Columbus Crew SC (4-6-4) will play host to the LA Galaxy (5-5-6), who find themselves traveling east of the Mississippi for the final time this regular season. As Columbus gets set to play LA for the 40th time in club history, here’s a look at what to expect from the reigning MLS Cup Champions.
LA is currently sixth in the Western Conference with 21 points. After having its 29-game home unbeaten streak snapped at the hands of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Galaxy look to rebound on the road – a situation that, historically, has not boded well for them in Columbus.
The Galaxy are 4-9-5 in Columbus, with Crew SC holding the advantage in both scoring differential (+5) and series wins (16-14-9). The Black & Gold have tallied a total of 57 points throughout their series with the Galaxy, the fourth-most points earned against any Western Conference opponent.
LA has struggled away from home since the end of last season, winless in its last 14 matches away from the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, going 0-7-7 in that span. For LA, finding quality chances within the final third has been a weak spot for them this season. The Galaxy are looking to put behind a subpar performance against Vancouver, a match which featured zero shots on target for LA. The Galaxy are 0-4-4 on the road this season, having scored six goals and averaging just under three shots on target on the road.
Despite going winless in its first eight road matches this season, LA has been pitted against some considerable competition. Of the club’s eight away matches, only one has been played against a team placed within the 6-10 seeds (Real Salt Lake, 9th). LA also isn’t far off the win column, dropping three of these four road losses by a margin of only two goals or less.
LA prefers to play a possession-based style of soccer, pushing the ball out to the flanks from the central midfield and looking for crossing opportunities into the box. The Galaxy are currently fifth in MLS in average possession time per game with 52.7 percent. The Galaxy favor attacking on the right side, where attacking midfielder and team assist leader Stefan Ishizaki has proved himself as a facilitator. With four assists – three of them coming on the road – Ishizaki has been a valuable provider for the Galaxy this season.
As for which players are on the receiving end, forwards Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane and Alan Gordon have accounted for 60 percent of their total goals (9) and 66 percent of their away goals (4). Most of LA’s scoring chances on the road have come through the midfield or by capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes near the box. More than two-thirds of their away goals have come from open play, with the remaining third coming from set pieces. On Saturday night, the Galaxy will be playing without Keane, forward Bradford Jamieson IV and defender A.J. DeLaGarza, who are all away on international duty.
For the second straight season, there will only be one regular season matchup between the two clubs. Come Saturday, the Black & Gold will be looking to replicate last year’s box score. Columbus came away with a 4-1 victory and a seemingly new dose of momentum, going on to win seven of their next 10 matches, and securing the third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 at MAPFRE Stadium. Get your tickets here while they're still available.
L.A. Galaxy Quick Facts:
Regular Season Record: 5-5-6
Western Conference Rank: 6th
Away Record: 0-4-4
Goals For: 15
Goals Against: 18
Current Run: 1 loss
Last Match: 1-0 loss vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC