To say the Los Angeles Galaxy seeks consistency is to call the Pacific a lake. They’ll hope to turn their 2-0 midweek win over baby LAFC in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday, May 23, into a veritable winning streak. But the Galaxy will have Charlotte FC in their way as the Crown comes to Los Angeles for the first time in their history. LA will need to show the character they showed against their city rivals to prevail and build off that necessary Cup win with three vital MLS points.
LA Galaxy vs. Charlotte FC at Dignity Health Sports Park
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
After the false flash of hope that produced two straight wins, the Galaxy fell back to earth with consecutive road losses. In that stretch, they gave up five goals and scored none. More important to note, however, was the way LA completely imploded defensively in the 3-0 loss against D.C. United. Head Coach Greg Vanney will want his team to carry over the form they produced in the second half against LAFC in the U.S. Open Cup to MLS. It’s no secret that they’ve been abysmal.
The Galaxy is still in last place in the Western Conference and the league. They’re locked in a battle with SKC to see who can be the league’s worst team. LA has tasted defeat eight times in 13 games, and has a 2-3-8 record with a -13 goal differential. At home, they’ve only won twice.
LA will need to rely on El Tráfico heroes Tyler Boyd and Riqui Puig to spark the offense since club captain Javier “Chicharito” Hernández is going through a dry spell in front of goal. As the Galaxy seeks consistency to save its season, Chicharito will need to get going if LA is to make the playoffs.
Charlotte FC’s Current Run of Form
The Crown started its second-ever season much like the Galaxy’s campaign has gone. Charlotte picked up just one win from the first eight games of 2023. They’ve levelled off since then, though. Having won four of their last six, they’ve managed a 5-3-6 record, good enough for 18 points and 9th place in the East.
But they have lost their last two matches. They faced the embarrassment of a 1-0 cupset loss to Birmingham Legion in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, May 24. Before that, they lost at home 2-1 to Nashville after jumping out to an impressive lead. Charlotte had won four straight before its two-game skid.
With a varied attack consisting of several weapons, the Galaxy needs to be sharp defensively. Enzo Copetti, Karol Swiderski, Kamil Jozwiak, and Jaylin Lindsey all have multiple goals or assists. New signing Justin Meram has a goal or an assist in his last four matches for Charlotte.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 25, 2023
In the only meeting between these two teams in their history, also Charlotte’s first-ever home match, Efrain Alvarez made sure to ruin the housewarming party by scoring a left-footed wonder strike for the game’s only goal. That goal had Galaxy fans claiming, yet again, “This is his year.” A year later, Alvarez has seen more of the bench, than headlines.
LA Galaxy vs. Charlotte FC Prediction
Since Charlotte has never won two straight road games and won their last away match at Atlanta, it’s a statistical certainty that the Galaxy will take this match. But this Galaxy team is nothing if not unpredictable. All season, they’ve been making teams that are going through rough patches, look like prime 1999 Manchester United.
That won’t be the case this Saturday. LA will ride Player-of-the-match Jonathan Klinsmann against LAFC and the midweek high and pull out their second-straight win for the second time this season with a home victory over the Crown.
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