There was a time when the LA Galaxy were synonymous with some of the biggest stars in MLS — and even the world. Names like David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Cobi Jones, and even Alexi Lalas have appeared on the Southern California side’s roster at one time or another.
While they’re not quite as star-studded today as they have been in the past, they still boast some pretty well-known names around these parts like Ashley Cole, Romain Alessandrini, Giovani dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Gyasi Zardes. Without Bruce Arena for the first time in nine years, the Galaxy have somewhat of a new look under head coach Curt Onalfo this season, and they’ve been struggling to find their identity of old — a tale all too well known for soccer fans in the Beehive state.
While they’re sitting in sixth place — technically still in the playoff race — The Galaxy have been less-than-stellar this year, winning only one game at home through eight played at the StubHub Center. This may come as a glimmer of hope for RSL fans, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be an easy win. LA is still stacked with some top-notch players who will be on the pitch in this match-up.
Romain Alessandrini - Midfielder
Shots on goal: 24
Shot conversion: 33%
Alessandrini is a new acquisition in 2017, coming from Marseille where he spent three years, scoring eight goals in 54 appearances. He’s already hit that mark through 16 games played with the Galaxy and has been absolutely vital for the LA squad, even through tough results for the team.
The French midfielder sat out last week against San Jose due to a minor leg injury — missing his first game of the season — but is expected to be healthy enough to play when RSL steps onto the pitch at the StubHub Center.
His quality of play is off the charts, as he’s able to feed the ball to strikers with ease and also finish chances himself when the situation calls for it.
Ashley Cole - Defender
Clean sheets: 3
Shots on goal: 1
Cole has been a household name in the soccer universe for many many years. Most fans would recognize him from his Chelsea days, where the 36-year-old spent nine years, made 229 appearances and scored seven goals as the first-choice left back for the Blues.
The Galaxy signed Cole in 2016, where he immediately helped shore up the defense and made 26 appearances in regular season play. He’s had a few struggles with injuries this season, but he’s made 13 appearances in this campaign so far. He also had a minor leg injury much like Alessandrini, but is expected to play against RSL.
Jack McBean - Forward
Shots on goal: 3
Shot conversion: 67%
With Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes both out due to their respective Gold Cup call-ups, McBean is likely to get the start as possibly the lone forward like he did against San Jose last week. He’s been with the club since 2011, bouncing between the first team and their USL side, LA Galaxy II. He’s made 11 appearances so far this season, coming off the bench as a late sub the majority of the time.
While he only has two goals this season, he’s scored four overall in regular season play in his career, and the more playing time he gets, the more chances on goal he’ll end up with.
Emmanuel Boateng - Forward
Shots on goal: 6
Shot conversion: 33%
Though listed as a foward, Ema Boateng generally plays on the wing in the midfield in Onalfo’s latest lineup iteration. His speed and agility really have the potential to rip defenses apart, as RSL fans have seen time and time again.
He notched four goals and two assists in 2016 alone against RSL, and he scored another in the first meeting of this season in LA’s 2-1 win over Salt Lake. Unfortunately known as “The RSL Killer” around these parts, the visiting defense will look to stop him at all costs, as he’s proven to be incredibly lethal especially against the Utah side for some reason.
Notable absences: Gyasi Zardes (int’l duty), Giovani dos Santos (int’l duty), Jelle Van Damme (red card), Robbie Rogers (ankle), Sebastian Lletget (foot), Jermaine Jones (Q-knee)