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No welcome home: LA Galaxy 0, Vancouver Whitecaps 1

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Visitors spoil heavily-anticipated Galaxy home opener.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at LA Galaxy Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Galaxy were looking to kick off their home slate in style at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night, but the Vancouver Whitecaps had other ideas, as they posted a 1-0 road win.

LA posted a single shot on target all night, and while it was a battle between the teams, the Galaxy struggled to put their imprint on the match, and late on, Vancouver capitalized, with a Galaxy red card putting the home side’s hopes of a win further out of reach.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto made two changes to his XI on the night, bringing in Jonathan dos Santos and Joe Corona in for Perry Kitchen and Sebastian Lletget. Dos Santos wore the captain’s armband.

Around the 25-minute mark, Sacha Kljestan nearly scored as he had a one-timer opportunity from about 40 yards with Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau miles out of his 18-yard box, but the attempt sailed just wide of the mark. Moments later, Andy Rose’s attempt at the other end off a Vancouver free kick clanged off the corner of the post, the floater just saving LA’s blushes.

After a scoreless first half, dos Santos, who looked like he was not moving well and who the Galaxy broadcast said was suffering from “quad tightness”, exited the match and Perry Kitchen replaced him to start the second half.

Chicharito nearly set up Kljestan at the back post in the first minute into the restart, but a timely Vancouver block stymied the chance.

From there, Vancouver really seemed to have the edge on the run of play, repeatedly stripping the Galaxy of possession and trying to get down on the counterattack. While they weren’t finding the goal themselves, they seemed to have a better handle on the match.

The Whitecaps found their goal in the 74th minute as Ali Adnan’s low cross on the deck was finished by Tosaint Ricketts to make it 1-0. Just one minute later, Corona got his second yellow card of the night for a late challenge on Russell Teibert and the Galaxy were then down a goal and down a man for the remainder of the game.

Giancarlo Gonzalez was whistled for conceding a penalty on Ricketts, but David Bingham had a nice kick save on Lucas Cavallini’s tame attempt in the 89th minute to give LA a hope of finding an equalizer.

That save by Bingham was the play of the game for the Galaxy, as there were few other highlights for the home side. One could argue their opening game against Houston was a better performance, and they also didn’t play particularly well in that one. It’s obviously early in the season, so looking for form in the opening weeks isn’t a big surprise, but the lack of fluidity once again in attack for LA, with primary attacking weapons Chicharito and Cristian Pavon both completely muzzled in the game, seems to be bad for the Galaxy right now.

The Galaxy are next in action next Saturday as they are the team that will help Inter Miami open their home slate in South Florida. Will they be able to pick up their first win of the season in what’s sure to be an energized crowd, or will they be able to whip an expansion team? We’ll find out in a week.

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