There are some teams in Major League Soccer that Toronto FC has never really figured out in its 10-year history. The Los Angeles Galaxy are chief among them. The club visiting BMO Field today have had Toronto FC's number since the Canadian club's first season in 2007.
Toronto FC has only beaten the Galaxy twice in MLS play, both of those wins coming in the 2008 season. It's not incredibly surprising, the Galaxy has consistently been one of the top teams in Major League Soccer while Toronto FC has been near the bottom of the standings.
This year, however, should be a fairer fight. Toronto FC and the Galaxy both sit in fifth place in their respective conferences. The Galaxy, however, has five more points in a Western Conference that is once again better than the East, as seems to be the stereotype with all sports of late.
Both clubs come into this game in fairly poor form. Neither club has won in its last four MLS matches despites many of those matches being played at home.
Both turned things around slightly in domestic competitions during the break. For Toronto FC, it was a pair of strong performances in the Canadian Championship semi-final against the Montreal Impact. The Galaxy were less convincing and needed a controversial goal and extra time to beat lower league team LA Maquina in the U.S. Open Cup.
But despite the Galaxy's underwhelming run of form recently, Toronto FC would do well to be wary of today's visitors. LA slapped Toronto FC 4-0 when the two sides met last season, and once again possess the league's best attack, having scored 27 goals already. Toronto FC has scored just 14, among the worst in the league.
The Galaxy will be without at least two key attackers, however, due to international competition. Robbie Keane, an annual thorn in Toronto FC's side, is with Ireland at Euro 2016. Gyasi Zardes, meanwhile, just scored the winning goal for the United States to take them to the Copa America Centenario semi-finals.
LA is not without attacking depth, however, actually they seem to have an absurd amount. Giovanni Dos Santos elected not to join Mexico for this year's Copa America and may factor into today's game. Even if he doesn't, the Galaxy have Mike McGee, Emmanuel Boateng, Sebastian Lletget and Alan Gordon as attacking options. There's also that Steven Gerrard guy.
With the exception of Michael Bradley, who is also still with Zardes and the United States, and the injured Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC's lineup is healthy again. The return of Benoit Cheyrou to the midfield was massive for the club against Montreal, and Frenchmen should start the match once again.
The same can be said of Sebastian Giovinco and Will Johnson, who effectively used the break to recover from their ailments. Now that they are back fully, the Toronto FC attack and midfield respectively will be given a big boost. Tsubasa Endoh is also expected to be available after missing both of the Montreal matches.
If Toronto FC wants to get back to calling BMO Field a fortress, this would be a good place to start. The LA Galaxy haven't been great so far this season, but they are certainly still a marquee name in this league. Getting a good home result against them would go a long way towards getting Toronto's season back on track.