ball swiftly on the first touch, a crucial skill at the professional level.
As the preseason progresses, concerns persist about experienced players like Mavinga and Aude repeating elementary defensive mistakes. The return of injured players and potential acquisitions may offer solutions, but Aude's performance at left back remains uncertain.
Coach Greg Vanney's desire for a complete preseason squad seemed compromised, with several potential starters not making the bench. With a vacant DP slot, the integration of the roster might extend into the season.
The Galaxy now heads to the Coachella Valley Invitational, aiming to address defensive issues and integrate players before the regular season kicks off. The preseason journey will be crucial in fine-tuning the team's performance and addressing lingering concerns in preparation for the challenges ahead.