Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. New York City FC
Venue: StubHub Center – Sunday, August 23 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 1)
Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/9 – Draw 18/5 – New York City 11/2
LA Galaxy host New York City FC on Sunday in a standout MLS fixture. This will be the first time these franchise’s have ever faced each other and the potential reunion of the Frank Lampard vs Steven Gerrard midfield battle makes this game the most highly anticipated of Week 25.
LA Galaxy come into this game top of the Western Conference and in fine form after winning their last three matches, scoring eight goals in the process.
The Galaxy have managed to score 22 times in their last five home games – that is an average of 4.4 goals in each MLS game at StubHub Center, which is incredible. The reigning MLS Cup holders have only lost one of their 13 home matches this season which just goes to show how tough it is going to be for NYCFC to take all three points away from StubHub on Sunday.Embed from Getty Images
New York City come into this game on a two-game unbeaten streak as they beat Eastern Conference leaders DC United before drawing 2-2 against Columbus on Wednesday night.
With NYCFC currently sat in seventh position in the Eastern Conference, they will be looking to be only the fourth side to take points away from the StubHub Center this season to boost their playoff chances with the end of the regular season just around the corner.Embed from Getty Images
On average New York City conceed 1.25 goals in every away game and with the attacking dominance that the Galaxy have shown at home this season, NYCFC will most certainly have to shore things up at the back to stand any chance of success in this one.
English fans will be hoping to see Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard face off against each other in midfield once more, but Lampard’s fitness concerns mean that it’s not guaranteed.
LA Galaxy are still without goalkeeper Brian Perk for the remainder of the season. Jose Villarreal, Baggio Husidic and Todd Dunivant all missed the win over FC Dallas and are doubts for the NYCFC game. Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Giovani Dos Santos will all start, while Gyasi Zardes is expected to despite transfer rumours linking with a move to Europe.
New York City FC remain without long-term absentees George John, Tony Taylor and Connor Brandt. Javier Calle is out with a hamstring injury. Khiry Shelton is questionable, while Ned Grabavoy and Chris Wingert are doubtful after missing the win over DC United. Frank Lampard is facing a race against time to be ready as he continues to battle a thigh injury.
La Galaxy’s form: W/W/W/W/W
New York City’s form: W/L/L/W/D
Key Stat: LA Galaxy have scored an average of 2.3 goals per home game this season. Attack.
Key Player: Robbie Keane – The Irishman has been in fine form this season, scoring 13 goals, 10 of which have come at home. He could prove to be the difference this weekend and it’s tough not to see him continuing his fine scoring form at home this Sunday against a leaky NYCFC defence. With his incredible movement and keen eye for goal, we can see him causing New York City’s defence huge problems.Embed from Getty Images
La Galaxy 3-2 New York City – This looks like a game that promises plenty of goals due to the creativity that both sides have in their midfield through the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo. These veterans should create chances throughout the game and with both sides boasting clinical strikers in Robbie Keane and David Villa, we can see this game being an end-to-end affair with lots of goals. The Galaxy haven’t managed a clean sheet in their last five encounters, which means this game could be closer than what many may think, though the home side should still edge it.