Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 11/10
Vancouver Whitecaps will be officially playing host to Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday evening in the MLS, with the Whitecaps forced to play all their home matches at the moment at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, due to the ongoing Covid-related travel restrictions between the USA and Canada. It will be the 13th match of the season for both sides in the Western Conference.
The season hasn’t been going very well for the Whitecaps so far. At the moment, they sit at the bottom of the conference with nine points from 12 matches played so far, two less than FC Dallas and San Jose who sit directly above. There is, of course, no danger of relegation in the MLS, but Marc Dos Santos’ team will have to improve on their results quite soon and hope for favourable results elsewhere if they have any intention of reaching the final series play-offs.
Their last-six record speaks volumes on their form and the reason for their poor placement at the moment. They only managed to earn two points in that span, suffering defeat on four occasions. They first lost 2-1 away to Houston Dynamo, then 3-1 away to Real Salt Lake, lost at home to LA Galaxy 1-2, drew 2-2 away to Seattle Sounders and to FC Dallas, before getting thrashed 0-4 at home at the hands of Real Salt Lake again as Damir Kreilach (twice), Albert Rusnak and Anderson Julio struck to pile on the misery.
Goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and forward Lucas Cavallini are away, representing the Canadian national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which means Thomas Hasal is set to stand between the posts again with Brian White starting upfront.
Right-back Bruno Gaspar and forward Tosaint Ricketts are out through injury.
Things have been going much better for Galaxy this term. The team under the command of Greg Vanney are in third place currently with 24 points, five less than Seattle at the top and three less than Sporting KC in second, but with a game in hand on both rivals. There is, of course, a very long way to go yet before the campaign ends, but Galaxy are looking fine right now.
Unlike the Whitecaps, Galaxy won four of their last six MLS matches, losing twice. They started the run with a 1-0 win at home against San Jose, then they lost 1-2 at home against Seattle, beat the Whitecaps away by 1-2, beat San Jose away by 1-3, lost at home to Sporting KC by 0-2, and won 3-1 at home against FC Dallas.
There is, however, a number of players Vanney won’t be able to call upon for this match. Most notably, the team won’t be able to count on the goals that usually come from Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. The former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward missed the last two games through injury.
Defenders Daniel Steres and Jalen Neal join Hernandez on the sidelines, while midfielders Jonathan dos Santos and Efrain Alvarez (both Mexico), as well as centre-back Giancarlo Gonzalez (Costa Rica) are all away on international duty.
Forward Ethan Zubak scored his first MLS goal the last time against FC Dallas, and in the absence of ‘Chicharito’, he’s likely to lead the line again.
Given the respective table placements of the two teams, the recent form, as well as their last encounter that took place only last month, Galaxy are strong favourites to win.
Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 11/10
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