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Starless Galaxy take on still-homeless Whitecaps

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The LA Galaxy, winners of three of their last four matches, resume Major League Soccer regular season play Saturday night in Sandy, Utah against the host Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Whitecaps continue to use Rio Tinto Stadium in the Salt Lake City suburb as their home base due to Canadian-U.S. travel restrictions related to the coronavirus but expect to return to their real home before too long. Montreal and Toronto received clearance starting this weekend, but the Vancouver officials continue to monitor the situation in British Columbia.

The Galaxy (8-4-0, 24 points) and Whitecaps (2-7-3, 9 points), are far apart in the standings, with Vancouver in last place in the Western Conference and the Galaxy in third, but in 13 meetings since the start of the 2016 season, each team has five wins and there have been three draws.

Earlier this week, the Galaxy re-signed dynamic midfielder and Los Angeles native Efrain Alvarez to a two-year contract extension. It will keep Alvarez in Galaxy colors through the 2023 season, with an option for 2024.

“Efrain is a top, young attacking talent and has an exciting future ahead of him in LA and for the Mexican National Team,” Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said. “The Galaxy are committed to fostering talent from within the academy and Efrain’s contract extension further cements that responsibility.”

Alvarez, now 19, debuted with the Galaxy at age 16. He is playing with Mexico in the Gold Cup and won’t be available for the game, along with seven other Galaxy players on international duty or injury — including Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who sustained a calf injury in warmups preceding the July 4 game in Kansas City.

The struggling Whitecaps, who have not won a game since May 8, also have personnel problems. Vancouver has six losses and two draws in their last eight matches and have allowed multiple goals in each of their last seven games, most recently a 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on July 7.

The Whitecaps are on the verge of loaning defender Derek Cornelius to a team in Greece yet to be determined, and recently agreed to terminate the contract of Iraqi national Ali Adnan. The designated player had played well during his time with the club, but experienced ongoing international visa issues.

Vancouver is without top striker Lucas Cavallini, who is with Team Canada at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but Cristian Dajome and Deiber Caicedo have played well on the attack of late.

“We’ve been in the video room preparing every detail for the LA Galaxy game,” head coach Marc Dos Santos said, recalling the last meeting between the two teams. “It was a very close game here where we lost in injury time and we hope we can reverse that (outcome) on Saturday.”

–Field Level Media

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