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Kinnear says LA Galaxy in final game of 2020 have “chance to impress”

Expect many of the same players to feature on Decision Day.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at LA Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The curtain on a disappointing 2020 season for the LA Galaxy comes Sunday, when they face the Vancouver Whitecaps at Providence Park in Portland in a dead rubber match for both sides.

Interim head coach Dom Kinnear spoke to the media Friday ahead of the Decision Day match, and emphasized the game is an opportunity for the team to put their best foot forward heading into the offseason.

“We have an opportunity to step on the field to end the season in a positive manner which is entirely our ambition,” Kinnear told reporters. “And I’ve always said that, a pretty good thing is never miss a chance to impress no matter what time the season. First game, last game, first minute, last minute, you’re always having a chance to impress somebody. And I think that’s the way they should be playing this game on Sunday.”

The Galaxy will have to go for a victory against the Whitecaps, who are also out of playoff contention this season, without Sebastian Lletget (international duty), Jonathan dos Santos (injury) and likely Jonathan Klinsmann (injury), who Kinnear called “doubtful” with a shoulder injury.

Kinnear was also asked about Chicharito’s playing time, and said he would expect the striker to come off the bench for more than the 21 minutes he played on Wednesday in a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders, where he scored his first goal in months.

“He says he thinks he can give more to the team, and obviously we do know it’s the last game of the season,” Kinnear said of Chicharito. “He’s an important part of this team going forward. I think we have to make sure we try and take care of him but also keep her motivated and he can motivate himself and I’ll be very surprised if he does not play more minutes than he did on Wednesday.”

With LA out of the playoff race, Kinnear was asked if he would opt to play some of the younger and/or deep bench players who didn’t see much playing time this season. The interim coach didn’t rule out playing someone new, but indicated it’s probably unlikely.

“When I sat with Dennis [te Kloese] and Chris [Klein] on the day that the coaching change was made they just said they want me to go out win games, and you know I did ask are we looking to maybe do some minutes for guys who are younger, have futures here. And they said they want to try and win the games so I think you’ve seen the lineups the last two games have been positive results,” he said. “I have given minutes to some young players [like] Julian [Araujo] and Efra [Alvarez]. So we will see.

“Right now I’m not going to give you my lineup because then you just throw it to Vancouver’s way and it’d be easy for them to scout us, but I’ve been very happy with the way that we’ve played the last two games with the guys that have played. And you know right now I don’t see too much change going with just kind of giving out minutes. I want to say that the players can do the job but I think the guys that have been playing have earned more minutes. And we’ll see what happens. I think it’ll be a little bit more liberal, possibly with the five-substitution rule.”

So there you have it. Kinnear will attempt an unbeaten run to end a difficult season for the Galaxy, and nearly everyone on the field will be playing for their futures in some capacity on Sunday against the Whitecaps.

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