Can Zlatan deliver a title on the other side of the Atlantic?

It is fair to say that “Zlatan-mania” has gripped the United States as the legendary Swedish forward has added the Los Angeles Galaxy to his long list of employers in what, to this point, has been an incredibly successful career.

Wherever Ibrahimovic goes, the trophies usually follow, There are no guarantees in football but wherever the 36-year-old calls home, he increases the chances of lifting silverware come the end of the season. The big question is whether the man who has won league titles in five different countries can now make it six.

If the start of his American adventure is anything to go by, then there is absolutely no reason why he cannot. The former Manchester United striker had to make do with a place on the bench for his MLS debut on Saturday. The fixture in question was the first ever Los Angeles derby between LA Galaxy and LAFC.

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And it could not have got off to a worse start for the Galaxy as they found themselves 3-0 down after 48 minutes. If there was ever the need to bring on the mercurial Swede, then this would be the time. Although, this was a deficit that was seemingly too large to overturn.

Enter Zlatan. He perhaps was not responsible for completing the incredible comeback all by himself, but he was the man who stole the headlines come full time after a sensational cameo performance.

If you’re someone who is well versed in football betting, then, with LAFC being 3-0 up, it looked like a dead cert that the MLS new boys would earn all three points against their newfound local rivals and, even with 15 minutes to go, that still looked like the case as LAFC led 3-2.

However, Ibrahimovic then unleashed an incredible 40-yard volley to level the scores and leave everyone in attendance speechless at the outrageous piece of skill that he delivered. If that was the main act, then there was still time for an encore.

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It eventually came in the shape of an injury time winner from who else but Ibrahimovic. His header capped off the most unlikely of comebacks as the enigmatic icon had truly announced himself to the American soccer fraternity.

There was undoubted disappointment in the fact that injury curtailed his Manchester United career; the cruciate injury that he suffered against Anderlecht at the tail end of last season has visibly robbed him of a yard of pace as the cut and thrust of the Premier League passed him by.

But Old Trafford’s loss will, of course, be Major League Soccer’s gain. Ibrahimovic will not see this transatlantic jaunt as simply a place to go out to pasture; he has made the move with the sole intention of winning titles and, on the evidence of his debut performance, that is something that looks a very realistic prospect.

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LA Galaxy vs LAFC | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: LA Galaxy vs Los Angeles FC

StubHub Center – Saturday, March 31st 2018 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football (via red button) & Sky Sports Mix

LA Galaxy vs LAFC: Preview

It’s LA Galaxy vs LAFC. It’s the first derby clash between the new rivals and it’s the most anticipated game of the weekend. The two sides will face off in what’s unofficially being called El Trafico. Oh, and to make things even more interesting, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available for his MLS debut.

LA Galaxy return home for the first time since opening weekend. The good news is that their only win of the campaign so far came on home soil. The bad news is they haven’t won since. A 2-1 loss away at NYCFC was followed by a 0-0 draw at Vancouver last weekend, but that point has to be seen as a good result, particularly as LA dressed just 17 players.

Still, they’ve only played three games and none of that really matters ahead of a derby game. Even if it is the first-ever meeting in what is sure to develop into one of Major League Soccer’s hottest rivalries. The fact that Ibrahimovic is available to make his debut makes this all the more of a spectacle. Saturday’s game won’t just be a big deal in Los Angeles, but across the world.

Standing in the opposite corner are the new guys who have made one hell of an impression so far. LAFC have only played two games in their short MLS history. Yet, they’ve won both games and have scored six goals. Oh, and both games have come on the road if that wasn’t impressive enough.

Atlanta United set a precedent with the explosive start to life in MLS they made last season. LAFC have gone one better and have smashed the benchmark through the roof. They already seem to have an identity. Bob Bradley has his side well drilled and they will undoubtedly be hungry to keep their 100% record intact beyond Saturday’s huge clash.

