CARSON, CA – A midweek CONCACAF Champions League thriller may have been just what the doctor ordered for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. At least that’s the hope for the ‘Caps, who visit LA Galaxy on Saturday with renewed confidence after a 3-0 win over Sporting KC.
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. PT | TV: TSN1 | RADIO: TSN 1040
Here’s everything you need to know about the match.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Following last weekend’s defeat at Sporting KC in MLS play, Carl Robinson challenged his players.
“We’re fighting for our lives here,” he said. “You’re fighting for your careers.”
And that showed on Tuesday night at BC Place, when Whitecaps FC rolled up their sleeves and scrapped their way to a convincing victory in Champions League play. Cristian Techera led the way with a pair of goals and Erik Hurtado also impressed, recording a goal and an assist.
The big question now is: can the ‘Caps translate their CCL success into an MLS playoff run?
They currently sit ninth in the Western Conference, two points out of a playoff spot with eight games to go. And how many changes do they make to the lineup on Saturday against LA?
Robinson said a number of Tuesday’s starters did themselves “a world of good.”
One player who won’t be in the lineup this weekend is Costa Rican midfielder Christian Bolaños, who will be serving a one-match suspension.
The Galaxy enter the weekend fourth in the Western Conference after a midweek 2-2 draw at Chicago Fire. They’re sitting comfortably above the red line, but are still looking to find top form.
Bruce Arena’s side are now winless in five MLS outings – though four of those games were draws.
That said, they still have all sorts of attacking firepower in the form of Robbie Keane, Giovani dos Santos, who has a goal or an assist in five of his last six MLS matches, and Steven Gerrard.
They've also yet to lose at home this season (6W-0L-6D).
“It’s going to be a fight,” said midfielder Russell Teibert. “And we’re all going to have to work really hard. Just like we did a couple days ago. No one can take plays off. It has to be 11 guys. We can’t have any passengers. We showed that determination and that fight [on Tuesday] and we’re going to have to do that down in LA if we want to get three points, which are crucial right now.”
Kendall Waston (CB) vs. Robbie Keane (FWD): Keane showed his class in the last meeting between these two teams, finding just a little bit of space around the arc before curling a world-class strike into the top right corner. Can Waston and the ‘Caps shut him down this time around?
Matias Laba (M) vs. Steven Gerrard (FWD): The player who picked out Keane in that last game with a seeing eye pass: Gerrard. The Liverpool legend has 11 assists, which is tied for second most in MLS. One man who will be tasked with stopping him is Laba, Vancouver’s Argentine defensive midfielder who is coming off arguably his best game of the season.
Whitecaps FC record vs. LA Galaxy: 3W-9L-3D
Whitecaps FC road record vs. LA Galaxy 1W-7L-0D
This will be the 16th MLS regular season meeting between Whitecaps FC and LA – and the third and final meeting this season. The two teams played to a scoreless draw at BC Place in April, in a match that saw Laba sent off in the first half, before Whitecaps FC fell 2-0 in Carson last month.
The ‘Caps have won just one of eight previous visits to the StubHub Center.
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