“The team gave up the battle and the fight…” Guillermo Barros Schelotto deadpanned, describing the mental switch that went off for LA Galaxy in last weekend’s match against LAFC. And the 5-time MLS Cup Champions’ woes continued with the news that one of the brightest stars in their galaxy, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, would not be returning to play in what might be their last game of tournament. Tonight, LA Galaxy, fight for their right to stay in the MLS bubble in Orlando, and a chance at one of the Wild Card spots. Their battle, which they must forget for the full 90+ minutes of play, will be against the sole Texan team in the tournament, Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo are still searching for their first win of the tournament, and first win with former USMNT U-20 coach Tab Ramos at the helm.
On the flip side, LAFC are finding themselves aiming for first place in Group F tonight in their match-up against Portland Timbers. While, the Timbers, coming off a strong start, need to just get a draw in order to take that coveted top spot, LAFC must win outright in order to do so. It may come down to which Number 9 does it better. Diego Rossi and Jeremy Ebobisse have both taken on leadership roles for their teams in Orlando this month. Portland’s multi-game scorer, Ebobisse told mlssoccer.com, “You don’t come to this kind of tournament unless you expect to be in a top position coming out of the group, adding points to the regular-season tally and then pushing on into the knockout round.” LAFC’s always relied on the versatile and humble work ethic of Rossi, who will once again be looked upon, to fuel their offensive engine. In the absence of a solid backline, LAFC will have to fight through some goal losses in order to come out on top, but they’ve proven to be able to do so before, and are sure to try their best to do it again tonight.