Charlotte FC vs Los Angeles Galaxy Preview, Betting Picks, Predictions: LA’s Class Can Win Out

Javier HernandezCharlotte FC get their second taste of MLS action on Saturday as they host Los Angeles Galaxy (7.30pm ET; TV: Live on FOX). Can the hosts get their first points since joining the big time or will the Galaxy use their Major League Soccer nous and upset the party at Bank of America Stadium? The aim is for this preview and its predictions to unravel the imponderables and also find some betting picks.

Opening weekend exploits

It is always difficult for expansion teams to hit the ground running in Major League Soccer and the Charlotte FC boys found out just how hard last weekend. Away against a DC United side with no shortage of nous at this level, the new boys struggled to go with the pace, losing by three goals to nil at Audi Field. There were certainly moments of promise for Miguel Ángel Ramírez’s men, who fashioned a few reasonable chances, and who weren’t totally outclassed for the entirety of the contest, but when push came to shove, they weren’t quite good enough.

For the Galaxy, it looked as though they weren’t going to get the desired result on opening day. Against last season’s MLS Cup winners, NYC, Greg Vanney’s men huffed and puffed, but struggled to break through. Then a through ball went the way of the ultra-composed Chicharito, who turned superbly inside the box before applying an emphatic finish inside stoppage time, giving his side the 1-0 victory. Overall, there was a lot to like about the way the Galaxy got down to business first time out, and in the end, they were deserving winners. Coach Vanney will be looking for more of the same.

Searching for away-day improvement

This time around, Greg Vanney will be looking for his team to be more competitive when playing away from the comforts of home, as last term they struggled to win with regularity on the road, emerging victorious from just five of their 17 travelling fixtures. Unless they can tighten up at the back, they will need to score more goals too, as a total of 21 goals scored paled into insignificance when put next to their total of 32 goals conceded. Only two teams conceded more away goals than the Galaxy in the Western Conference last season.

Hoping for the perfect start at home

In what is a 75,412-seat stadium, Charlotte FC will be looking to get off the mark at the first time of asking. Bank of America Stadium, constructed in 1996 is synonymous with NFL and the Carolina Panthers, but those associated with the city of Charlotte’s newest top-level sporting enterprise will be hoping that the North Carolina venue becomes known as something of a hub for soccer success too.

How to bet this game?

With Charlotte being a new side, this preview is guessing a bit. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that they soon break free from the shackles that most new MLS sides find themselves bound with, and who knows, maybe they’ll do a Nashville and start competing for a place in the postseason early in their Major League Soccer life. However, these things take time, and on last week’s evidence, it’s going to be a while before Ramírez’s men are throwing their weight around. On this basis, it’s hard to oppose the visitors, who looking at the early betting lines, are not hard to bet on at all.

As they ended the game with an expected goals deficit of -0.6, Charlotte FC weren’t disgraced against DC last week, but they looked lacking in both cutting edge and end-product. Their opponents didn’t exactly have to create chance after chance to break through, which is a little bit worrying. In contrast, the Los Angeles Galaxy not only held the current MLS Cup holders at bay, but outplayed them, creating 1.8 expected goals, conceding just 0.8. Such an effort should have earned the visitors more respect in the betting with the stateside odds setters, meaning that for my money, odds of +130 on the away win represent some value.

More to come from Chicharito

We saw the value of having an out-and-out goal-getter when Javier Hernandez pounced late last week, and the Mexican should just be getting started. Scorer of 17 goals in 21 appearances last season, the 33-year-old has goals, and lots of them, available to him at this level. If Galaxy can provide enough chances, then we could be talking about Major League Soccer’s top scorer, who has an excellent opportunity to maintain his 100% record at the start of this campaign.

Against a Charlotte FC back-line that is yet to get to grips with the pace of MLS and that looked a little unsteady last weekend, the Galaxy poacher, who averaged 0.88 goals and 0.68 expected goals per 90 minutes last term, is worth supporting to find the net.

So, to conclude this preview, these are our predictions and betting picks: