Uriel Antuna and Jonathan dos Santos could do very little to help the Galaxy in the Cali Clásico, while LAFC bounced back from USOC defeat with a 4-1 thumping over the Houston Dynamo. Here’s what we learned from our Mexicans abroad in Week 19 in Major League Soccer.
Antuna lacked sharpness in Galaxy return
Uriel Antuna was one of the revelations of the last Gold Cup, which is why all eyes were on the Mexican winger as he made his return to starting lineup for Friday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes.
As ever, Antuna was a speedy threat down the wing, but it was anything but a good game for the 21-year-old. Antuna only lasted 68 minutes before being subbed out, and overall, left plenty to be desired along with the rest of his teammates, who deservedly got punished 3-1 by the San Jose Earthquakes.
Antuna was questionable on the lead up to the match, so that could have been the reason for his inefficient game. However, after his performances with the Mexico National Team, Galaxy fans will no doubt be asking for more from their no. 18 as the season progresses.
JDS will continue to be the focus of the Galaxy’s midfield
The other Mexican player that made his return with the Galaxy this weekend was Gold Cup Final hero Jonathan dos Santos. Truth be told, as previously mentioned, it wasn’t a good game for the Galaxy against Matias Almeyda’s side, but it was telling to see Jonathan dos Santos once again take complete control of the Galaxy’s midfield.
Obviously, JDS doesn’t have the talent around him that he has with the Mexico National Team, but his role isn’t very different. A lot of the Galaxy’s play depends on the movement of its interior midfielders, and we already caught a glimpse of what this team is capable of earlier in the season when they won five straight games, largely in part because of JDS and the rest of the midfield.
The Major League Soccer season can be long and taxing, and right now, it is evident that the Galaxy are suffering from that. Assuming that they can get Sebastian Lletget back and the rest of the team up to a desired level, the Galaxy remain a team you simply can’t count out come Playoff time, and Jonathan dos Santos is a big reason why.
Carlos Vela will be well rested for “El Tráfico”
Of course, the big game in Week 20 will be none other than “El Tráfico” between Los Angeles FC and the Galaxy. Following LAFC’s U.S. Open Cup elimination to the Portland Timbers, coach Bob Bradley took the unprecedented decision to rotate his squad for Friday’s game against the Houston Dynamo. Naturally, Bradley’s decision meant no Carlos Vela, who spent the entirety of the match on the bench in a game where they didn’t really need the Mexican superstar, outplaying the Dynamo to a 3-1 victory.
Depth is good, but if there is anything to take here is that Vela will arrive well rested for the match against the Galaxy. Vela has scored in all three previous matches versus the Galaxy, and odds are he’ll have a really good chance of doing it again when both of these sides meet on Friday in Carson.