As far as luck goes, Los Angeles Head Coach Greg Vanney remarked that if LA didn’t have the bad kind, they wouldn’t have any. More evidence of this was seen in the Galaxy’s first group-stage game of the Leagues Cup, a 1-0 home loss against Club Leon. The scoreline apart, the bad luck came in the form of Captain Gaston Brugman’s season-ending injury. This is now the third such injury for LA, and it is turning an already challenging battle for the playoffs and a trophy this year, into a near-miracle grab. The Galaxy faces the Whitecaps under this cloud of gloom and will seek to avenge a 4-2 league loss to Vancouver with a last-gasp performance.
That away loss ended a Galaxy unbeaten run, while a loss in this match could end LA’s last realistic shot at a trophy this year.
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Dignity Health Sports Park
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
As mentioned, the Galaxy was unbeaten and flying before their away trip to Vancouver. They had rattled off seven straight good results and were starting to creep into the playoff picture again. One bad Vancouver loss later, and the Galaxy entered the Leagues Cup on a low, instead of the high that beating LAFC and Philadelphia was. The insecurity that losing breeds crept into the Galaxy’s last performance against Leon. And although the CCL champion played well, the Galaxy held their own and should have finished their chances. Only being short on confidence allowed Tyler Boyd, then Dejan Joveljic, and lastly, Kelvin Leerdam to waste good shots and opportunities to take the lead or tie the game.
They will need to score those against Vancouver to have a chance. Unfortunately, Brugman won’t be there to connect the lines and move the ball for LA. That means this match is huge for Daniel Aguirre. If Mark Delgado is still injured, Aguirre will slot in for him again and Uri Rosell will deputize for Brugman. However, if Delgado can play, Aguirre will step into the most important role in the Galaxy lineup. The way Aguirre combines with Riqui Puig will be key to LA’s success.
Tony Alfaro is expected to start again after good showings against Vancouver and Leon. This means Jalen Neal and Alfaro will have a crack at stopping Vancouver’s attack. Alfaro played the second half after the damage was done, and Neal missed the trip through injury.
Vancouver Whitecaps Current Run of Form
The Vancouver Whitecaps opened their Leagues Cup campaign with a tough loss in penalties to Club Leon. After ending 2-2 in regulation, Leon was finally able to beat the Whitecaps after 16 spot kicks. They will rue the loss, especially after controlling large parts of the game and being ahead 2-1 late into the match. This only means they will come out with something to prove against LA. First, their MLS win over the Galaxy wasn’t a fluke, and also that they deserve to play with the best in this tournament.
Before the latest Vancouver blitz, this fixture series had been pretty evenly matched. The last 12 matches saw each side win five and draw twice, though the Whitecaps have only lost once in the last six games. But that latest loss against the Whitecaps hurt the Galaxy. It hurt both their pride after a run of excellent soccer, and it hurt the Galaxy’s playoff chances. If Vancouver can win this game, that’s two death blows to the Galaxy in one season.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 29, 2023
LA Galaxy vs. Whitecaps Prediction
Qualification to the next round is in the Galaxy’s hands. A win will put them through, as well as a tie in regulation and a victory in penalties. That means the Galaxy’s last-gasp chance at a trophy this year is still alive. To win this match, LA needs its depth players to step up. If they can, look for the Galaxy to be enjoying the next round of this tournament.
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