Champions New York City FC Collide With LA Galaxy

New York City FC will kick start its defense campaign as the reigning MLS Champions with a LA Galaxy vs New York City match. New York won last year’s MLS playoffs, ultimately taking down the Portland Timbers on penalties after a 1-1 deadlock took them into extra time; meanwhile, Los Angeles finished eighth in the Western Conference, missing out on playoff qualification by one spot.

New York has desperately been looking to make some noise in America, signing legends like Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo to bring worldwide recognition to their brand in a sport with fewer eyes on it — in America, at least. Last year’s playoff triumph cemented the momentum that New York had been building, giving them their first major trophy.

Los Angeles has been quite the opposite of New York; they are in the largest market in America and have had a collection of notable names on their payroll, but they took a downturn last season by claiming just 48 points from a possible 102. Perhaps L.A. should focus more on winning on the pitch rather than winning the headlines.

Okay — this is the first match of the season for both teams, so all precedent is out the window, and recent form does not really exist. L.A. has been tabbed as a slight favorite in the impending clash, boasting +135 odds of a victory to New York’s +165; It’s a +240 number on a draw.

A major reason for L.A’.s on-paper advantage is two pacey, prolific, flair-driven players, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and the newly-signed Douglas Costa. The former scored 17 goals in 20 starts last season, while the latter was a part of a league-winning Juventus and Bayern Munich teams for the past few years. How his talents ended up in the MLS, who knows, but he is there nonetheless.

The season-opening weekend in the MLS may not have the same thrill as the recent Super Bowl or the upcoming March Madness, but it still provides a great spectacle for sports fans who, if nothing else, will see the teams at their full strength and highest energy levels. 

The first LA Galaxy vs New York City match of the season is always interesting to see which teams look more prepared and, more specifically, which players said “no” to a few extra drinks during the offseason and came in prepared to work. We are talking about New York and Los Angeles-based teams here, so there would be no shortage of options for players on either side of the fence.

At the end of the day, it is the first game of the season, and neither team is going to have their best “stuff”; but this will be an indication of where each team is at mentally and in terms of intensity. New York City is in the unfamiliar position of having a target painted on its back, while the L.A. Galaxy will be hunting them down and attempting to reclaim their past glory.

The match will kick off at 5:00 p.m. ET Sunday evening in Dignity Health Sports Park.

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