Galaxy Host Sporting KC While LAFC Travel to Atlanta

Beginning Saturday, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club will feature in this weekend’s installment of Major League Soccer. On Sunday, Sporting Kansas City travel to StubHub Center attempting to tame the Lion that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy with a 6 p.m. kickoff.

But first, tomorrow LAFC travel to the South as Bob Bradley’s men look to bounce back from last week’s El Trafico collapse by visiting Atlanta United for a 2 p.m. match. With the 4-3 loss to the Galaxy last Saturday fresh in the club’s mind, this game against the Five Stripes couldn’t come quick enough as the Black and Gold look to forget last week’s second half melt down after being 3-0 ahead.

“We’re back on the road with our teammates in our hotel room and it’s one of those things where you build that bond right now,” LAFC right-back Steven Beitashour told the team’s lead broadcaster Max Bretos in a pregame interview, “And we’re ready for a big challenge tomorrow they’re obviously a great team at home.”

After losing its first game of the season, Atlanta United have taken three wins on the bounce with the latest victory coming via a 1-0 shutout of Minnesota United last Saturday.

Despite the loss last week, LAFC continued playing with similar confidence and free-flowing attack throughout the match against the Galaxy. It will be interesting to see how these squads with the same style of play will coincide on the pitch – it seems to be adding up into an individual’s game where the likes of Miguel Almiron, Carlos Vela, Josef Martinez, or Diego Rossi will have to make a big play to make the difference.

“Their attacking three are vary dynamic, very quick, and it’s going to be a challenge to pay attention throughout the game,” Beitashour said, “It’s a challenge and it’s something that the coaching staff here has really prepared us throughout the week and tomorrow is the fun time.”

When the Galaxy receive Sporting KC Sunday night, the topic of discussion leading up to the match will be whether or not Zlatan will start this time after starting his first MLS appearance on the bench.

In his first MLS appearance, Ibrahimovic featured in 19 regulation time minutes. The combination of Ola Kamara, Sebastian Lletget, and Emmanuel Boateng on the other hand, have played 869 minutes, yet The Lion is already the clubs leading goal-scorer with two goals.

“When you play with a player like that, you give more than you have to give,” French winger Romain Alessandrini told MLS reporters, “Because you have to be perfect with him, you have to give him the good ball, so I think it’s good for everybody, because everybody wants to give more.”

The Frenchman hasn’t featured for the Galaxy since scoring in the first game after a hamstring injury took him out of the season opener 61 minutes into the match. Lucky for coach Sigi Schmid, the pacey winger will return to selection alongside midfielder Jonathan dos Santos who was out for two weeks with his own hamstring issue.

Still injured is Jonathan’s brother Giovani who is also ailing from a bad hamstring but Schmid’s roster, with Zlatan comfortably sliding in, should look nice enough come kick off on Sunday.

Meanwhile, with a +1 goal difference, Sporting KC rolls into Carson atop the Western Conference a month into the season. SKC have played one game more than the Galaxy but haven’t lost since dropping its season opener against New York City FC over a month ago, beating Chicago, San Jose, drawing Colorado, and defeating D.C. United last Saturday.

During a press conference at Childern’s Mercy Park, SKC captain Matt Besler was asked if facing someone with the pedigree Ibrahimovic does makes it more of an incentive to play extra hard in this game:

“Yeah it does it does,” Besler said, “Look I don’t know the exact measurements of Zlatan, but I believe he’s 6’5”, he’s probably 230 [pounds]. And whenever he steps on the field he’s the most skilled player on the field. Does that ever happen? To be 6’5”, 230 and be the most skilled player on the field. Probably not. He’s a different player than you’ll ever go up against.”