September 29th, 2019 – 4:30 PST
Dignity Health Sports Complex – Carson, CA
TV: TSN4; Radio: Team 1040
Steaming: MLS Live on ESPN+ (US)
We are coming to the end of the season, which usually means that the grind has taken its toll on players. Despite this, neither LA nor Vancouver are experiencing significant injuries.
For LA Galaxy, the biggest loss, and it is a big one, is midfielder Romain Alessandrini. He has been out for the majority of the season, undergoing knee surgery. With this being a long-term injury, it has not really impacted the ‘current’ LA Galaxy, so they should come into this one fully ready.
Although the Vancouver Whitecaps do not have any significant injuries, they do have a couple of question marks. Regular starters Maxime Crepeau, Erik Godoy, and Jake Nerwinski are all returning from injury. Each was healthy enough to be on the bench for the Columbus match, but not healthy enough to start. Crepeau should return back to the net, but we could see MacMath again if Marc Dos Santos is trying to make a decision as to whether the backup remains with the club next season of if the coach goes another route. Godoy could return, but MDS seems hesitant to start players unlikely to return next season. If Dos Santos has already decided not to exercise the buy-option on his contract, don’t be surprised if the Argentine stays stapled to the bench. Finally, Nerwinski could be back in the Starting XI, but has not exactly shown he belongs there instead of Scott Sutter.
The decision whether to start Nerwinski or Sutter may be moot though, as Ali Adnan is suspended for this match, due to yellow card accumulation. As we noted in our Know the Enemy article, Sutter could slot in at left back, leaving Nerwinski as the default at right back. Cornelius could also fill in, providing an opportunity to play Godoy. A third option is three-back formation.
Who to Watch
Whenever a club plays against Zlatan Ibrahimovic he is the player to watch. He is second in league scoring, behind Carlos Vela, and has 12 goals in his last eight matches; failing to score only once in those eight matches. He has also performed well against Vancouver. In his two matches against the club, he has three goals, one assist, and 12 shots.
While one player will not be tasked with stopping Zlatan, Russell Teibert and In-Beom Hwang will certainly play a big role in the task. Teibert seems to live for these moments, but has only really excelled in the role when playing against Dempsey. If the Caps can prevent Zlatan from scoring, they have a chance to come away with a result.
On Vancouver’s side, new arrivals Tosaint Ricketts and Michaell Chirinos have been excellent additions, although Chirinos did not look good in the last match. To be fair, no one looked good. While I believe both have a place on next season’s club, especially Chirinos, it will be important that both continue to show that they are answers for Marc Dos Santos rather than bench pieces; at least in the case of Chirinos.
Who is Going to Win
LA Galaxy played on Wednesday evening, at Real Salt Lake, so they will have traveled and had little preparation time. Meanwhile, the Caps will be well rested, but without one of their biggest offensive threats in Ali Adnan. While I would love to see the Caps come away from LA with some points, these two clubs are headed in different directions, with Vancouver having little to play for. The players have looked, somewhat, disinterested in the last few games and there is no reason to believe that this will not continue. Therefore, LA should coast to a victory.
That is our take on the match, but what about you? What do you see happening in this one?