Given a second chance to restart their season, the Los Angeles Galaxy will aim for a more cohesive offense when they take on the Portland Timbers in the Orlando area on Monday.
The first game for each team in Group F play of the MLS is Back Tournament will be the final game of Day 6 in what has become a 24-team tournament. FC Dallas and Nashville SC have been removed from the event after multiple players tested positive for coronavirus.
The Galaxy (0-1-1, 1 point) were expected to have an offense to watch in 2020, with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Cristian Pavon and Jonathan dos Santos. Back in March, though, the team scored just one goal in its opening two games, although it did come on an impressive strike from Pavon.
Now dos Santos is out of the tournament after hernia surgery, adding further challenges for a goal-hungry group.
"It was a rough start, then we stop for four months," Hernandez said in a video press conference Saturday. "I think we're trying to do the best we can, try to win this tournament then see what happens afterward. We are trying to do our best to entertain the people, try to make something out of this difficult moment, this situation. Hopefully, we can start on the right foot and win on Monday."
The Timbers (1-1-0, 3 points) arrived in central Florida early to adjust to the elements they will face in the tournament. Forward Jeremy Ebobisse said the team was intent on acclimating itself to heat and humidity as soon as possible.
Unlike the Galaxy, the Timbers enter the tournament with a full squad.
"Everyone as a whole is very excited," Timbers midfielder Eryk Williamson said. "I think for me personally, I think it is a great time to continue to develop. I know that this is a tournament where games are counted toward the regular year and we need to win games."
The two Western Conference powers have played 22 regular-season matches against each other all-time with the Galaxy holding a 9-7-6 advantage. Los Angeles has scored 37 goals in the all-time series, while Portland has scored 34.
--Field Level Media