Tue, 27 Sep 2022

Desperate Galaxy hope for more firepower vs. Whitecaps

Field Level Media
13 Aug 2022, 07:40 GMT+10

The Los Angeles Galaxy could debut former FC Barcelona prospect Riqui Puig on Saturday night when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps in a pivotal clash.

The Galaxy (9-11-3, 30 points) signed Puig at the close of the league's secondary transfer window earlier this month in an unusual deal for an MLS team: One where it acquires a young player from a European power.

Granted, Puig has only featured sparingly for Barcelona with 45 appearances and 11 starts in LaLiga across four seasons.

Puig, who turns 23 on Saturday, should find himself in regular use for a Galaxy side that has a considerable hole in attacking central midfield. If he can get his paperwork approved in time, he should see action against Vancouver.

"From a fitness standpoint, the work he's done on the side, I don't see an issue," Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. "He's been training. He's physically ready. So now it's just a visa game. So we'll see what happens and how we would integrate him on the weekend sort of depends on whether we get that across the line or not."

The Galaxy sit ninth in the Western Conference, three points beneath the playoff line and ahead of 11th-place Vancouver (8-10-6, 30 points) in the wins tiebreaker.

The Whitecaps have made their own summer additions in the form of holding midfielder Andres Cubas and wingback Julian Gressel. They have also improved from within since a bad start with the return of midfielder Ryan Gauld to full fitness.

Head coach Vanni Sartini's squad has earned points in five of their last six on the road. And he sees in the Galaxy the potential to pull off a surprising result.

"They're kind of, I would say, an unpredictable team," Sartini said of the Galaxy. "If they are in a good day, I think they can beat every team. ... But they're also a team that sometimes, if they concede the first goal, they go a little down and they open (up) a lot because they attack with all (their) players. So you can counterattack them."

Sartini will be without strikers Lucas Cavallini (suspension) and Brian White (ribs). Cavallini leads the squad with eight goals, and White has three.

--Field Level Media

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