Jonathan dos Santos: Complicated game awaits shorthanded Galaxy at Atlanta

Jonathan dos Santos - tight shot - Galaxy

ORLANDO, Fla. – For Jonathan dos Santos, Saturday’s game against Atlanta United  might be a complicated one for the LA Galaxy.

Following last weekend’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Portland Timbers, the Galaxy are heading into Saturday’s cross-country match (5 pm ET | FOX, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada) against Atlanta with a few key pieces unavailable. 

Diego Polenta, Efrain Alvarez and most importantly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Saturday’s game due to suspension.

Shorthanded, dos Santos is hopeful the Galaxy will walk away with the victory despite going into one of the league’s most hostile places.

“A complicated game,” dos Santos said on Tuesday when asked what his thoughts were on the Atlanta-LA Galaxy game. “We know they’re very tough at home, they have a lot of supporters… We have to win since we lost our previous game and we’re going with the intentions of taking three points.”

But the Mexico international isn’t going to use the absences of three key players as an excuse when both team kick off on Saturday afternoon.

“They’re absences that we’re going to note,” he said. “The fact that we won’t have Ibra, Efra or Diego Polenta as well, but in the end, it’s not an excuse. We have to go out there with full intensity and with the will to win three points.”

Atlanta United star Josef Martinez, however, expects a challenging match against the Galaxy despite Ibrahimovic’s absence.

“Every game brings its difficulties,” said Martinez. “It doesn’t matter who’s playing or not. We’re 11-against-11, the names don’t matter. We just see who we have to play next, and who they might field and we handle our own.”

When dos Santos was asked if Ibrahimovic’s exclusion will affect how Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto prepares tactically, the Mexican international said it might change things, but backed his teammates who will have to fill that void.

“Perhaps, yes, play a little different,” he said. “Without Zlatan, it changes the scheme up front because Zlatan at whatever time can change the game. But we know we have other players who can do a great job and help us.”

On Saturday, though, Dos Santos will reunite on opposite sides with Martinez, whose lockers next to each other during Wednesday’s 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target at Exploria Stadium.

“I told him that we’re going to win and I’m going to injure him,” dos Santos jokingly said. “We’ve talked, joked about how we’re looking at that game. Obviously, they have a spectacular fan base, but he’s a great friend, so I wish him the best, but on Saturday not much.”