Whitecaps host Galaxy in battle of Western Conference's top teams

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Saturday, April 13, 2024

The top two teams in the Western Conference meet up Saturday night when the Los Angeles Galaxy visit the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Vancouver is completing a four-game homestand in which it has two wins and one loss entering the showdown.

The Whitecaps (4-1-1, 13 points) lead MLS with a plus-eight differential as they have scored 14 goals and allowed just six.

They also are full of confidence to be in the lead through six matches. Vancouver hasn't won a playoff series since 2017 and was eliminated in the first round by Los Angeles FC last season.

"Obviously, it's a nice feeling to be in the position were in," Whitecaps star midfielder Ryan Gauld said. "There was a big emphasis at the beginning of the season to get results and we've done that. ... We're aware it's still early and we'll have to keep pushing in that direction."

Gauld scored his second goal of the season in last weekend's 4-0 victory over Toronto FC. That made him the first player in franchise history with at least 25 goals and at least 25 assists in MLS play. He has 25 goals and 28 assists.

Brian White, Fafa Picault and Ranko Veselinovic scored Vancouver's other goals against Toronto. The Whitecaps have scored seven goals in their past two matches.

"It's amazing to be on top of the standings, also because we deserve it," Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini said.

Los Angeles (3-1-3, 12 points) has scored 14 goals and allowed 11.

The Galaxy are coming off a 2-1 loss to host LAFC last weekend.

Julian Aude scored the goal for the Galaxy during a match in which coach Greg Vanney wasn't thrilled with the ball movement.

"I feel like the ball is sticking on people's feet too long instead of moving fast," Vanney said. "I feel we're trying to force the ball down the middle instead of getting our wide players involved."

One Los Angeles player who has been clicking is forward Dejan Joveljic, who is tied for third in the league with five goals.

Joveljic scored in five consecutive matches to start the season but hasn't found the net in the past two.

The Whitecaps are 3-1-2 in the past six MLS meetings with the Galaxy.

--Field Level Media