LA Galaxy vs. NYCFC will be an early season measuring stick again for the Galaxy amid a mountain of uncertainty. The 2021 MLS Cup champions travel to Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, February 4 in Los Angeles’s first pre-season match in the 2023 campaign open to Galaxy supporters. Will they show up?
LA Galaxy vs NYCFC Predictions
NEWS: #LAGalaxy release 2023 preseason schedule.
The team will participate in a closed-door scrimmage vs. Charlotte before battling NYCFC at DHSP, heading to Palm Springs for Coachella and finally playing TFC at home Feb 18th. @TheStrikerNews pic.twitter.com/xt6xL7WCHy
— Mike Gray (@MikeGrayAFC) December 15, 2022
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
After going unbeaten in their first two closed-door scrimmages of pre-season, the Galaxy should be in the process of solidifying their starting 11. They should be whittling down the list of key-depth pieces to be called upon to spell the starters. And the team should be building on the good work done in those matches to start building an understanding.
Instead, the LA Galaxy roster is in a state of upheaval. Surprise departures have thrown a wrench in Los Angeles Head Coach Greg Vanney’s plans. Samuel Grandsir left for home in France and joined Ligue 2 side Le Havre. Grandsir’s exit leaves the Galaxy with only one recognized winger, so look for an auxiliary cover for the flanks this weekend.
Meanwhile, Julian Araujo’s dream move to FC Barcelona looks to have fallen through per a decision taken by FIFA. Although he is surely staying with the Galaxy for the year now, Araujo is unlikely to feature, as The Striker’s Alex Ruiz reported that the Mexican international was training off to the side on his own.
New Galaxy signings Chris Mavinga and Memo Rodriguez are sure to feature, although Mavinga will likely see a shorter shift as he works to build game fitness.
Read More: Galaxy’s Off-Season Instability
NYCFC’s Current Run of Form
The light blue side of New York lost a leading figure in the dressing room when Goalkeeper Sean Johnson departed for Toronto FC. The Champagne Papi, Drake, seduced the shot-stopper to Canada himself. The NYC back line took another hit in losing standout Defender Alex Callens to the La Liga team, Girona FC. Add in playmaker Maxi Moralez’s departure to Racing in Argentina, as well as Taty Castellanos leaving Yankee Stadium, and fans could be seeing a team more changed than the LA Galaxy.
Despite losing integral pieces of their lineup, New York went unbeaten in pre-season as well. They managed to tie twice against California opposition, at two goals apiece against San Jose. The two most recent MLS Cup champions played to a one-all draw in NYCFC’s last match before Saturday.
New York City FC will be staking a lot on young players like Winger Matías Pellegrini. New signing Matt Freese will be expected to compete for the starting keeper position after his switch from Eastern Conference champs Philadelphia Union. Freese can expect Glasgow Rangers loanee James Sands to return in May and help shore up the defense while NYCFC Head Coach Nick Cushing, who lost his interim tag in November, has to prove that he was worth his new contract.
The Galaxy took the season opener in the 2022 MLS campaign 1-0 over NYCFC with a 90-minute winner by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Before that, though, the Galaxy had failed to pick up points against NYCFC in three straight matches. Not too much emphasis will be put on the scoreline, with this being a pre-season match. The Galaxy supporters will want to see their team come out with energy and will be expecting a win no matter what kind of match it is. And with such a volatile off-season in which conflict has been the rule, not the exception, the Galaxy supporters deserve to smile a bit with a victory.
LA Galaxy vs NYCFC Prediction
This isn’t an easy one to predict. Both teams are still under construction. The Galaxy in particular might have a whole new right side of the field by the time their home opener rolls around. It might force Vanney into an ad hoc lineup in the way he sets up his team.
However, with the Galaxy being at home, expect them to earn a narrow victory. The team should be able to ride the energy of the home crowd, in whatever form it might take with a supporter boycott ongoing, to give G’s fans a happy Saturday night.