Pre-Match: Angel City arrives in Vancouver

Match information

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Los Angeles FC

Location: BC Place

Date and time: July 2, 7:00 p.m. PST, 10:00 p.m. EST

Watch: TSN (in Canada) and MLS live on ESPN+ (in the US)

To say the Whitecaps have a Herculean task ahead of them this weekend is a bit of an understatement. For the eighteenth day of the 2022 season, the Whitecaps face the Los Angeles Football Club, current leader of the Western Conference. LAFC has come through the door since its freshman year in 2018, quickly setting a league record for points, reaching a CCL Finals and having one of its players set the single-season goalscoring record. In those early years of 2018 and 2019, you felt like the team was unstoppable and they showed few signs of stopping. COVID has brought things to a standstill a bit, with LAFC struggling to find their footing, sometimes showing the life they showed early in their MLS career, but often wavering too. 2021 was no different, with Vela struggling with injuries and a forward line rotation making the team a playoff contender, but nowhere near where they were. It looked like LAFC would be plagued with instability in its near future, and as Vela started playing less and less, perhaps the league terror of LAFC would just be a memory for the future.

Credit where credit is due, LAFC has done a lot to turn things around, and this season is a great example of how smart management can make the most of the team’s aspiration for consistency. Ever since Walker-Zimmerman left the team, LAFC have needed strength at the back, and this season they achieved that by bringing in Sebastian Ibehaga from NYCFC. Their midfield wasn’t getting the results they wanted, so they brought in Illie from SKC and Kelyn Acosta from the Rapids. They needed a striker to support Vela and brought in Cristian Arango. More importantly, the position on the pitch that never went right for them was goalkeeper, and as we all painfully know, that’s where Maxime Crepeau stepped in to help them achieve the most goals. lows cashed in the Western Conference. All of those players came for a total of $5.15 million, an absurdly low price for the saves that took LAFC swooping up west.

LAFC is a solid team, and since we’ve been focusing on frugal team acquisitions for a while, you may have forgotten that the best is yet to come for the Los Angeles team, with superstars Gareth Bale and Giorgio . Chiellini agreed to join the Hollywood side. Luckily, it’s more than likely that the two Champions League finalists won’t feature against the Whitecaps, so he’s just focusing on what they have at the moment.

The Whitecaps are going to have a hard time scoring goals, as the LAFC midfielder is quite defensive and their backline is no joke. They will need to make the most of the wings to draw LA players out of position and have options to shoot on goal. Fortunately, they will have home advantage AND a good knowledge of the keeper’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure the crowd won’t be too happy with Max Crepeau’s return, so hopefully that will play a role in the outcome. LAFC will be quick to transition to longballs, and Arango will be a force, as he’s been impressing beyond his level since joining the league. I predict the Whitecaps will try hard but won’t get enough as they receive a 2-0 loss in the hands of LAFC.

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