Preview: Whitecaps FC visit star-studded LA Galaxy for Independence Day clash

CARSON, CALIFORNIA – Just over a year ago, Vancouver Whitecaps FC stunned LA Galaxy with a historic 1-0 win at the StubHub Center, ending LA’s 29-match home unbeaten run.

Can they play the role of spoilers once again?

That will be the goal on Monday night – yes, Monday night – when the ‘Caps return to the scene of the crime for an Independence Day clash with the star-studded Galaxy.

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. PT  |  TV: TSN1 |  RADIO: TSN 1040

A capacity crowd is expected and there will be a fireworks show after the match. Good chance there will be some fireworks during it, too.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

How will the ‘Caps respond after last week’s crushing Canadian Championship defeat?

We’re about to find out.

After winning the Voyageurs Cup in 2015, Whitecaps FC struggled down the stretch and won just two of their final eight outings. They’re hoping this year’s Voyageurs Cup defeat will have the opposite effect.

The ‘Caps officially hit the midway point of the 2016 season with last weekend’s 3-2 win over Philadelphia Union. They’re currently sitting on 24 points – just one point ahead of the Galaxy, who have a game in hand. 

LA GALAXY

The Galaxy are usually slow starters, and this season has been no exception.

In fact, they’re winless in their last seven MLS matches. That said, they’re still right in the thick of things in the Western Conference and have yet to lose at home (4W-0L-4D).

That’s thanks in large part to their high-profile duo of Giovani dos Santos and Steven Gerrard. Dos Santos leads the Galaxy with seven goals and has four assists to boot – just one back of Gerrard for the team lead. The Galaxy are also expected to have Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes back in the fold after their stints at the Euros and Copa America respectively.

So they’ll certainly have no shortage of attacking options.

They are a bit shorthanded at the back, however, with centre back Jelle Van Damme and left back Ashley Cole unavailable due to suspension and fullback Robbie Rogers (ankle) injured.

KEY MATCHUPS

Kendall Waston (CB) vs. Giovani dos Santos (F): Waston returns to the lineup after serving a two-match suspension. His first test? Trying to shut down Mexican star Giovani dos Santos.

Kekuta Manneh (LW/F) vs. Galaxy back line: Manneh had his way with the Galaxy back line in last year’s 1-0 win at the StubHub Center. It’s unclear how the Galaxy will line up at the back with their various absences, but this could be a big opportunity for Vancouver’s speedster to make his presence felt again.

Pedro Morales (M) vs. Steven Gerrard (M): Morales and Gerrard are the assist-leaders for their respective teams – and also their highest profile players. You need your best players to be your best players to be successful. Enough said.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Record vs. LA Galaxy in MLS: 3W-8L-3D

LA has the edge over Vancouver all-time, but the ‘Caps have had the more recent success.

Last year, Whitecaps FC won both meetings, including the aforementioned win at the StubHub Center. Coming into that game, the ‘Caps were 0W-7L-0D against the Galaxy on the road, getting outscored 15-2 in the process.

This will be the second of three meetings between LA and Vancouver this season. The first ended in a scoreless draw at BC Place back in April – a match that saw Whitecaps FC play with 10 men for the majority of the match after Matias Laba was ejected in the 28th minute.

NEXT UP

Monday’s match kicks off a busy month of July for Vancouver, who will play a total of seven matches including the July 19 friendly vs. English Premier League side Crystal Palace. Following Monday’s match, the ‘Caps will return to BC Place for four straight matches – starting next Saturday vs. Tim Howard and the league-leading Colorado Rapids. 

Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.