Enjoying an unbeaten run that has put the league on notice, the Los Angeles Galaxy will travel to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, July 15. They’ll be seeking another three points and a strong ending to league play before MLS takes a month pause for the inaugural League’s Cup. They’ll also try to build on impressive wins over LAFC and Philadelphia Union, both of whom had been MLS Cup finalists last year.
They’ll have reinforcements for the away trip. After a string of bad luck and bad timing, events which saw Jalen Neal depart for U.S. Men’s National Team Gold Cup duty and the season-ending injury to Martin Cáceres, the Galaxy have finally caught a defensive break. Neal could be set to return to the lineup after a U.S. loss to Panama in penalties on Wednesday night, while newcomer Tony Alvaro will join the team as defensive cover.
Alfaro claims that he’s dreamed about returning to and playing in Los Angeles. The Galaxy will have their own dreams; keeping their playoff hopes alive with a strong ending to MLS play.
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
After the Galaxy’s 3-1 home win over Eastern Conference champ Philadelphia Union, and the 2-1 win over LAFC, LA ended a week in which they proved they can hang with anyone. The stellar play of Riqui Puig, Gaston Brugman, Douglas Costa, Tyler Boyd, and Chris Mavinga has brought the Galaxy “stability,” according to Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney. During the stretch, Costa leads MLS with six assists, Puig has recorded two goals and five assists and Tyler Boyd has notched three goals and one assist. Brugman, meanwhile, has been one of the most underrated players in the league all season. Against the Union, he was clinical. Brugman completed 46 of 47 passes (97.9%), won six possessions, two tackles, four duels, and recorded four interceptions in the victory.
The two recent wins helped the Galaxy improve to a 5-7-9 record, good for 22 points and a 13th-place position in the table after 21 games played. They maintain a four-point lead over last-place Colorado and are now just six points back on the 9th playoff spot held by Vancouver. They do still have Portland, Sporting KC, and Minnesota in their way before they reach the Whitecaps in the table.
Vancouver Whitecaps Current Run of Form
The Whitecaps, by contrast, are coming off a grueling 2-1 home win over Austin FC to recover some form. Vancouver was just able to see the game out and got themselves back in the win column after two straight tough losses. After the win over Los Verde, Vancouver now has a 7-7-7 record in 21 games played. That’s good enough for 28 points and a +4 goal differential.
This is a team that went five games unbeaten, but then leaked six goals in two games. With Ryan Gauld and Brian White leading the line for the ‘Caps, however, they are always dangerous. Add in the returning Julian Gressel whipping crosses in from the flank, and the Galaxy will be hoping for the version of Vancouver coming off of the two tough losses.
These teams have split the last 12 matches. Each side has won five times and drawn twice, although the Whitecaps have only lost once in the last five games. The last match, in March, was a drab 1-1 home tie behind a Kelvin Leerdam goal that the Galaxy thought should have been a win. LA felt they were denied a win after a Dejan Joveljić goal was disallowed in the dying moments of the match, this after another Puig goal had been called off. Before that, the Whitecaps got the better of LA 3-0 in Vancouver.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 13, 2023
LA Galaxy vs. Whitecaps Prediction
It’s hard to bet against the Galaxy in this one, despite them being on the road. LA is playing some of the best soccer of its season and there is no indication that they’ll slow down for this one. Especially since this game will mark the end of MLS play for almost a month. The Galaxy will want a strong ending to the “first half” of the season, and that’s why they won’t let their good form go to waste. Look for a Los Angeles Galaxy win in this one.
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