The LA Galaxy will attempt to couple some promising defensive signs with better attacking play when they open their MLS home slate against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
The Galaxy (0-1-1, 1 point) grinded out a 0-0 draw against Sporting Kansas City on March 11 following a 3-1 defeat at FC Dallas two weeks ago.
Galaxy keeper Jonathan Bond made 11 stops in the draw, but didn't necessarily believe his team had defended poorly.
"I think that most of the shots that they had were from far out," Bond said. "Nothing was like really, really dangerous. So we defended the box really well. And honestly, I think we come out of it with definitely some confidence in our defensive principles."
The Galaxy are still missing 2022 leading scorer Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez to a hamstring injury and winger Douglas Costa to a calf issue. But for a team that has struggled to create chances without those stars, Vancouver could be a good opponent.
The Whitecaps (0-2-1, 1 point) have conceded five goals in three games this regular season, and new goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka is still looking for his first MLS clean sheet. And those struggles resurfaced Wednesday night in a 3-2 loss to Real Espana in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League first-round series.
The was still enough for Vancouver to advance to next month's quarterfinals. The Whitecaps had earned a 5-0 win in the first leg and won the series 7-3 on aggregate goals.
But their defending of headers in particular continued to be poor. Manager Vanni Sartini acknowledged there should be concern, albeit combined with satisfaction that his team advanced.
"It's been a part of the game where we haven't been good from the start of the season, and we need to be better," he said. "But for the rest, I'm happy the qualification was never in discussion, we were always in the game, and at the end I told the guys, even if we were a little bit down, we did not lose 3-2 today. We won 7-3. So we need to be happy."
--Field Level Media