To say the LA Galaxy has struggled during the 2017 MLS season would be an understatement due in large part to a number of injuries to key players. Sebastian Lletget, Baggio Husidic, Robbie Rogers and Jermaine Jones are just some of the names that have missed significant time.
Los Angeles welcomed back Jones and Daniel Steres from their respective injuries. Both players took part in the team’s 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Jones, a natural holding midfielder, was not ready to go full time, prompting head coach Curt Onalfo to utilize Ashley Cole in the center of the pitch.
The Englishman thrived in his new spot, completing 88 percent of his passes and displaying tremendous defensive energy alongside Joao Pedro. Cole talked about his performance in the midfield with Spectrum SportsNet:
“It was okay. It was difficult,” Cole told Spectrum SportsNet after the match. “I’m all tired, but I feel relaxed. We didn’t have the ball a lot in the last few games, and I’ve always wanted the ball to help the center backs to have options. I think I did alright.
“[Curt] saw that I play with confidence and I try to play the ball forward as quick to our playmakers Romain and Gio as I can. I tried to find them as quickly as I could.”
Onalfo was pleased with Cole’s game, but was not surprised at his player’s versatility:
“He’s a great soccer player. You can play him anywhere and he knows how to play. I thought he did a good job of helping us keep the ball and helping us dictate the game,” Onalfo said. “He wants the ball in every occasion, it’s just unfortunate we didn’t finish the chances we played some good soccer at times tonight, and that’s what we have to focus on.”
Moving forward, it may not be ideal for the 36-year-old to play in the midfield. However, with Pedro picking up a fifth yellow card earning a suspension due to card accumulation, Onalfo may use Cole in the midfield against the New England Revolution again. Jones could return to the starting lineup depending on how he feels.
The Galaxy will hit the road once again as they try to add to their league-best road record of 5-3-1.