It could be an extra boost that they’ve had three weeks to prepare for this game after back-to-back bye weeks. They’ve still been busy off the field though as Andre Horta has joined as the third Designated Player. However, the 21-year-old midfielder is unlikely to join up with LAFC until the summer.

LA Galaxy vs LAFC: Team News

LA Galaxy

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Giovani dos Santos (hamstring), Jonathan dos Santos (hamstring), Michael Ciani (groin).

🚑 Out: Romain Alessandrini (hamstring), Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion).

LAFC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Omar Gaber (groin), Calum Mallace (knee).

🚑 Out: Luis Lopez (leg), Walker Zimmerman (hamstring).

LA Galaxy vs LAFC: Key Stats

LA Galaxy’s MLS form: W/L/D

LAFC’s MLS form: W/W

Key stat: LA Galaxy are unbeaten in their last three home games in MLS, scoring six and conceding just two. That comes after a run that saw them lose six of their previous eight home games.

LA Galaxy vs LAFC: Prediction

LA Galaxy 1-3 LAFC: Goals are expected here as both sides will be desperate to stamp their authority down. The stars from both sides should be out and with or without Ibrahimovic on the field, LA Galaxy have weapons to hurt LAFC. That said, LAFC have looked incredibly dangerous so far and there’s no reason they can’t spoil the Galaxy’s party with another huge road win on Saturday.

MLS, welcome to Zlatan: Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy on two-year deal but will not be a DP

It’s official. It’s a deal that has been rumoured for a number of years and it’s now come to fruition as Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy for what will surely be the final years of his incredible career.

The 36-year-old Swedish striker terminated his contract with Manchester United on Thursday. That meant he could join LA Galaxy on a free transfer. But in addition to that coup, the Galaxy have been able to convince him to come to MLS without being a Designated Player.

Ibrahimovic’s contract will run through the 2019 season and he will earn $1.5 million per year, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. That amount is the maximum allowed for a contract using Targeted Allocation Money. So it means Giovani Dos Santos, Jonathan Dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini will remain DP’s with the Galaxy.

“Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome”

Ibrahimovic is one of football’s biggest characters. He is a global superstar as a result of both his incredible goalscoring exploits and his enormous ego that has made headlines wherever he has played.

He hasn’t even landed in Los Angeles but has already started his famous antics. An entire page of the LA Times was dedicated to Ibrahimovic’s signing on Friday, with a very short message from the man himself. It simply read: “Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome.”

Ibrahimovic is expected to arrive in LA next week, on either Wednesday and Thursday. He has only played seven times since making an incredibly fast recovery from cruciate knee-ligament damage. He suffered the injury in the Europa League last April.

However, if he feels ready to play from the outset, he could make his debut in the hugely anticipated Los Angeles Derby between LA Galaxy and LAFC on Saturday, March 31 – the first ever meeting between the new rivals.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy following a trophy-filled career. The powerful forward scored 421 goals in 21 seasons across Europe. With those goals coming for the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Manchester United.

He is the only player to have won 13 titles in four different leagues. He is Sweden’s all-time top goalscorer. And he is the only player to have scored in the following derbies: De Klassieker, the Derby della Madonnina, the Derby d’Italia, El Clásico, Le Classique, the Manchester Derby and the North-West Derby. Don’t bet against him making an immediate impact with a goal in the first LA Derby next weekend.

MLS, welcome to Zlatan.

Is it time for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to move to MLS?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 years old and recovering from a serious knee injury but that doesn’t stop the Swede from being linked with some of the biggest clubs on the planet. Such is the pedigree of the striker who left Manchester United at the end of last season. The man who calls himself Zlatan has long been linked with a move to MLS and with the list of likely European destinations apparently growing shorter, is it now the right time for Zlatan to move to the States? LA Galaxy have been interested in the past but after the signing of Jonathan dos Santos, their new city neighbours LAFC could be the right destination for Ibrahimovic.

