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MLS is Back Tournament Group D preview July 23

How and when to watch MLS is Back Tournament Group D play on July 23: Galaxy vs Dynamo, LAFC vs Timbers

July 23, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
The LA Galaxy meets the Houston Dynamo in the penultimate MLS is Back Tournament group stage game that will ultimately determine which team will claim the fourth, and last, wildcard spot. Meanwhile, Group D leaders Portland Timbers and second-placed LAFC will fight for the No. 1 seed of the group.

LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo – July 23 at 8 p.m. ET

The LA Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo meet in a must-win game to make it to the round of 16 of the MLS is Back Tournament. These two sides previously met in the 2020 regular-season opener on February 29, resulting in a 1-1 draw. This time out, a draw would see both teams out of the competition. Therefore, winning is the only answer to make it to playoffs.

A win for the Dynamo would not only take the team through to the round of 16, but it would also be the first for head coach Tab Ramos as an MLS coach. However, Houston will go into the match shorthanded as Alberth Elis will be missing the game due to suspension. The Honduran winger will be missed given that he usually gives life to Houston's attacking plays and has netted two goals so far in the tournament.

The Galaxy enters this match with the worst goal differential in the whole tournament after just two games played. Having lost to a 10-man Portland Timbers side 2-1 and rivals LAFC 6-2, the Galaxy sits last in the group with 0 points and a -5-goal differential. Barros Schelotto's side must win by at least four goals to make it to the round of 16. This will be a hard feat having lost Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez to a calf injury for the remained of the tournament.

LAFC vs Portland Timbers – July 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET

The fight for first place in Group D will go down on Thursday night when current group leaders Portland Timbers take on second place LAFC. Both teams already qualified to the Round of 16, but there is much at stake with the group's top position and regular season points up for grabs.

The Timbers have snatched all six available points up to this stage with two 2-1 wins over Houston and the Galaxy. Forward Jeremy Ebobisse has been a key piece in Gio Savarese's Timbers, scoring a goal in each match. With Sebastian Blanco and Diego Valeri sitting in behind Ebobisse, Portland will look to go forward and make the best of an LAFC defense that has conceded five goals in the course of two games.

LAFC head into this final group stage match with nine goals in two games under their belt despite Carlos Vela's absence. Forwards Bradley Wright-Phillips, Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez have been clinical in front of goal. The only worry that Bob Bradley might have going into the match will be his defense. The black-and-gold backline was susceptible to counter attacks when they faced Houston and the Galaxy.


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