The Los Angeles Galaxy’s 2020 home opener Saturday, March 7 against the Vancouver Whitecaps will be the first opportunity the Dignity Health Sports Park crowd will get to see new signing Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in MLS action.
The Galaxy started its campaign with a Week one draw in Houston last week, showing lack of chemistry as three of the six attackers are new to head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s system. With another week of training and 90 minutes of tape under its belt, let’s look into what Chicharito and his new crew will look like tomorrow.
Got To Build That Stamina
The jets were on early in the match against Houston. Right out of the gate, Katai’s header off the post rattled the hosts. The Serbian should have given LA Galaxy the lead inside two minutes but they’d have to wait 11 more for winger Cristian Pavon to strike.
The visitors took the lead but seemed to crawl into a shell and burst the Houston Dynamo into life after that. Houston would go on to control possession and tempo for a big portion of the match after the Galaxy goal until they scored themselves. A slow and passive phase following Whitecap dominance forced the Galaxy to dig-deep to, at least, preserve the point. After the final whistle, not only did the Galaxy run away with a road draw, they had chances to win the game late.
If Barros Schelotto can instill that type of mentality, heavily influenced by Chicharito’s non-stop contribution to pressure high up the pitch, it can give LA Galaxy an edge for the future. Teams that stay in the game longest tend to get away with late game-winner.
Success Against the Caps
Previously, the record between these two with Galaxy hosting has been fairly lopsided. Galaxy has eight wins, Whitecaps three and one draw. Although this doesn’t bode well for Vancouver, the notion of playing spoiler in front of a packed DHSP is a conception in the making.
The last time the Whitecaps won in Carson, though, was almost five years ago (Sunday, June 6, 2015) which means Chicharito and the rest of the attack will be licking its chops to face the Whitecaps following Week 1’s unsatisfactory performance.
Possible Return for Duo
Galaxy Designated Player Jonathan dos Santos is in contention to feature in this match following a groin injury that kept him out for the season opener. In Houston, the Galaxy midfield was often pressured into mistakes, meaning the Mexican international’s defensive tenacity was necessary. It probably won’t be needed as much at home against the Whitecaps but his work rate and tactical nous will be welcomed.
Also expected to join dos Santos in a return to the squad is defender Daniel Steres. The center back’s subtle, yet heavily required, contribution last season went a little under the radar. The Galaxy II product’s improvement over the last year has seen him rewarded with trust (and minutes) from manager Barros Schelotto, who has a decision to make between Steres, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Nicholas DePuy for the center back pairing.
- Who: LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps
- What: Week 2 of Major League Soccer
- Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, Ca
- When: Saturday, March 7, at 7 p.m.
- Coaches: Guillermo Barros Schelotto (LAG), Marc Dos Santos (VAN)
- History at Galaxy: LAG 8 wins, VAN 3 wins, 1 draw
- TV: Spectrum SportsNet, TSN ¼, MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Top Photo: LA Galaxy