Career

There haven’t been many more successful players in Europe in the last few decades. He’s won trophies with six clubs, league titles with five and despite his age, Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t done yet. After spells in Sweden and the Netherlands, Ibrahimovic moved to Serie A in 2004 where his career really took off. He spent two years at Juventus before the Swede moved to Inter Milan where he won three consecutive league titles. After a less-than successful year at Barcelona, he returned to Italy with city rivals AC, helping the Milan side win the double in 2011.

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The forward then spent four incredibly successful seasons with PSG before moving to Manchester United for a single year just last summer. His move to Manchester United was something of a surprise. Ibrahimovic has long been linked with a move to the MLS, according to Bleacher Report and those links have returned now his time in England is seemingly over. His spell at Manchester United was cut short following a nasty knee injury picked up in April.

Links to MLS and injuries

LA Galaxy have long been admirers of Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer, with reports earlier this year suggesting he had signed a pre-contract agreement with the club. It was believed at the time that Galaxy had ‘blown United out of the water’ with the deal offered to the Swede but that was back in March. The situation has changed immensely since then and the player’s injury a month later probably had a lot to do with that. The Galaxy looked elsewhere and completed the signing of Villarreal midfielder and brother of Giovani, Jonathan dos Santos in late July. That takes them to three Designated Players and effectively rules them out of a big-money move for Ibrahimovic unless they sell one of their current stars.

Galaxy were undoubtedly put off by Ibrahimovic’s injury but is it as bad as feared? Players far younger than Ibrahimovic had their careers ruined by similar injuries but the Swede’s agent gave these incredible quotes about the problem a few months ago.

“His knee is so strong that the doctors said they had never seen anything like it,” Mino Raiola said back in May.

“He has a knee that it is almost impossible for a football player with a 20-year career to have. It was quite clean, there was no harm in it.

“Zlatan is so strong that the doctor wants him back after his career to research on him.”

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It remains to be seen whether that’s true or an agent just trying to squeeze one last big money move from his client. Still, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an incredible athlete. At 35 years old and after four seasons in France, the Swede came into the Premier League and controlled Manchester United at times last season. He scored a bucket load of goals and looked just as fit and strong as he did a decade ago. He would be a coup for almost any club on the planet but how many could actually sign him?

The Next Move

As of August 1, Manchester United are 31/50 favourites to re-sign the Swede, with any MLS club at 5/4 according to Betway. Italian sides AC Milan and Juventus are out at 6/1 and 8/1 respectively before a big jump out to 20/1 for Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg. Manchester United have, of course, signed Romelu Lukaku which makes a move for Ibrahimovic appear unlikely so the States now looks like the best bet.

Few sides could afford the Swede whose signing would carry many pros and cons. He’s a worldwide name and is the player MLS fans would like to see join the league most, according to a recent poll. Despite that, he won’t be able to play for a while and would require a huge contract which limits the number of realistic options. The best one out there is Los Angeles FC. The LA side will join MLS next season and they are in need of a star player after the appointment of head coach Bob Bradley. Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be perfect and could spend the next few months helping the club grow while recuperating from his injury ahead of the side’s MLS debut next season.

It’s unclear how likely a move is but Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be an ideal signing for LAFC. He’s one of the most successful players of the last twenty years and carries with him a global recognition. He may be recuperating from a nasty knee injury but LAFC won’t be playing until next March so he won’t be missing much for now. Ibrahimovic is just the sort of name that LAFC – and MLS – needs and would be a fantastic coup for both the club and the league.

MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Major League Soccer: LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps

StubHub Center – Wednesday, July 19 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 5/6 – Draw 5/2 – Vancouver 3/1

LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Preview

LA Galaxy take on Vancouver Whitecaps at StubHub Center on Wednesday night. Major League Soccer returns after a short break for the Gold Cup, although several players remain absent as they take part in the knockout rounds of the international competition.

