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Pre Match: Angel City comes to Vancouver

Whitecaps take on LAFC

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Los Angeles FC Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Match Information

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Los Angeles FC

Location: BC Place

Date and Time: July 2nd, 7:00 pm PST, 10:00pm EST

Watching: TSN (in Canada) & MLS Live on ESPN+ (in US)

Saying the Whitecaps have a herculean task ahead of them this weekend is a little bit of an understatement. For the eighteenth matchday of the 2022 season, the Whitecaps are taking on Los Angeles Football Club, the current leaders of the Western conference. LAFC flew out the gate since their inaugural year back in 2018, quickly setting a record points tally in the league, reaching a CCL final, and having one of their players set the single season goal record. During those early years of 2018 and 2019, you felt as if the team was unstoppable and it showed little signs of stopping. COVID halted things quite a bit, with LAFC struggling to find their footing, sometimes showing the life they demonstrated at the start of their MLS career but faltering often as well. 2021 was no different, with Vela dealing with injuries and a rotation of the forward line making the team a playoff contender but a far cry from where they were. It looked like LAFC would be plagued with instability for their near future, and as Vela began to play less and less, maybe LAFC’s league terror would just be a memory going forwards.

Credit where credit is due, LAFC has done a lot to turn their fortunes around, and this season is a prime example of how smart management can make the most out of the team yearning for consistency. Ever since Walker-Zimmerman left the squad, LAFC has needed some solidity at the back, and this season they achieved it by bringing in Sebastian Ibehaga from NYCFC. Their midfield wasn’t getting the results they wanted, so they brought in Illie from SKC and Kelyn Acosta from the Rapids. They needed a striker to support Vela, and brought in Cristian Arango. Most crucially, the position on the field that was never good for them was goalkeeper, and as we are all painfully aware, that’s where Maxime Crepeau came in to help them achieve the lowest goals conceded in the Western Conference. All of these players came in for a total of $5.15m, an absurdly low price for backups that took the nosediving LAFC to the top of the west.

LAFC is a solid side, and since we’ve been focusing on the frugal acquisitions of the team for the last little bit, you may have forgotten that the best is yet to come for the team from Los Angeles, as superstars Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini have agreed to join the Hollywood-esque side. Luckily, it’s more than likely the two champions league finalists aren’t playing against the Whitecaps so it’s just focusing on what they have at the moment.

The Whitecaps are going to struggle to get goals in, as the midfield of LAFC is quite defensive focused and their backline is no joke. They’ll need to make the most of the wings to draw the LA players out of position and have options to shoot on goal. Luckily, they’ll have home field advantage AND a good knowledge of the goalkeeper’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure the crowd won’t be too happy with Max Crepeau’s homecoming, so hopefully that’ll play a factor in the result. LAFC will be quick to transition with the longballs, and Arango will be a force, as he has been impressing beyond his level since arriving in the league. I predict the Whitecaps will try hard but won’t have enough as they receive a 2-0 loss at the hands of LAFC.