On Tuesday, July 25, the Los Angeles Galaxy’s last title chance in 2023 begins at home with the first match of their inaugural Leagues Cup campaign against Concacaf Champions League Champion, Club Leon. It will be a spectacular test for LA, who after beating both MLS Cup finalists in a week, crashed down to earth in their last MLS match, a 4-2 reversal to their other Leagues Cup opponent, Vancouver Whitecaps. The loss put a severe dent into their playoff hopes with just 13 games left to play.
This is a new hope for the Galaxy, however, as it is a new tournament. Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney will be hoping the Whitecaps loss was the wake-up call the team needed. Being at home should help a Galaxy side, who will face a difficult opponent, but has shown they can match up with any team that’s been thrown at them. If they can get past Leon and Vancouver, LA just might have a realistic last title chance in 2023.
LA Galaxy vs. Club Leon at Dignity Health Sports Park
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
A seven-game unbeaten run was undone with a mad 20 minutes in Vancouver that ended in conceding three first-half goals. Although LA launched a comeback with 10 men, it fell short and laid bare LA’s defensive failings yet again. Defender Chris Mavinga will quickly want to forget this game as his red card and penalty dug his team into an insurmountable hole. The result left the Galaxy in 13th place and a 5-7-10 record, which is good enough for 22 points. The Galaxy still has three points on last-place Colorado, but time is running out, and the team knows it. Any moment, the “every game is a final,” quote will be thrown about by the team. And they aren’t wrong.
Which is why this tournament is the perfect break. The Galaxy will use it and the time away from MLS to focus on something other than their fading playoff hopes and the pressure from the chase. It is an opportunity to play a new opponent and correct the mistakes made against an old one. It might even be a chance for the Galaxy to integrate any new signings into the group.
The returning Jalen Neal should help bring even more stability to a back line that had shown improvement in recent games, the Vancouver blip notwithstanding. Neal will be key in stopping a fluid Leon attack, and the way he communicates with Gaston Brugman to marshal the defense will be key. On the attacking end, Riqui Puig is expected to continue his fine form. The way he and Douglas Costa have combined with Tyler Boyd in recent games is encouraging. If this trio can click again, Leon will have a long evening ahead of them in this debut match.
Club Leon Current Run of Form
Leon is coming off a 2-2 draw in regulation against Vancouver they were able to see out 16 to 15 in penalties. Before their opening Leagues Cup match, they lost a tough game 1-0 on the road against Tigres. A 4-0 win at home over Pachuca in their second match of the season helped them jumpstart their Liga MX season after a 1-2 opening-day Apertura loss against Chivas.
And although it’s still early in their season, they find themselves in 11th place in the Liga MX table on three points. They shouldn’t be worried though, as the team is stocked with talent beyond their talisman Angel Mena. They’ll want to add this trophy to pair with their Champions League trophy won at LAFC’s expense.
These two teams have never played each other and as such, have no head-to-head record. The Galaxy’s last game against a Liga MX opponent was on August 3, 2022. That was a Leagues Cup friendly that ended with a 2-0 win over Chivas de Guadalajara.
WE ARE LA
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 23, 2023
LA Galaxy vs. Leon Prediction
This one pits two talented teams against each other. One lived up to its potential by capturing a trophy just last month. While one is embarking on its last title chance of the year and might miss the postseason. But in elimination tournaments, anything can happen.
If the Galaxy can start well and find an early goal, it might make it hard for Leon to chase the game. Still early in the season, their legs might not be quick enough to pick up Puig. Despite the plenty of green shirts sure to be in the stands, this is still an LA home game against a Liga MX opponent. Look for the supporters and Puig to carry the day and produce a Galaxy win. This will mean LA’s last title chance is alive and well.
If Leon scores first, the Galaxy’s record points to a loss.
The post LA Galaxy vs. Club Leon Prediction for July 25; Last Title Chance for LA Galaxy appeared first on Last Word On Soccer.