Preview: LA Galaxy vs. Kansas – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Major League Soccer clash between Los Angeles Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Los Angeles Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City will both be aiming to make up ground on the play-off spots when they face each other in the MLS on Thursday.

LA Galaxy find themselves eight points adrift after making a dismal start to the campaign, while Kansas lie only one point outside of the Western Conference’s qualification positions.

Match preview

LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney walks onto the field before the match on April 9, 2023© Reuters

Indeed, having previously been one of the most dominant forces in the MLS, LA Galaxy are in real danger of missing out on reaching the play-offs for the fifth time in six seasons.

No team has won as many MLS Cup’s as LA Galaxy’s tally of five, with their nine appearances in the final representing four times more than their closest competitors in that regard (DC United and New England Revolution on five apiece).

Yet standards at the Galaxy have clearly dramatically fallen in recent years, made more galling by the rise of their inter-city rivals Los Angeles FC, who lifted the MLS Cup for the first time last season.

Greg Varney‘s side do possess at least one game in hand on the vast majority of teams in the Western Conference, while four points from their last two matches – as well as a satisfying victory against Los Angeles in the US Open Cup – suggests they may finally be finding their feet after claiming only one win from their first 10 league games.

However, if they are to avoid enduring end-of-season disappointment once again, they surely require putting together a winning streak at some stage of the season, with Varney desperately hoping that can begin from Thursday.

Sporting Kansas City forward Alan Pulido (9) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal on June 18, 2023© Reuters

Similarly to their forthcoming opponents, Kansas are aiming to avoid consecutively failing to qualify for the play-offs, having finished lower than ever before in their history when ending up in 12th place in the Western Conference table last season.

Despite topping the Eastern Conference in 2018 and 2020, Kansas have not tasted ultimate success in the MLS Cup since their second triumph in 2013, although three US Open Cup wins since 2012 have helped reward their fanbase with plenty of opportunities to celebrate.

Like LA Galaxy, Peter Vermes‘ side endured a dismal opening period of the current campaign, winning only one of their first 11 matches in the MLS, before claiming 10 points from a possible 12 in recent weeks moved them to within touching distance of the play-off positions.

However, after suffering a 2-1 defeat at home to the reigning champions Los Angeles at the weekend, Vermes and his players will be hoping to fare much better against another California-based opponent in midweek.

Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer form:

Los Angeles Galaxy form (all competitions):

Sporting Kansas City Major League Soccer form:

Team News

LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo pictured in October 2022© Reuters

LA Galaxy’s woes have been compounded by Javier Hernandez‘s long-term ACL injury, with the Mexico forward out of action until next season after being withdrawn against Real Salt Lake earlier this month.

Memu Rodriguez and Sega Coulibaly are also sidelined with thigh and knee issues respectively, with Varney unlikely to make many changes from the starting XI that claimed a respectable point away to table-topping St Louis last time out.

Kansas, meanwhile, have an extremely busy treatment period themselves at present, with Andreu Fontas, Logan Ndenbe, Graham Zusi, Tim Melia, William Agada, Kayden Pierre and Kortne Thompson-Ford all unlikely to make the trip to Los Angeles.

Johnny Russell could be in contention to start after only appearing from the bench last time out.

Los Angeles Galaxy possible starting lineup:
Bond; Calegan, Caceres, Neal, Aude; Delgado, Brugman; Costa, Puig, Boyd; Joveljic

Sporting Kansas City possible starting lineup:
McIntosh; Davis, Rosero, Castellanos, Leibold; Walter, Radoja, Kinda; Thommy, Pulido, Salloi

SM words green background

We say: Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 Sporting Kansas City

LA Galaxy appear to have rediscovered some form in recent weeks, although the long-term injury of Hernandez will undoubtedly make them blunter between now and the end of the season.

With both teams sitting outside of the play-off spots, this should be a fiercely contested encounter, but we expect the hosts to marginally get themselves over the line.

How to watch

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Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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