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Would it be much of a shock if LAFC claim a victory this Friday?
They’re quietly playing intriguing soccer — despite their losing streak that has frustrated fans — and seem to be on the cusp of halting their poor form.
Sporting Kansas City are on a slight dip as they head to Los Angeles, and due to the international break, they’ll be missing their top goalscorer and assist creator.
Don’t overlook LAFC here, they’re due for a turnaround.
|LAFC vs Sporting Kansas City Information|
|Teams||LAFC vs Sporting Kansas City|
|Location||Banc of California Stadium (Los Angeles, California)|
|Time||Friday, September 3rd at 7:00pm PT/10:00pm ET|
|How to Watch||UniMas, TUDN, Twitter|
At some point in August, discontent regarding LAFC began to emerge from fans and media.
Once one of the most commanding teams in MLS, they’ve now gone eight matches in a row without a single victory.
It’s infuriating for fans who expect them to be title-contenders, and much of the blame has landed at the feet of manager Bob Bradley.
And yet, LAFC do seem to be playing great soccer under Bradley — regardless of any scoreline.
Of those eight games without a win, only two have had a higher xG (expected goals) tally for the opposition over LAFC.
They’ve had some decent defensive showings and plenty of chance creation going forward, but they’ve failed to capitalize on chances in the final third while being unlucky in their own half.
The trend points to LAFC eventually steering themselves in the right direction, and the good news for anxious fans is that it appears as though some vital figures have started to pick up their pace.
Even if names like Brian Rodriguez (gone on international duty) and Diego Rossi (transferred to Fenerbahce) won’t be back in the XI this week, LAFC can rely on two other names who have stepped up in August.
Needing a bit of time to adjust to his new club, striker Cristian Arango scored his first goal of the season during last Saturday’s 3-3 draw with the LA Galaxy.
Although the goal came from a penalty, Arango was impressive with his distribution and playmaking.
Right behind him, fellow Colombian Eduard Atuesta was also dominant.
As the team captain and defensive midfielder, Atuesta did plenty of the dirty work with defensive interventions and decisive passes going forward.
Both have looked confident in recent weeks and will look to build off their latest run of form.
What about SKC? They’ve got 37 goals so far this season (in comparison to LAFC’s 28) and are currently sitting at 2nd in the Western Conference table.
They’ll undoubtedly be competitive, but without the attacking focal point of Daniel Salloi up top, it is fair to wonder if SKC will have the same punch or intensity.
After earning his first-ever call-up to Hungary’s national team, Salloi will be missing out on SKC’s upcoming match in order to take part in his country’s World Cup qualifying journey.
This isn’t just any other MLS player either.
As a potential frontrunner for this season’s MVP award, Salloi currently has 12 goals and five assists to his name.
No other player within SKC’s roster has more goals or assists…
It’s only a matter of time.
LAFC regularly have more dangerous opportunities in the final third than the ones that they allow.
Regardless of the fact that they’re 11th in the Western Conference, LAFC have the fifth-highest xG (expected goals) tally in MLS and the second-lowest xGA (expected goals).
These are genuinely impressive numbers, and whether it comes down to misfortune, poor finishing, bad goalkeeping or other factors, LAFC can’t seem to solidify deserved wins.
It might be risky to expect a win from them, but at home against a team that will be missing their top player, there’s a decent chance for them to kick-start their season.
Most importantly, Bradley needs it as well so he can halt the criticism being thrown at him.
Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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