Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy
Venue: BC Place – Saturday, April 2 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)
Match Odds: Vancouver 6/5 – Draw 12/5 – LA Galaxy 11/5
Vancouver were one of just six sides to play last weekend as they secured a valuable 1-0 win against the Houston Dynamo at BC Place.
They have seemingly recovered from a poor start by winning their last two and will be hoping to stretch their winning streak to three here.Embed from Getty Images
Carl Robinson has watched his side score their last four goals from the penalty spot, so the focus will surely be on creating more from open play in upcoming games.
LA Galaxy have looked fairly solid so far, having won both of their home games. Their only defeat came on the road to Colorado, though they were perhaps unfortunate to concede in the 95th minute of that defeat.
LA’s road struggles cost them dearly last term. They must start picking up points away from StubHub Center, particularly against fellow Western Conference sides. A win in Vancouver this weekend would provide them with a huge boost.Embed from Getty Images
Bruce Arena has a number of key players struggling with knocks and will hope his squad depth can shine through in what should be a hard-fought battle.
Vancouver won both of last season’s meetings between the two sides. They sealed a 2-0 win at BC Place in April, before earning an impressive 1-0 victory in LA in June.
Vancouver still have three players out with injuries. Ben McKendry, Russell Teibert and Christian Dean all remain sidelined. Masato Kudo will serve a one-game suspension and will not be available for selection.
LA Galaxy could be without all three Designated Players ahead of the trip to Vancouver. Steven Gerrard is likely to miss out with a calf strain, while Robbie Keane is set to miss 4-6 weeks after having knee surgery. Giovani Dos Santos, Jeff Larentowicz, Leonardo and Jose Villarreal are all doubts but will hope to be passed fit, while Dan Kennedy is ruled out with a groin injury once again.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/L/W/W
LA Galaxy’s form: W/L/W
Key Stat: Vancouver shutout the Galaxy in both of last season’s meetings – just the second time the Whitecaps have shutout a Western Conference opponent over the course of the regular season in franchise history.
Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Vancouver playmaker is the league’s leading goalscorer, having found the net four times in four games. All of those goals have come from the penalty spot, but the Chilean will be out to hurt the Galaxy from the outset on Saturday evening.Embed from Getty Images
Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 LA Galaxy – This is likely to be a close-fought battle between two sides desperate to remain at the top end of the Western Conference. Vancouver have been struggling to create chances from open play, while the Galaxy have struggled to score goals on the road in recent history. That could lead to a low-scoring contest with a draw the most likely outcome.