The Galaxy closed out their 2019 preseason with a loss to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 10,329 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Injuries hurt: The Galaxy were without central midfielders Jonathan dos Santos (precautionary), Perry Kitchen (right ankle injury), Sebastian Lletget (right hamstring), and Juninho (knee injury). Add in a continuing muscle injury to forward Giovani dos Santos and an injury to starting goalkeeper David Bingham in the 14-minute of the match, and the bodies are piling up. The injuries in the center of the field have left the Galaxy thin and have ensured that Guillermo Barros Schelotto never played a preseason game with what is expected to be his first-choice lineup.
Ibrahimovic and Kamara return to mixed results: After missing preseason matches against Toronto FC, Atlanta United, and the Vancouver Whitecaps, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara returned to the field in hopes of sparking an offense that’s scored just twice. The Galaxy had only three shots in the first 45 minutes, with none of those finding the frame, and Ibrahimovic was denied from point-blank range by Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard on one of his few chances on the night.
Defensive questions remain: The key offseason focus was to make the league’s third-worst defense better. Unlike the previous preseason games — where the defense had showed a steady hand — the defense struggled to contain a quick Colorado attacking core. Forward Kei Kamara victimized the Galaxy with an easy header in the first half, and throughout the match the Rapids pressured the Galaxy defense. Colorado finished with 12 first-half shots (six on target). Diego Polenta was brought in specifically for this reason, and his steadying hand has helped tremendously. But consistency is key for a team that is looking for drastic improvements along that front.