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Replacing Jermaine Jones on Sunday | Who's the Best?

The LA Galaxy dropped their season opener at home against FC Dallas 2-1, despite some big-name additions in Jermaine Jones, Romain Alessandrini and Joao Pedro.

The loss matches the number of home losses they had all of last season. On Sunday, they will look to not be handed their 2nd home loss of the season as the Portland Timbers come to town riding high after a 5-1 win against Minnesota United FC (7 pm ET; FS1 in the US | MLS LIVE in Canada).

Unfortunately for LA Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo, they will have to avoid that without the services of Jones, who was suspended Wednesday by the MLS Disciplinary Committee after this tackle on Cristian Colman. The US international had a decent game against Dallas, accruing 360 Audi Player Index points thanks to four key passes, worth 31.5 points each and 38 successful passes in Dallas’ half which are worth five points each.

Next to Jones was Pedro, who will need a new midfielder partner after Jones’ suspension. Pedro’s Audi Player Index of 358 was right there with Jones' total, though both trailed FCD's Kellyn Acosta (481) in central midfield.

To replace Jones, Onalfo will likely turn to one of two options. He can either do a straight swap with the insertion of Baggio Husidic or he can move Sebastian Lletget from the right wing into the middle and use one of his other wing options to replace Lletget for a game.

Over the course of the entire 2016 season, Husidic averaged 186 Audi Player Index points per game which ranked 289th among all players. He started in 16 of his 29 games and in those games his point average rose 252, which would have allowed him to rise almost 100 place in the league-wide rankings.

Much of that increase came from a 517-point performance against the Timbers that saw him complete 38 passes in Portland’s half, a shot on goal from outside the box (115 points) and three key passes (95 points total).

Lletget played much of last season on the wing, but over the last part of the season he excelled in central midfield. In six of his last starts, Lletget played in the middle and the results were excellent. He averaged 528 Audi Player Index points in those six games, versus 293 in his other 25 appearances. Much of that number was fueled by a 1,096-point performance against Columbus Crew SC on September 3 when he had an assist (238 points), two shots on goal (255 points) and 49 successful passes in the opposition half (245 points).

The 528 average would have placed him 22nd overall in the Audi Player Index rankings over the course of the entire season and in the top 10 among midfielders.

If Onalfo were to move Lletget in the middle, Emmanuel Boateng would likely take his spot on the right wing. Boateng averaged 249 points in his appearances last season, an average that is much higher than Husidic’s season-long one.

It’s a tough decision, but based off those numbers above, LA should go with Lletget in the center of midfield on Sunday.

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