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Charlotte FC
Major League Soccer
May 19, 2024 at 12.30am UK
Bank of America Stadium
LA Galaxy

Charlotte FC
0 - 0
LA Galaxy

Dejaegere (31'), Bronico (82')

Aude (29')

Preview: Charlotte FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Major League Soccer clash between Charlotte FC and Los Angeles Galaxy, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both sitting fifth in their respective Major League Soccer conferences, Charlotte FC and Los Angeles Galaxy will meet in an important contest at the Bank of America Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts have climbed into the top five in the Eastern Conference with three straight league wins heading into the weekend, while their visitors find themselves winless in four matches.

Match preview

Charlotte FC head coach Dean Smith looks on on February 25, 2024© Reuters

In their bid for a first-ever top-seven finish in the MLS Eastern Conference, Charlotte FC find themselves in a pleasing run of form heading into the weekend, having moved into the playoff spots with three consecutive victories in May.

Under the tutelage of Dean Smith, they endured a relatively tough start to the 2024 campaign, earning just 11 points from their first 10 outings and losing five along the way, culminating in back-to-back defeats at the hands of Minnesota United and New York City FC late last month, but they have bounced back in style since.

The Crown firstly returned to winning ways at home to Portland Timbers, as Nikola Petkovic and Enzo Copetti netted second-half goals in a 2-0 triumph, before they hosted Nashville SC last weekend and made it back-to-back three-point hauls with Patrick Agyemang netting the only goal of the game soon after the interval.

A trip to Chicago Fire then followed most recently in midweek, and Smith's men were able to continue their winning streak with another narrow hard-fought victory, as Ashley Westwood opened the scoring on the hour mark and the Crown stood strong to take all three points.

Having quickly improved their standing in the Eastern Conference with those results, Charlotte FC now sit fifth with just a three-point gap up to the top three and the same lead over the playoff wildcard spots, and they will bid to further solidify their standing with a fourth straight triumph on their return to the Bank of America Stadium on Saturday.

LA Galaxy (Los Angeles Galaxy) head coach Greg Vanney looks on on February 24, 2024© Reuters

Their visitors, meanwhile, occupy the same spot in the other division with one more point on the board from their 13 outings, despite experiencing a dip in form heading into the weekend's trip to North Carolina.

Following a disappointing 2023 campaign in which they finished 13th in the Western Conference and missed out on the playoffs, Los Angeles Galaxy enjoyed a fine start to the new term, going unbeaten in their first six outings and accumulating 12 points to put themselves in the leading pack from the outset.

A first defeat would then follow at the hands of rivals Los Angeles FC, and after bouncing back with consecutive victories over Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes to strengthen their position, Galaxy now visit Charlotte in the midst of a four-match winless streak.

Following a second loss of the term against Austin FC and a goalless stalemate with Seattle Sounders, Greg Vanney's men have now played out consecutive 2-2 draws in the MLS, firstly coming from two goals down to share the points with Real Salt Lake before most recently being pegged back away at Minnesota United, as Kervin Arriaga levelled the game 10 minutes from time after Dejan Joveljic and Diego Fagundez had them 2-1 up in the second half.

While they have dropped to fifth spot and seen a lead over the chasing pack cut down as a result of their dip in form, Los Angeles Galaxy do remain level on points with Colorado Rapids, Los Angeles FC and Minnesota United in fourth, third and second spots respectively and only three behind leaders Real Salt Lake, and they will bid to return to winning ways on Saturday with the chance to move back ahead with the frontrunners and build a healthy lead in the playoff fight.

Charlotte FC Major League Soccer form:

Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig© Reuters

Following their third consecutive victory last time out, Charlotte FC may be unchanged for Saturday's game, with winger Liel Abada remaining confined to the treatment room.

In his absence, Tyger Smalls earned a first start of the season for the Crown against Chicago Fire, and he and Kerwin Vargas could again flank Patrick Agyemang in a front three.

Elsewhere, Ashley Westwood is a mainstay in midfield and will continue to play a crucial role after netting the winning goal last time out, with Junior Urso and Nikola Petkovic again set to join him, while Andrew Privett and Adilson Malanda are bound to continue their partnership at the base of the midfield.

Los Angeles Galaxy are not contending with many injury issues ahead of Saturday's trip, although attacker Joseph Paintsil was withdrawn early in the second half of their draw with Minnesota United last time out with a muscle issue and may not be deemed fit to feature from the outset as a result.

Greg Vanney may indeed opt to make changes to his front three after that contest, with Diego Fagundez and Dejan Joveljic having netted their goals off the bench, and the former may take Paintsil's place while the latter could get the nod to lead the line over Miguel Berry.

Former Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig remains a star man in the centre, having contributed eight assists alongside three goals in just 12 MLS appearances so far this term, and he will again line up alongside mainstays Gaston Brugman and Marco Delgado in the engine room at the weekend, while Maya Yoshida and Martin Caceres form an experienced and accomplished centre-back pairing.

Charlotte FC possible starting lineup:
Kahlina; Byrne, Malanda, Privett, Pedro; Urso, Westwood, Petkovic; Small, Agyemang, Vargas

Los Angeles Galaxy possible starting lineup:
McCarthy; Yamane, Yoshida, Caceres, Nelson; Delgado, Brugman, Puig; Pec, Joveljic, Fagundez

SM words green background

We say: Charlotte FC 2-1 Los Angeles Galaxy

Despite only one point separating them in the MLS thus far, it is Charlotte FC who head into Saturday's meeting with all of the momentum, and with home advantage and confidence from three straight wins, we back Dean Smith's men to prevail in North Carolina.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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