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● LA Galaxy are 12th in the Western Conference after losing one and drawing one of their two games this season
● Vancouver Whitecaps are 11th in the Western Conference after losing two and drawing one of their three games this season
● In the corresponding fixture last season, LA Galaxy walloped Vancouver Whitecaps 5-2 at the Dignity Health Sports Park
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Pick: LA Galaxy to win (-152)
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The start of the new season has been highly frustrating for the LA Galaxy. After the opening day derby against defending champions Los Angeles FC was canceled, LA Galaxy lost 3-1 against FC Dallas. In their second game of the season, the five-time MLS champions were held to a goalless draw by Sporting Kansas City.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC have also gotten off to a poor start this season. On opening day, Real Salt Lake handed them a loss before the San Jose Earthquakes did the same. Vancouver Whitecaps FC earned their first point on the last outing when they held FC Dallas to a 1-1 draw at home.
There is a lot of history between the two sides, as they have met 31 times in the MLS. Only six out of those 31 games have ended in draws. LA Galaxy have the better head-to-head record after emerging victorious on 15 occasions. However, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are not too far behind with victories on ten occasions.
In the last MLS match between these teams, Vancouver Whitecaps FC beat LA Galaxy 3-0 at the BC Place Stadium. This win came after LA Galaxy had beaten Vancouver Whitecaps FC 5-2 at the Dignity Health Sports Park.
In the last five games between these two teams, both sides have won twice and only one game has ended in a draw. In 17 games played between these two sides in LA Galaxy’s backyard, Vancouver Whitecaps FC have only won four times, while the hosts have eleven wins.
Seeing their arch-rivals lifting the MLS Cup last season must surely have been a frustrating sight for LA Galaxy. The five-time MLS Cup winners were also in the playoffs last season but were dumped out by their Los Angeles FC before the final.
Unfortunately for LA Galaxy, the frustration is yet to end as it has carried on into the new season. Two games into the new campaign, LA Galaxy are still hunting for their first win of the season to move up the table.
In addition to that, the injuries to Javier Hernandez and Douglas Costa have added more frustration as LA Galaxy’s desperation for a win grows week after week. However, things could change in the next fixture against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Home advantage for LA Galaxy was not really a noticeable aspect last season in the MLS. The side picked up 22 out of 51 points on the road and only picked up 28 out of 51 points in their own backyard last year.
This season, both the games that they have played so far have been away from home. The next one against Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be at the Dignity Health Sports Park, which will be an ideal place to pick up the first win of the season.
LA Galaxy have failed to turn their home ground into a fortress over the last few seasons. The five-time champions will be eager to replicate their feat of the 2016 MLS season when they lost just one out of 17 games at home all season.
LA Galaxy were extremely lucky to walk away with a point from the last game against Sporting Kansas City. The hosts attempted a total of 30 shots in that match, out of which 11 were on target and all were kept out by LA Galaxy keeper Jonathan Bond.
In attack, it is evident that LA Galaxy are missing their talisman, Javier Hernandez. They are also without Douglas Costa till the end of March now. In the last match, that was evident as striker Dejan Joveljic failed to attempt a single shot and had only 15 touches on the ball.
Lucky for LA Galaxy, their shot-stopper was in fine form. Out of the 11 saves Bond produced, six were diving saves, and four came from shots that were attempted from inside the box. Apart from that, the keeper made 17 recoveries too.
The primary aim of Vancouver Whitecaps FC this season will be to chase the playoff spots and nab one. Despite the poor results, the side are coming into this season after adding a piece of silverware to their trophy cabinet last year.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC were crowned the winners of the Canadian Championship 2022. This was their second title after 2015. However, the club has failed to fuel the momentum with that win as they are winless after three games.
Replicating the feat of the 2017 MLS season will be what every Vancouver Whitecaps FC player wants. In that season, the club finished third in the Western Conference while LA Galaxy finished at the bottom. Vancouver Whitecaps FC did the double over LA Galaxy that season.
Last season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC could only muster a ninth-place finish in the Western Division as they finished just four points off the final playoff spot. They were extremely poor on the road as they won just two out of their 17 games on the road.
Despite that, the Whitecaps scored 40 goals. Nine of those were scored by Lucas Daniel Cavallini. The Canadian was one ahead of Ryan Gauld and finished as the club’s leading goal scorer.
This season, Cavallini has joined Liga MX side Club Tijuana and Vancouver Whitecaps FC have been left without a proper replacement. Three games in, even Gauld has not gotten off the mark for the Whitecaps.
After the departure of Cavallini, Vancouver Whitecaps FC signed Augsburg striker Sergio Cordova. Last season, the 25-year-old spent the entire season at Real Salt Lake on loan and scored 11 goals.
Seeing that performance, Vancouver Whitecaps FC decided to swoop in a secure the Venezuelan's signature on a permanent deal. However, Cordova is still settling in and has failed to score in three MLS games so far.
Cordova also made two appearances in the club’s two-legged CONCACAF Round of 16 tie against Real Espana. Vancouver Whitecaps FC advanced to the quarter-finals with a 7-3 aggregate win but Cordova failed to make a single-goal contribution over two legs.
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● Teams: LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC
● Location: Dignity Health Sports Park
● Time: Saturday, March 18 at 10:30 pm ET
● How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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