Preview: Minnesota United at LA Galaxy
The LA Galaxy and Minnesota United FC enter Saturday's game at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., coming off close losses late last week, but the Galaxy know they remain in a good spot even after their nine-game unbeaten streak ended.
The 2-1 loss at the Colorado Rapids last week occurred without star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was unavailable per MLS policy after missing the All-Star Game.
Minnesota United (9-13-1) surrendered two stoppage-time goals in a 2-1 home loss to Seattle Sounders FC. The Loons are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings with 28 points.
The Galaxy (10-8-5) remain in a favorable spot at No. 5 in the Western Conference with 35 points, which is only two points behind Portland, the No. 2 team. They have won the first two meetings with Minnesota United, outscoring them 5-1 in those games.
The Galaxy have not lost consecutive league matches since a four-game losing streak in May.
"We have to make sure it's just a bump in the road," Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said of the loss to Colorado. "We've had a good stretch, but all of those things come to end at some time, so we have to stand up. We know what we did wrong, we have to look at that and make sure we come out ready to play against Minnesota."
With Ibrahimovic slated to return, the only Galaxy player out for Sunday's game is defenseman Rolf Feltscher, who underwent shoulder surgery in April and has returned to training with the team.
Minnesota's loss to Seattle snapped a streak of four consecutive wins at TCF Bank Stadium. The Loons have lost two consecutive games.
"Obviously, bitterly disappointed," United coach Adrian Heath said. "Our home form has been really good. To come away with nothing is a little bit of a killer blow to be honest."
Unlike the Galaxy, Minnesota United has been hit hard by injuries, with five players missing Saturday's game.
Forward Darwin Quintero has more goals and assists (18) than all but two players in the MLS since his debut April 14.
Minnesota made a financial move this week, trading the team's career leading scorer, forward Christopher Ramirez, to the Los Angeles Football Club for $800,000 from two MLS budget funds, with an additional $200,000 possible if Ramirez -- a fan favorite in Minnesota -- hits performance benchmarks through 2019 with LAFC.
"I'm a football fan myself," Heath said. "I grew up supporting teams, and when you lose one of your players you are not best pleased, but we don't make them decisions for any other reason than we think it's in the best interest of the club moving forward."
The Galaxy made a financial move of their own, trading their No. 1 spot in the allocation order to the Timbers, who plan on signing Santos Laguna left back Jorge Villafana. He once played with the Timbers.
The Galaxy received $175,000 from the Target Allocation Money and General Allocation Money funds for the allocation spot. They plan to use the money to sign a player to help their defense.