Mid­fielder is feel­ing at home

His time with Galaxy has been brief, but Dos San­tos al­ready likes what he sees.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Kevin Bax­ter kevin.bax­ter@la­times.com Twit­ter: @kbax­ter11

Jonathan dos San­tos is just 26 min­utes into his MLS ca­reer. But in that short time he said he’s al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced both sur­prise and com­fort in his new league.

“I was re­ally sur­prised by the am­bi­ence in the sta­dium,” Dos San­tos said of his brief ap­pear­ance off the bench for the Galaxy in last Sun­day’s loss in Portland. “I’m very com­fort­able with ev­ery­thing. With the team, my team­mates, the coach, with the fans.

“I think I have chem­istry with ev­ery­one.”

That the­ory will be tested again Satur­day when Dos San­tos makes his home de­but for the Galaxy against New York City FC (8 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN De­portes). Al­though the mid­fielder has had just six train­ing ses­sions with the team since trans­fer­ring from Span­ish club Vil­lar­real last month, Galaxy coach Sigi Sch­mid said he’s pleased with Dos San­tos’ fit­ness and may start him Satur­day.

“We’ve just got to make sure we don’t over­load him and have him play too much, too early,” Sch­mid said. “He’s ob­vi­ously go­ing to be a key part of this team for this year and years to come.”

But if the Galaxy have any hope of sal­vaging what’s left of this year, they’ll have to throw cau­tion aside in a clash of teams head­ing in op­po­site di­rec­tions.

The Galaxy en­tered the week­end closer to the Western Con­fer­ence cel­lar than they are to a play­off berth while New York City has the thirdbest record in the league. Plus, NY­CFC has lost just twice since May and the Galaxy, win­less in their last seven games, have won only once in the last 10 weeks.

And the Galaxy’s last win at home came in the first week in April; they’ve gone 0-4-4 at the StubHub Cen­ter since then.

“What this team needs is just con­fi­dence,” said Sch­mid, who will be seek­ing his first vic­tory in his third game since re­plac­ing Curt Onalfo, who was fired last month. “We need to get a win. It doesn’t matter what you do at train­ing. The only way you ul­ti­mately get that con­fi­dence is to go out and get a win.”

Also in need of con­fi­dence is for­ward Gyasi Zardes, who hasn’t scored — and has taken just seven shots on tar­get — in 14 games. Zardes, who scored 16 times in 2014, thought he had one last week but the goal was taken off the board af­ter a video re­view showed he han­dled the ball be­fore it went into the net.

“He just needs to get a goal,” Sch­mid said. “He needs the goal­keeper to clear it off his rear end and it goes into the goal, and all of a sud­den he’s happy and he’ll know that this huge block of ce­ment is off his back.

“To a cer­tain ex­tent it be­comes a psy­cho­log­i­cal game.”

Dos San­tos could help there since Sch­mid en­vi­sions the mid­fielder, who com­pleted more than 88% of his passes last week, pro­vid­ing a link be­tween the back line and Galaxy at­tack­ers such as Zardes and Ro­main Alessan­drini, who is ex­pected back af­ter miss­ing the Portland game be­cause of left-knee ir­ri­ta­tion.

How­ever, Sch­mid will again be with­out de­fender Jelle Van Damme, the team cap­tain, who is sus­pended for the match. His ab­sence could be im­por­tant since NY­CFC’s David Villa, the reign­ing MVP, en­tered Satur­day lead­ing the league with 17 goals.

The Galaxy, mean­while, have given up 18 goals in their win­less streak.

Scott Var­ley As­so­ci­ated Press

JONATHAN dos San­tos is set to make his home de­but with the Galaxy.

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