LA Galaxy Vs Portland Timbers: MLS is Back Preview

LA Galaxy, Javier Hernandez (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)
LA Galaxy, Javier Hernandez (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images) /

Monday’s late game in the MLS is Back Tournament pits the LA Galaxy against the Portland Timbers. Here is a full match preview.

On Monday night, the Portland Timbers and Los Angeles Galaxy begin their MLS is Back campaigns. It is an intriguing contest for both teams, on and off the pitch.

Prior to kick-off, the Timbers will practice in Black Lives Matter gear. Then, during the game, their MLS Unites jersey patches will feature names of individuals the players want to honor. Those people include nurses, doctors, and others on the COVID-19 frontlines. The names will also include those driving positive social change regarding racial injustice, police brutality, and other issues.

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Meanwhile, on the pitch, the LA Galaxy have been working on ways to unleash the sleeping giant inside Javier Hernandez. His arrival in MLS has long been rumored, with the prospect of a Mexican hero who has produced at the European level a tantalising one. Now he is here, and two games into the season, he is scoreless.

His strengths have not disappeared, but he is still figuring out this new league. His team has scored just two goals and he produced only two shots. It has been a quiet time for Hernandez, who the Galaxy need to get going to have success.

The Galaxy also have to install a new starter after jettisoning Aleksandar Katai following unfortunate tweets by the midfielder’s wife. Add in the absence of Jonathan dos Santos deeper in midfield and there are holes that Guillermo Barros Schelotto must fill.

Portland, meanwhile, has less to prove on the pitch. They are a well-oiled machine who added a third DP in Yimmi Chara in the offseason and have a wealth of attacking options with Felipe Mora now leading the line.

As they demonstrated against expansion team Nashville SC, thanks to their counter-attacking style, the Timbers sometimes have to work too hard for a win. But when they do work that hard, they invariably finish with three points.

Los Angeles Galaxy

2019 Record: 16-15-3 (W-L-D)

2020 Results: 1-1 draw with Houston Dynamo; 1-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps.

Head Coach: Guillermo Barros Schelotto

Projected Starters: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Nicholas Depuy, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Emiliano Insua; Perry Kitchen, Joe Corona, Sacha Kljestan; Sebastian Lletget, Cristian Pavon, Javier Hernandez

Portland Timbers

2019 Record: 14-13-7 (W-L-D)

2020 Results: 3-1 loss vs. Minnesota United; 1-0 victory vs. Nashville SC

Head Coach: Giovanni Savarese

Projected Starters: Steve Clark; Chris Duvall, Larrys Mabiala, Dario Zuparic, Jorge Villafana; Cristhian Paredes, Diego Chara, Diego Valeri; Yimmi Chara, Sebastian Blanco, Felipe Mora

The Portland Timbers are the favorites, and if Diego Valeri and co. show up, the LA Galaxy will have a tough time hanging onto their coattails.