CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are hoping new acquisition Favio Alvarez will be available for Saturday’s clash (4 pm ET | ESPN, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada) with New York City FC at Dignity Health Sports Park. The same goes for Jonathan dos Santos, too.
Alvarez, a 26-year-old Argentine attacker signed on loan from Atletico Tucuman as the MLS Primary Transfer Window closed, is awaiting his P-1 Visa. Dos Santos, who departed with a hamstring injury in the first half of Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Columbus Crew SC, faces a pregame test to determine if he can play.
It's a crucial game for LA (7-3-1), who dropped both games on their Eastern trek. However, they can vault over crosstown rival LAFC (7-1-3) and atop the Western Conference standings with their seventh straight home victory.
“Jona [said he] feels something until yesterday, today he feels better,” head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said following the Galaxy's training session Friday afternoon. “He hopes to be ready for tomorrow. He will try, and then we will take a decision before the game tomorrow.”
Right back Rolf Feltscher won't be available because of a toe injury that's been bothering him the past couple of weeks. He's expected back for the May 19 home game against the Colorado Rapids, and 17-year-old Julian Araujo is expected to start in his place. Araujo was omitted from Tab Ramos' roster, announced Friday, for the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Alvarez, who can play as a No. 10, wide player, striker and second forward, said he's ready to go Saturday if all the paperwork is in place.
“I feel great,” he said in Spanish. “In Argentina, the season is going, and I was training the whole time. The only day I didn't train was when I traveled. If I have the opportunity to play, then I'm ready.”
Alvarez arrived in Southern California on Sunday night and began training at DHSP on Tuesday, when the Galaxy announced his arrival. He said first contact was made about a month ago, and the presence of Argentine legend Schelotto was a huge selling point.
“In Argentina I faced him when he was at Boca [Juniors] at a head coach, and I really like the way he plays,” Alvarez said. “Of course, it had a lot of in influence on me coming here.”
Boca had unsuccessfully tried to sign Alvarez during Schelotto's time in charge, “but that didn't happen,” he said.
Schelotto said Alvarez's passing ability – especially to create chances, which the Galaxy have struggled to do – will prove vital.
“I think he's the kind of player we need to bring to the team, because he can make a pass, give the last pass really good,” Schelotto said. “He imagines the play every time. He's the kind of player we don't have. I like him. He's a good professional, good player, and he can help a lot.”
Alvarez says his natural position is as a playmaker, but that he's happy to play in any attacking position. The coach says he prefers Sebastian Lletget, who had been in the No. 10 slot for LA, in the middle rather than on the flank, so it's uncertain what LA will look like in the attacking third.
“I think [Alvarez] can play together with [Joe] Corona, with Lletget, with Jona or whatever midfielder he's playing [alongside],” Schelotto said. “Don't care much which position for everyone. The best thing we can do is bring good players, they understand each other, make a good play for the team and try to win.”
Alvarez said he followed MLS on Argentine television and is excited to be with LA.
“It's an important team, the winningest team in the [history of the] league,” he said. “I just hope to be at the level that it requires, and it's a big challenge. ... I want to keep growing and show I can play in another league, outside of Argentina. It's a great step in my career, and my first goal is to show myself here and achieve great things with the club.”