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Twellman’s Takes: LA Galaxy looked “completely different” vs. Inter Miami | MLSSoccer.com

Twellman’s Takes: LA Galaxy looked “completely different” vs. Inter Miami | MLSSoccer.com

MLS is Back and so are the takes.

The LA Galaxy’s attack was remade in the winter transfer window, reportedly spending around $20 million to acquire DP wingers Joseph Paintsil and Gabriel Pec.

Both players debuted last weekend, showing bright moments alongside midfielder Riqui Puig and Dejan Joveljic in LA’s 1-1 draw vs. Inter Miami CF.

“This Galaxy team is completely different now. I get it – Riqui Puig, but now Paintsil, Pec on the flanks. You’ve got a full season of [Diego] Fagundez,” Twellman said.

“They may be as balanced of an attack as any attack in Major League Soccer. Keep an eye on Joveljic. With those players around him, he may have 15-plus goals.”

Another takeaway from the weekend? Twellman, who called LA vs. Miami alongside broadcast partner Jake Zivin, sensed renewed energy around Dignity Health Sports Park.

“Sunday, the stars were out in LA for the first time in a long time,” Twellman said. “And why do I say that? Because it was in the building where Major League Soccer changed forever with Beckham, Keane and Donovan.

“But that was 2014. And since that MLS Cup, I can count on one hand how many times the buzz and the energy was like what I experienced Sunday night for Messi and company. Zlatan vs. Vela, LAFC vs. the Galaxy are the only other times in the last 10 years where the crowd delivered. So much so they had to let them in 60 minutes earlier to get ready. And the game was fantastic.”

Arguably no team had a better performance than Phil Neville’s Portland Timbers, who laid a 4-1 beatdown on the Colorado Rapids.

Antony (2g/0a) and Eryk Williamson (1g/1a) both strode onto the Team of the Matchday presented by Audi as a result. And this came without DP midfielder Evander (injury) and star goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau (green card), among others.

“This kid Antony, he is the real deal,” Twellman said. “Now remember, he came in late last year, but he didn’t do much for many of us to take notice. Well, guess what? Now he’s got everyone’s attention with the two goals he scored, both a very different variety, but also very clinical.

“And how about Eryk Williamson? Second ACL injury in three years and he comes back and opens up 2024 with that kind of finish. By the way, Phil Neville played him as a 10. He’s got so much quality and he still has so much left in his career.”

Twellman also thinks with Portland’s top-end roster flexibility and players returning from injury, they could ascend further.

“Nobody, and I mean nobody, saw this coming from the Portland Timbers on day one,” Twellman said. “Especially when all of us have been talking about the lack of a No. 9 and two Designated Player spots open. Phil Neville doesn’t know his best XI. He doesn’t even have a complete roster.”

Also, Portland haven’t made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs since they hosted MLS Cup in 2021. Neville, hired in early November, is hoping to ignite a new era in the Rose City

“Remember [Neville’s] hiring wasn’t the most welcomed hiring by the Timbers Army,” Twellman said. “So it was massive that they needed to get off to a good start.”

NEXT: March 2 vs. D.C. United | 10:30 pm ET (MLS Season Pass)

Somewhat lost in the shuffle of LAFC’s 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders FC? The club’s most iconic player remains out of contract.

“For the first time in their history, LAFC kicked off a season without their No. 10 Carlos Vela,” Twellman said. “As of today, he’s not on the roster. But he’s one of 17 players who left LAFC including four other starters from MLS Cup – [Diego] Palacios, [Giorgio] Chiellini, [Maxime] Crépeau, [Kellyn] Acosta. But the quality still remains.”

LAFC didn’t skip a beat, with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and left back Omar Campos particularly impressive in their debuts. Eduard Atuesta, now back at LAFC, also turned heads.

“Hugo Lloris, World Cup-winning goalkeeper, seamlessly fit into the team,” Twellman said. “Great leadership and experience that’s desperately needed for a young team.

“Atuesta leaves for two years, yet after five minutes of watching the game, you’re like, ‘He’s always been here.’ Calm on the ball, great presence, understanding what the game and the team needs. How about left back Omar Campos? Great assist on the first goal. There were so many question marks if he can fill the void of Palacios, yet he gave you a great indication that he absolutely can.”

Against Seattle, golazos from Timothy Tillman and Mateusz Bogusz made the difference. LAFC’s No. 9 picture could look different in the months ahead, though.

“Who will play the 9? As of now, that is Bogusz, a false 9,” Twellman said. “But if he scores goals like this, they may not need to sign someone this summer. Yeah, right.

“LAFC, two DP spots open? You’re not going to sign anyone this summer? Oh yeah, and the free-agent goalkeeper speaks French, right? Hmm, I wonder who’s available this summer.”

Related: Atlético Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann is rumored to be an LAFC transfer target. What a signing that would be.

NEXT: March 2 at Real Salt Lake | 2 pm ET (MLS Season Pass)

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