Vancouver Whitecaps vs LA Galaxy – Saturday 7:00PM PST/10:00PM EST BC Place, Vancouver, Canada.
There will be no obvious star players among the LA Galaxy when they come to visit the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. Indeed, the days when the Galaxy were the galacticos of Major League Soccer seem to be over.
David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and Steven Gerrard have all donned the white uniform of Major League Soccer’s most recognized brand in recent years. Beckham, however, is long gone, pursuing his dream of a Miami franchise, and Gerrard, Donovan(who briefly came out of retirement last year), and Keane all left the club after the Galaxy’s defeat to the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference semi-finals of the MLS Cup.
That does not, however, mean that the Galaxy will not be an attractive opponent for the Whitecaps on Saturday night. In fact, the Galaxy have followed a recent MLS trend, and targeted younger players who are more able to play the high tempo athletic style required these days in MLS.
In the summer, the club signed 27-year-old French left-winger Romain Alessandrini from the French club, Olympique Marseille, and the 23-year-old Portuguese midfielder, João Pedro, from the Portuguese club, Vitória Guimarães. The club also added some experience by trading for Jermaine Jones, who was part of the Colorado Rapids last season.
Despite all the moves, the LA Galaxy still retain one of the most valuable squads in Major League Soccer—they are ranked third behind Toronto and Atlanta in overall transfer value according to transfermarkt.de—at the same time the Galaxy nonetheless appear to be going through a transition period. The club, in fact, is seldom listed among the teams that could potentially win the championship at the end of the season.
This is also reflected by the Los Angeles’ recent results. The Galaxy lost the two opening matches to FC Dallas (2-1) and Portland Timbers (0-1), before finally recording their first win on matchday three against Real Salt Lake (1-2). They are coached by Curt Onalfo, who took over the squad after Bruce Arena left to coach the US national team, Los Angeles hope to continue to put together a series of wins as they visit Canada’s Pacific Coast on Saturday.
Vancouver, on the other side, will try to stop LA. The Whitecaps had a promising start to the season when they advanced to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League after convincingly eliminating the New York Red Bulls (3-1 on aggregate).
Since then, the wheels seem to have come off for the Whitecaps. Coached by Carl Robinson, the team labored to a 0-0 draw against the Philadelphia Union to open the season. The performance was then followed by a 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes in California.
The Whitecaps were actually up 2-0 in that game, but lost goalkeeper David Ousted to a red card, and then offered very little to fight off San Jose, who stormed to a victory. Vancouver then lost 2-0 to Tigres UANL in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League, and then fell 2-0 at home to Toronto.
While the defeat to Tigres could perhaps be excused by the gap of quality that still exists between Liga MX and the MLS, the Whitecaps, at no point, seemed capable of hurting the Mexican side. The same was true when the Whitecaps met Toronto at home on matchday three.
Toronto were without superstar, Sebastian Giovinco, but dominated much of the game, and then made quick and easy progress against the Whitecaps after Brek Shea was sent off with a red card. The results mean that there is already some discontent in Vancouver over how the squad has been developed in recent months, and Robinson will have to turn things around against Los Angeles on Saturday if he does not want to face questions about his management of the club.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs LA Galaxy – Player to look out for:
Giovani dos Santos could make his return for the Los Angeles Galaxy after missing matchday three with an injury. The Mexican is the club’s most recognizable star. The product of Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy is an exciting forward, who can make the difference in any game.
Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted will be back in net for Vancouver. The Danish goalkeeper missed one game due to the red card he received against San Jose. A fan favorite, Ousted will have to be at his best against an LA Galaxy side that will bring plenty of firepower to the Pacific Northwest.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs LA Galaxy – Match Stats
- Vancouver is still winless in 2017 Major League Soccer season.
- This is the 18th time that the two clubs have met, and LA Galaxy holds a winning record with (W10 D4 L3).
- On average, LA Galaxy have scored 1.8 goals against Vancouver.
- Vancouver, in the meantime, has only managed 0.9 goals, on average, against the Galaxy.
- Vancouver has lost the last three games against the Galaxy.
Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs LA Galaxy 0-2
Ousted – Harvey, Parker, Waston, Williams – Laba, Mezquida, Flores – Davies, Montero, Bolaños
Manager: Carl Robinson
Diop – Romney, Diallo, Steres, Garcia – João Pedro, Jones – Boateng, dos Santos, Alessandrini – Villarreal
Manager: Curt Onalfo