CARSON, Calif -- 148 Days. 213,120 minutes. That’s how long it has been since LA Galaxy fans have seen their team win at home in the StubHub Center.
In past seasons the Galaxy away fixture has been a serious trial for opposing MLS teams, but with only one other home win in 2017 the mystique this year isn’t what it has been in the past. In breaking their 10-game home winless streak, as well as their overall 10-game winless streak, the team hopes the process of turning their home ground back into a stronghold has begun.
“We talked about that after the game in the locker room,” said head coach Sigi Schmid. “We have to turn this place into a fortress again. Today was maybe the first step in that direction.”
A big reason for getting their form back on track was the return of midfielders Jermaine Jones and Romain Alessandrini, both who have missed time recently due to injury. Alessandrini, who also missed the Galaxy’s last game due to the birth of his daughter, played a key role in the Galaxy attack, while Jones has been asked by Schmid to play in more of a holding role, with the LA back line playing deeper.
“Jermaine’s played very well for me as that defensive midfielder,” Schmid said, “sitting in there, winning balls, and just opening up the game for us from that position. I think he’s so effective when he plays deep in that hole, rather than getting pushed up higher.”
Even though he played as a No. 6, Jones was able to match Alessandrini’s chance creation total on Saturday, but perhaps just as significantly he led the team in touches. With the defense sitting deeper, the attack built through Jones, who had options going wide to Alessandrini or the speedy Emmanuel Boateng.
Alessandrini, meanwhile, tallied the opening goal from the penalty spot and set up Gyasi Zardes' tally in the second half.
“There’s not many players that can pretty much every time unbalance the first defender or beat the first defender,” Schmid said. “If you can do that on a consistent basis, then other things will open up.
“If we can keep the unit together out there on the field and guys read that better, and understand that better, and make the right runs off of it, it’ll become even more productive.”
That unit is subject to change, with both Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos on international duty this weekend. But Schmid and his team will hope that his work now sets the foundation for the team the Galaxy field the rest of this season as well as 2018.