The Galaxy were thrashed 5-2 by Manchester United in a friendly on Saturday night. They were ripped apart after making plenty of errors before scoring two late consolation goals. However, they will hope to have learnt something from that game ahead of the visit of the Whitecaps.

Head coach Curt Onalfo knows his side must pick up their form over the second half of the season if they are to make the playoffs. They come into Wednesday’s game two points behind Vancouver, who sit in sixth heading into Week 20.

That makes this a real six pointer. It’s still only July, but head-to-head clashes like this can really change the shape of the standings. LA know that need to capitalise on the home advantage to move back into the top six.

The Whitecaps might sit sixth in the West but they do boast the fourth-best points-per-game ratio. They have 24 points from 17 games and are on track for a top six finish.

Vancouver have only lost one of their last five games. That came in a 4-0 drubbing at Chicago at the start of the month, but they did bounce back by beating NYCFC 3-2 before the Gold Cup break.

Related: Exclusive photos from Vancouver’s 3-2 win over NYCFC

The worry for Vancouver on Wednesday is that they have struggled away from home this term. They have picked up seven points from a possible 24 on the road, and haven’t won any of their last three away games in MLS.

This will be the 18th MLS clash between the two sides and the second of two this season. LA hold the advantage based on past meetings, having won nine of the previous 17. Vancouver have only won once at LA. That came in a 1-0 win at StubHub in June 2015.Embed from Getty Images

LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Team News

LA Galaxy welcomed back Daniel Steres and Jermaine Jones in their 5-2 friendly defeat to Manchester United on Saturday night, so both will be in contention to start here. Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Lletget and Baggio Husidic are all still out. Curt Onalfo used 21 players in Saturday’s friendly, so he will hope fatigue is not an issue here. Gyasi Zardes is still away with the USMNT at the ongoing Gold Cup.

Vancouver Whitecaps are set to remain without Brett Levis and David Edgar, while Kendall Waston has been called up to the Costa Rican squad at the Gold Cup. Russell Teibert, Marcel De Jong and Alphonso Davies are with the Canada squad. Matias Laba will be available again after serving a suspension.

LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five: D/W/L/L/L
Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: W/D/D/L/W
Key Stat: LA Galaxy haven’t won at home in MLS for more than three months. Their last win at StubHub came on April 8 against Montreal Impact. They’ve drawn three and lost three since.
Key Player: Giovani Dos Santos – The Mexican attacker has only played 12 time this season but remains crucial to the Galaxy. He has been away with Mexico at the Confederations Cup over the past month but is now ready to see his first MLS minutes for six weeks. He scored twice late on against Man Utd on Saturday and will look to prove the difference against Vancouver here.

LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Prediction

LA Galaxy 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Both sides might be a little rusty on Wednesday night, having not played an MLS game for two weeks. But that won’t change the fact that both sides will be out to win. There are still some key absences for both to contend with, however, and ultimately we see this one ending all square.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. LA Galaxy
Venue: Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, April 15 – 14:30 ET (19:30 BST) 
Match Odds: Orlando 5/4 – Draw 23/10 – LA Galaxy 2/1

Match Preview

Orlando City host LA Galaxy on Saturday night as they look to keep their 100% home record intact against a Galaxy side that have been hit and miss through the first few weeks of the 2017 season.

Orlando enter Week 7 with the second-best points-per-game record in MLS so far. They’ve only played four games but have won three – all of which have come at their new stadium.

They known that making Orlando City Stadium a fortress will ensure they have a strong chance of making the playoffs for the first time and beating the Galaxy on Saturday would keep them well on track at the top end of the Eastern Conference.

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Jason Kreis will be pleased with his team’s performances so far, especially considering star man Kaka has been out since the opening day. They edged past the New York Red Bulls 1-0 last weekend and have only conceded one home goal in three games so far.

LA Galaxy picked up their second win of the campaign at home to Montreal last weekend, getting their first home points of the season in the process. Their only other win came away at Real Salt Lake but disappointing defeats to Vancouver, Portland and Dallas mean it’s hard to judge exactly where the Galaxy are as a team at this stage.

