The Los Angeles Galaxy are making their first trek into Canada as they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place tonight. As things stand at the moment, the two sides are deadlocked in the standings, with the Galaxy boasting a better goal differential. Should either club manage to win, they have the potential to jump into the first position, depending on how other results go.
What to watch for
Los Angeles is heading into this matchup having won two of their first three games of the season. However, both of their victories have come at home. Where they struggled, as they have done in recent years, is on the road. In Colorado, the Galaxy failed to get anything going in the attacking third of the pitch. They looked flustered and out of ideas. Then, deep into stoppage time, Marco Pappa stole all three points for the Rapids in a massive victory for his club.
This time around, however, the Galaxy will be without their captain Robbie Keane. During the international break, he was suffering from a knee problem and had surgery earlier in the week. The Irish international will be missing for four-six weeks. Bruce Arena will be without one of his team’s leading goal scorer but have some good options to choose from as a replacement.
One of the more likely tactical adjustments is sending Gyasi Zardes alone up top. Zardes’ preferred position is that number ten role. He can turn his back to goal and hold up play while waiting for his teammates to come and join the attack. The other thing that the G’s can do is play Mike Magee alongside the Hawthorne native. Magee will be able to add movement in and around the eighteen yard box to threat the opposition’s defense.
For Vancouver, their defense has improved in recent weeks. In the opening two matches, they allowed in five goals and lost both. But they have won their last two matches allowing one goal in one while keeping a clean sheet in the other. Carl Robinson certainly must be pleased with the improvement of his back line, but he knows that there is still more work to do.
30-year-old Pedro Morales is leading the Whitecaps with four goals already this season and does not look like he will be slowing down anytime soon. If the hosts want to win all three points tonight, they will have to look to get this man involved throughout the 90 minutes.
Even without Robbie Keane the Los Angeles Galaxy are lethal in the final third of the pitch. They’ve already scored seven goals and have allowed only three. The Galaxy will be motivated without their captain, showing the league that they are not just a one man team. But Vancouver are improving and will be itching to prove that they have what it takes to compete against the biggest sides in Major League Soccer.