The Vancouver Whitecaps (11-11-7) travel to Carson, CA this weekend with a temporary manager and diminished playoff hopes following a disheartening 2-1 home loss to FC Dallas last Sunday. The LA Galaxy (11-11-8), now only 3 points below the playoff line, look to maintain their strong home form after a convincing 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders, which also took place last Sunday.
Although separated by only one point in the standings at the moment, all the momentum seems to be flowing in one direction between these two west-coast rivals. Can the Whitecaps spoil the Galaxy’s playoff prospects while re-invigorating their own?
When: Saturday Sep 29th, 7:00 PM (PT)
Where: StubHub Centre, Carson, CA
How: TSN 1/4, TSN 1040 (radio), ESPN +
For the Galaxy, Gio Dos Santos is marked as questionable with an undisclosed injury.
For the Whitecaps, Aaron Maund, although unlikely to start anyways, is marked as questionable with a right hip flexor strain. It’s also worth noting that Cristian Techera will be suspended after his next caution.
Vancouver Whitecaps (4-4-2, right to left)
GK: Stefan Marinovic — Jake Nerwinski, Kendall Waston, Doneil Henry, Brett Levis — Cristian Techera, Aly Ghazal, Russell Teibert, Alphonso Davies — Kei Kamara, Yordy Reyna
LA Galaxy (4-4-2, right to left)
GK: David Bingham — Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, Ashley Cole — Ema Boateng, Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, Romain Alessandrini — Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Kamara
Who’s Worth Watching?
No need for a deep dive here. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara (no relation to Kei) have combined for 29 goals this season and represent an incredibly imposing attacking duo. Also, Zlatan is on a pretty decent run of form as of late:
15 - After three goals in his first eight @MLS appearances, @Ibra_official has now scored 15 goals in his last 15 league games for the @LAGalaxy. Mythical.— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) September 24, 2018
Who’s Going to Win?
The Galaxy have been a threat at both ends of the pitch this season, sporting the second best scoring record (57GF) in MLS but also the third worst defensive record (59GA).
LA have been first to score in eight of their past ten matches, whereas the Whitecaps have conceded first in five of their past six. So everything would seem to point to the Galaxy gaining the opening advantage.
Over the Whitecaps past ten matches this season, both teams have scored in every match. For the Galaxy, both teams have scored in eight of the past ten matches. So if recent history is to be believed, this should be a relatively high scoring affair.
Such a high scoring affair would go against a head to head streak: over the past 9 matches between the two clubs, the total goals have eclipsed 2.5 only once - in an April 2017 matchup at BC Place where Matias Laba scored twice (two of his three VWFC goals in 113 appearances) in the second half en-route to a 4-2 Whitecaps victory.
In short, while matchups between these two teams have been relatively tense defensive battles in the past, recent form would suggest that we are in for a wide open contest, especially considering the potential chaos following the recent dismissal of Carl Robinson.
While the Whitecaps are undefeated in their past four matches against the Galaxy, I suspect that streak might end Saturday night. The Whitecaps are a club without direction at the moment and the Galaxy’s dangerous attacking players pose a serious problem for a vulnerable and disgruntled ‘Caps defensive line.
LA Galaxy 4 - 3 Vancouver Whitecaps