The Los Angeles Galaxy will finally have the chance to open the 2023 MLS season in Dallas. LA’s week one El Tráfico showpiece at the Rose Bowl against city rival LAFC, due to kick off the Apple TV and MLS merger, was canceled due to inclement weather. While overwhelmingly regarded as the right decision, it does mean the Galaxy starts an already congested season a week later than all other teams in the league besides their week one opponent. This instantly puts the team at a disadvantage against an FC Dallas team whose pride will be hurt after losing their own home opener. Add in two missing DPs in Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Douglas Costa, and it means the Galaxy will be hard-pressed to get a result in Dallas, where they haven’t won since 2015.
LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas Predictions
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LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
As mentioned previously, LA heads to Dallas with only one of three DPs available to play Saturday. And even that would be untrue if the Galaxy hadn’t made Riqui Puig a designated player this week. Although the team had an extra week to get ready due to their week one postponement, Captain Chicharito announced on Twitch that he’d be facing two to five weeks on the sideline. So, Los Angeles will depend on the supremely gifted Spaniard to help them weather the injury storm. He’ll have to do so with a makeshift starting 11 around him in Texas as Los Angeles Head Coach Greg Vanney looks to finalize his roster.
Vanney claims his team is ready, even though his roster might not be. The extra week off has the team anxious to get on the field and play a match Vanney told reporters post-training this week. “There was a lot of disappointment, and it’s a group that has put in a lot of work for the eight weeks,” Vanney confessed of the postponed El Tráfico. “They were prepared, they were focused on the game that was coming up, they were looking forward to it. I felt the energy during the course of the week leading up to the game, felt like the playoffs to me a little bit.”
Vanney will hope his team takes and transfers that energy to their match against FC Dallas. New arrival Tyler Boyd should get the start as the team’s only natural winger, while Efrain Alvarez will probably line up on the other wing. Other than that, there shouldn’t be any major starting 11 surprises.
FC Dallas’ Current Run of Form
FCD knows it must bounce back at home after a 1-0 week one loss against Minnesota FC. They’re in a great position to do so; it’s simple, they’re at home. Dallas hasn’t lost to the Galaxy in Frisco in five matches. Even more promising for Head Coach Nico Estévez, is FCD’s three-match clean sheet streak against the Galaxy.
The team that finished third in the Western Conference last year should be just as dangerous in 2023. Forward Jesus Ferreira will be back to lead the line. After getting shut out, the 22-year-old will try to take his week one frustration out on the Galaxy. He scored two goals against LA in a 3-1 away win in May 2022, so he’s no stranger to terrorizing the Galaxy backline.
Sebastian Lletget is also no stranger to the Galaxy. The California native spent seven years in Los Angeles and although the roster is much changed, he’ll certainly play a part against his former club. An in-form Lletget can cause problems for LA’s midfield. If he can link up with winger Paul Arriola, they’ll both have a field day supplying Ferreira service. If Dallas can get out to an early lead, it’ll be lights out. The Galaxy will have to overcome both the team on the pitch and its own history in the lone star state.
Dallas might be the Galaxy’s bogey team. They usually don’t do well against Dallas. When they travel to Dallas, the record gets even worse. Dallas holds the edge in all-time wins with a 15-4-11 record. In the previous five LA losses to FCD, they’ve been outscored 10-3.
LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas Prediction
All this aside, the Galaxy cannot afford to drop points so early in the season. Two injured DPs mean it needs to stay afloat till they and other roster reinforcements arrive. Enter Riqui. The newly minted “future of the LA Galaxy” can now start showing that the tag is justified. And he certainly hasn’t shied away from saying he’ll do so. Puig has mentioned on more than one occasion that he wants to win MLS MVP this season. Well, he can start building his case on Saturday against FC Dallas.
To do so, he’ll have to fight against history. This and an incomplete roster mean a victory will be tough to get. Considering the Galaxy will open their campaign with two road matches, not losing is the optimal goal here. Look for the Galaxy and FC Dallas to play to a draw on Saturday.