LA Galaxy- Match Report Vs. NCYFC (27/02/2022)

Match Summary: 

The LA Galaxy snatched a late winner, courtesy of Chicharito, against NYCFC to open their season with a 1-0 win. Although it was a hard-fought game, the Galaxy were probably deserving winners. The Galaxy played in a 4-4-2 with the wingers narrower and higher and Victor Vasquez dropping a little deeper than Chicharito. 

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Julian Araujo

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Mexican 
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: August 13th, 2001
  • Current Club: LA Galaxy 
  • Career: LA Galaxy II, LA Galaxy 
  • Position: Right back 
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Araujo turned in a very impressive performance at right-back against NYCFC. He combined well with Douglas Costa, positioning himself in a way that was complementary to the Brazilian’s movements. When Costa was in a wider area Araujo would play narrower to make himself a passing option and when Costa was in a narrower position Araujo would provide support out wide. He looked comfortable doing either, demonstrating his versatility in attacking phases of play.

He looked comfortable with the ball at his feet and was able to consistently play accurate passes in tight areas. In wider areas, Araujo did a great job of stretching New York’s defence with his positioning and consistently put in dangerous crosses. Crossing is generally a low percentage play but Araujo was at least putting the ball in dangerous areas and crossing from closer to the 18-yard box-not just aimlessly whacking it in whenever he got anywhere near the box. Additionally, he showed an ability to mix it up with his passing, also playing neat passes into the half-space or the penalty box, and connecting with his teammates to open up space for himself.

One area of his technical game that may be a bit lacking is his first touch which was often a bit on the heavy side and occasionally forced him into less controlled passes or giveaways. His dribbling could also improve a bit as he would often opt to just knock a ball past a player. He has a lot of speed so this did work sometimes but not if he didn’t have a lot of space to run into. Defensively Araujo showed great positional play. He often made timely interceptions both by stepping up and making defensive plays and by simply being in the right position to cut out a pass. He was only dribbled past on one occasion when Thiago Andrade knocked the ball past him, but other than that he was solid.

He also showed good recovery speed when Sega Coulibaly had a bit of a slip-up and Araujo was able to come across and help recover the ball. Araujo is not the biggest guy, standing 5’10 and 154 pounds, but he won most of his physical battles so clearly he has enough physical power to get by. 

Rating – A1

This was a very strong performance by Araujo, one that is consistent with his strong performances over the past couple of seasons. At only 20 he is one of the best fullbacks in MLS and I think he would be a good investment for just about any team at a higher level. 

Kevin Cabral

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: French 
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: June 10th, 1999
  • Current Club: LA Galaxy 
  • Career: Valenciennes, LA Galaxy 
  • Position: Winger
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Cabral had a quiet match, rarely getting involved in the attack. This is, of course, normal for Cabral. He may line up as a winger but he is a poacher who happens to start from a wide position. Cabral was in the 15th percentile for touches amongst wingers and attacking midfielders last season according to fbref and it does not look like that is about to change. But he did show some of the skills and abilities that make him effective in his unique role.

He made good runs off the ball, often starting from wide areas and cutting inside, making it difficult for defenders to track him. The ball didn’t come to him very often in this game but he was hitting most of the right areas. He managed to get off one shot with an excellent run off of the back shoulder of a defender. But he wasn’t able to produce those moments often enough in this match. He showed good off-the-ball speed. for the reasons outlined above, this is the only type of speed that really matters for Cabral. He was able to leave NYCFC players in his dust and pick up a misplaced pass and drive the ball down the winger. However, his ensuing cross was lacking in placement.

There was once play-off of a short corner where he was able to hit a dangerous driven delivery. So he is not totally lacking in playmaking skills but his off-the-ball movement and pace is where his bread is buttered. He showed a strong first touch but was a bit limited in his ability to make anything other than short simple passes. His turning radius was a bit too wide to get past defenders quickly off the turn or dribble. When he did receive passes he showed the strength to hold off defenders but his lack of on-the-ball skills meant there wasn’t a whole lot he could do other than a simple layoff pass. 

Rating – B1

Cabral is really good at the things he does well but his game is very limited. He’s 22 and so far he has been an effective player in both Ligue 2 and MLS. So a step up is not inconceivable but he would have to be deployed in a very specific role for it to be a success. 

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