Curt Onalfo has the quality at his disposal to challenge for trophies once again, as the Galaxy always expect, but they need to start finding some consistency to build a platform for success this term.

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A win in Florida this weekend would put them in a strong position, but defeat would leave them with plenty more questions to answer.

This will be just the third meeting between these two sides. Orlando beat LA 4-0 at home in the first ever clash in 2015 before the Galaxy got revenge with a 4-2 win in California last season.

Team News

Orlando City will be without Matias Perez Garcia on Saturday as the playmaker is suspended. Kaka remains sidelined through injury, along with Tony Rocha, Seb Hines, Rafael Ramos and Jose Aja. Antonio Nocerino is a doubt after picking up a calf injury last weekend.

LA Galaxy will be without Jose Villarreal as he serves the first of a two-match suspension. Robbie Rogers and Sebastian Lletget remain out injured.

Key Points

Orlando City’s form: W/W/L/W

LA Galaxy’s form: L/L/W/L/W

Key Stat: There have been 10 goals in the two previous meetings between these sides – an average of five per game – so another attacking contest is expected on Saturday.

Key Player: Romain Alessandrini – The French winger has stepped up for LA Galaxy in recent weeks, scoring three goals and picking up two assists in his last three outings. If LA are to take anything away from Orlando on Saturday, they’ll need the French DP to deliver once again.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-1 LA Galaxy – Both sides will fancy their chances of walking away with three points from this one. Orlando have looked strong at home and have been tough to break down at the back. The Galaxy have the attacking players to cause them problems but ultimately haven’t looked good enough to win a game like this at this stage of the campaign. Orlando look set to edge it.

MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. Montreal Impact
Venue: StubHub Center – Friday, April 7 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST) 
Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/6 – Draw 11/4 – Montreal 15/4

Match Preview

LA Galaxy welcome Montreal Impact to StubHub Center on Friday night as Week 6 kicks off with a battle between two sides that have combined for just one win in eight games so far this season.

The Galaxy started with back-to-back home defeats but looked to be back on track after a 2-1 win at RSL. However, last weekend’s 4-2 defeat at Vancouver worsened their problems and they come into the game in 10th place in the West.

Head coach Curt Onalfo needs to start getting the Galaxy firing. They may have lost some key players over the offseason but the squad is much better than results suggest so far. A first home win of the season is undoubtedly needed on Friday.

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Montreal are also desperate for a win. They’ve not picked up a victory yet through four games and are likely to struggle without Ignacio Piatti once again, with the playmaker sidelined with a groin problem.

The Impact have drawn three-straight games but are 10th themselves over in the East and must start climbing the table to prevent the need for a late-season surge if they are to be playing postseason football again.

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Montreal have not won away at Western Conference opposition since the opening day of last season and face an uphill task if they are to take anything away from their long journey to California on Friday, even if the Galaxy are underperforming.

This will be the sixth MLS meeting between the two sides since Montreal entered the league five years ago. Both sides have won win each, with the Impact winning last season’s lone meeting 3-2 in an entertaining shootout at Stade Saputo.

Team News

LA Galaxy remain without Robbie Rogers and Sebastian Lletget but should have everyone else available for their third home game of the campaign. Giovani Dos Santos, Ashley Cole and Gyasi Zardes all returned at Vancouver last week and should start on Friday night.

Montreal will be without Victor Cabrera after the centre-back was sent off in last week’s draw in Chicago. Ignacio Piatti is set to miss out again with a groin injury, while Andres Romero and Shamit Shome are also sidelined. Laurent Ciman is listed as ‘questionable’ but is expected to be passed fit in time to return to the side here.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s form: L/L/W/L

Montreal Impact’s form: L/D/D/D

Key Stat: Montreal Impact have yet to score an away goal at LA Galaxy in MLS, although they’ve only ever conceded one at StubHub Center in two previous trips.

