But Ibrahimović, who’s expected to join the team towards the middle of next week, won’t be able to help the Galaxy on Saturday night as the club faces off against the Vancouver Whitecaps (2-1-0) at a ruckus BC Place (7 p.m. Spectrum Community, SpectrumDeportes).
The Galaxy will be severely short of healthy bodies and could miss up to 11-players with either injury, international duty, or suspension and will enter a place they’ve had only mild success in. The club is 2-3-3 in Vancouver and 9-5-4 all-time against the Whitecaps.
But in two meetings last year, the Galaxy were 0-2 while being outscored 5-2.
All three Designated Players for the Galaxy, brothers Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos, and Romain Alessandrini, will miss this game with hamstring injuries, and even if healthy, both Dos Santos’ would have been called into Mexico camp for friendlies this week.
Additionally, Michael Ciani (groin/abdominal), and Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion protocol) will miss the game with an injury, while forward Ola Kamara and defender Emrah Klimenta will miss the game with international call-ups for Norway and Montenegro respectively.
In his match, Kamara scored three times against Austrailia as Norway went on to win 4-1. So as he returns, Kamara should be in great form.
Chris Pontius (glute), João Pedro (hamstring), and Perry Kitchen (MCL) are questionable for the game but could very well play. Pontius and Kitchen may even find themselves in a starting position.
On the opposite side, of things, Vancouver is expected to be near full-strength. Their only omission will be defender Kendall Waston who successfully had his red card from the Whitecaps’ 4-1 loss to Atlanta United last weekend appealed, but will still be absent while away with Costa Rica.
And while the cards are stacked against the Galaxy, younger players like Ariel Lassiter and perhaps even 15-year-old Efrain Alvarez could see some time in this game.
Dave Romney is expected to take up the left-back role for the suspended Cole and Daniel Steres will reprise his center-back role for the injured Ciani. Kitchen and Carrasco could once again pair in the middle and players like Baggio Husidic may see some time on the right-wing in place of Alessandrini.
It will be a patchwork lineup that is short on the spectacular, but because it’s Major League Soccer, there’s still a chance of a positive result – although it’s a slim one.
Admittedly, this game is more about survival than progress, and the club would take a draw without much hesitation.
In all likelihood, the Galaxy will attempt to steal some road points while being completely focused on their March 31 matchup with LAFC. Which isn’t a flawed approach.
In MLS it’s important to compete on the road, but home games are must-wins. And with a possible debut of Ibrahimović and a return to fitness for a handful of players, this Saturday’s game is an inconvenience more than a viable chance at points.