The Galaxy and Toronto FC played to a 1-1 draw at the Dignity Health Sports Park in their first preseason game of the 2019 season.
Rolf Feltscher deflected the only Galaxy goal of the night off of Toronto’s Terique Mohammed in the 55th minute of the game. Toronto equalized on a similar deflection in the 87th minute when a cross from Richie Laryea hit the Galaxy’s Dave Romney and into the back of the net.
Giovani dos Santos (muscle injury), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (precautionary) Sebastian Lletget (muscle injury), and Ola Kamara (illness) were all absent from the team sheet leaving the Galaxy shorthanded.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
The Galaxy needed Ibrahimovic and Kamara on offense. With both players missing, the club was mostly quiet from the striker position outside of a few sparing chances.
Veteran Chris Pontius and, unsigned first-round draft pick, Emil Cuello patrolled up top for the game but most of the offense was created by Manchester City loanee Uriel Antuna.
Antuna, playing on the left side of the midfield, in combination with designated player Romain Alessandrini, was quick and dangerous. He stretched the Toronto defense with his speed and used his quickness to cut inside or stay outside to serve in several dangerous crosses.
Ibrahimovic and Kamara combined for 36 of the Galaxy’s 66 goals in 2018.
After giving up 64 goals last year, and tying for fifth worst in the MLS, the Galaxy may have found an answer in 27-year-old Diego Polenta. The Uruguayan started at center back the same week the club completed his signing.
Polenta brought a calm confidence to his 75 minutes paired with fellow defender Daniel Steres. And his tenacity on defense should be a welcomed addition to a toothless defense.
Barros Schelotto impresses
After two seasons of poor results and head-scratching, in-game collapses, Galaxy’s new head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto seems to have grabbed the attention of the five-time MLS Cup champions. While it’s only a preseason match, the defense was mostly organized through 65 minutes of first-team play, and even looked fairly comfortable in possession.
There was a discipline throughout the entire formation that paid dividends for the Galaxy — even with the occasional break down reminiscent of the last two seasons.
Barros Schelotto even found time to play Galaxy Academy and LA Galaxy II standout Efrain Alvarez. At just 16-years old, Alvarez, a rising star within the organization, looks likely to make his official first team debut this season.