Key Player: Giovani Dos Santos – The Mexican star scored the Galaxy’s first goal of the season but hasn’t had a consistent run in the team yet because of injuries. He will be hoping to get his head down now and start firing LA up the Western Conference.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 2-1 Montreal Impact – This is certain to be a cagey game between two out-of-form sides that know they must go for all three points in Friday night’s clash. LA have the pressure of being at home and must deliver for their own fans, while Montreal are not going to be at full strength because of injuries and suspensions, which could cost them as they look set to remain without a win this term.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy
Venue: BC Place – Saturday, April 1 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST) 
Match Odds: Vancouver 5/4 – Draw 11/5 – LA Galaxy 21/10

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps host LA Galaxy in a key Western Conference battle on Saturday night, with both sides looking to climb the standings after below-par starts to the season.

Vancouver are still looking for their first win of the campaign. They opened the season with a goalless draw at home to Philadelphia but followed it up with back-to-back defeats at San Jose and then at home to Toronto last time out.

The 2-0 home defeat to Toronto will have particularly worried Carl Robinson as the ‘Caps conceded twice in four minutes late on to leave them at the bottom of the West along with Minnesota.

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They need to try and get three points on the board here as they have four consecutive away games on the horizon. Another defeat here would leave alarm bells ringing.

LA Galaxy haven’t looked like the side we’re used to seeing dominate the league so far but they did get their first win of the season at Real Salt Lake two weeks ago, with second-half goals from Dave Romney and Emmanuel Boateng guiding them to three big points to get Curt Onalfo off the mark in MLS.

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The Galaxy will fancy their chances of getting three more points at Vancouver this weekend, although they haven’t won at BC Place in almost four years and have lost Sebastian Lletget for the majority of the season.

The boost for LA is that a host of key players are set to return to action here, with Ashley Cole and Gyasi Zardes both in contention to get their first starts of the season. A stronger Galaxy lineup should only increase their chances.

This will be the 17th MLS meeting between these Western Conference rivals. LA hold the advantage based on previous matches, having won nine of the previous 16 clashes. However, they haven’t won away at Vancouver since 2013.

Team News

Vancouver have lost exciting winger Kekuta Manneh after accepting a trade from Columbus on Thursday which has seen Toni Tchani move to the ‘Caps in return. Brek Shea is suspended after seeing red in the 2-0 loss to Toronto two weeks ago, while Brett Levis, Yordy Reyna and David Edgar are all injured.

LA Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo has been rocked by the news that Sebastian Lletget will be out for 4-6 months with a foot injury picked up while on international duty with the USA. Robbie Rogers also remains out, but Gyasi Zardes and Ashley Cole could make their first starts of the 2017 season here. Giovani Dos Santos and Jermaine Jones are also expected to play.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: D/L/L

LA Galaxy’s form: L/L/W

Key Stat: Close affair – There have only been seven goals in the last six regular season meetings between these two sides – an average of just 1.2 per game – so this is expected to be a hard-fought battle between two sides desperate for points.

Key Player: Giovani Dos Santos – The Mexican attacker is one of the league’s best players and needs to cope with the increased pressure on his shoulders this season if LA Galaxy are to continue to be successful. He missed the win at RSL last time out but will be looking to prove the difference on his return to action here, if passed fit as expected.

Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-1 LA Galaxy – This looks set to be another low-scoring battle between two Western Conference sides that need to start building momentum after far from convincing starts to 2017. Vancouver are struggling for goals, with the loss of Manneh set to do little to aid them in that department, and LA will look to keep their first clean sheet of the season as Cole returns to the side. Away win.

Galaxy set to add pacey DP as Alessandrini flies in to LA

LA Galaxy are set to add some serious pace to their midfield with French winger Romain Alessandrini flying into Los Angeles on Sunday to finalise details of a move to StubHub Center.

Alessandrini has been with Marseille since the summer of 2014 and has scored 11 goals in 65 appearances for the Ligue 1 club. The 27-year-old has never played outside of his homeland but is now set for MLS.

He was pictured on Sunday morning ahead of a flight from London to Los Angeles, where he is expected to meet with Galaxy officials to put pen to paper on a Designated Player contract that will reportedly see him earn around $1.4 million per year.

Known for his pace and quick feet when dribbling, Alessandrini will be a key addition for a Galaxy side that will have a new feel about them in 2017.

And although he’s not a prolific goalscorer, the right winger has shown that he has a dangerous left foot when given space in and around the box, as seen in the second of the two clips below.

 

Alessandrini has two-and-a-half years left on his Marseille contract so the Galaxy will need to pay a transfer fee to complete a move, but that is only expected to be around $1.7 million (£1.35 million).

The Ligue 1 side have already got a replacement coming in for the pacey winger, with Dimitri Payet set to return after West Ham accepted a £25 million bid from Marseille on Sunday afternoon.

That deal means Alessandrini is surplus to requirements and he will now be looking to join up with the Galaxy squad as they prepare for their season opener against FC Dallas on March 4.

Is Romain Alessandrini a good signing for LA Galaxy? 

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy

Stadium: Providence Park – Saturday, July 23 – 15:30 ET (20:30 BST)

Match Odds: Portland 13/10 – Draw 23/10 – LA Galaxy 21/10

Match Preview

Portland Timbers face LA Galaxy in one of the weekend’s standout MLS fixtures on Saturday evening as two of the league’s in-form sides go head-to-head at Providence Park.

Portland have been in solid form of late, going unbeaten in nine games. They saw off their arch rivals Seattle on Sunday and will be in fine spirits off the back of that result.

The Timbers enter the match in sixth place in the West and will be looking to remain unbeaten to keep their playoff hopes intact, with 12 games left to play after the weekend.

Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders - Portland Celebrate

They have won four of their last five at home and will look to put a strong LA Galaxy side to the sword here as they look to continue climbing the table.

However, the Galaxy are a side high in confidence and won’t be expecting to leave Portland empty-handed come the end of play on Saturday.

Bruce Arena’s men have won three in a row and are making a real charge at the title. They are eight points behind league leaders Dallas and know they must win as many games as possible to stand a chance of finishing in front of the Texans.

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Winning games away from home has proven tough for LA over the last two seasons, but they did beat Seattle 1-0 on the road two weeks ago and will be hoping for another successful trip to the north-west here.

This will be the second clash between the pair this term. The reverse fixture ended 1-1 at StubHub Center back in April. The Galaxy have not won in Portland in four years.

Team News

Portland have just the one injury concern to worry about heading into the weekend as Darren Mattocks is ruled out with a hamstring injury. Caleb Porter has had to put up with a lot of injuries this term but his squad is looking healthy at a key part of the campaign. Alvas Powell is one booking away from suspension and needs to watch his step.

LA Galaxy will remain without Robbie Rogers for this one, while Ashley Cole is also unlikely to be available for selection again after sitting out with a hamstring problem for a couple of weeks. Ariel Lassiter is a doubt and Steven Gerrard may also miss this one after failing to train outside this week.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ form: W/D/D/D/W

LA Galaxy’s form: D/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Form – Portland are unbeaten in their last nine MLS matches (W4 D5).

Key Player: Diego Valeri – Portland will need their star players to be at their best if they are to get past a strong LA side on Saturday. They will look to Valeri for inspiration yet again. He bagged two goals in the win over Seattle last time out and will hope to build on that with another fine performance here.

Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders - Valeri Celebrates

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-2 LA Galaxy – Goals are expected on Saturday in a game between two in-form sides looking to keep momentum building as the playoff edge ever closer. LA have won three on the spin but may find it tough to break down a Portland side that hasn’t lost in two months. A score draw looks likely, though this should be entertaining.