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Odds taken from bet365
Los Angeles FC haven’t played too many league games this season, but they’ve still accumulated more points than Atlanta United this season. The defending champions have had a busy fixture list, with CONCACAF Champions League games coming thick and fast. They ultimately lost the Champions League final to Leon 3-1 on aggregate, but that shouldn’t have a significant bearing on how they do against Atlanta United in midweek.
They are massive favorites heading into the tie, not only because they’re the defending champions but also because they’re playing at home. They’ve lost just one league game all season, so this should be a regular victory.
Of course, there isn’t a lot of value in picking them. A draw offers a lot of value, but we doubt Atlanta United are going to trouble LAFC away from home. It’s best to play safe for this match.
The two teams haven’t faced each other on many occasions. Atlanta United have a better record, with two wins out of three. LAFC have come out on top just once, winning 4-3 in 2019. The last meeting between the two sides was back in August 2021; Atlanta United won 1-0 on the day thanks to a goal from Josef Martinez in the 47th minute.
LAFC were the away side on the day but took 16 shots to Atlanta United’s nine. Atlanta United had 59% of the possession, and six of their shots were on target compared to LAFC’s three. There wasn’t a lot between the two sides besides Martinez’s goal. After scoring the goal, Atlanta United took a backseat and did enough ultimately to get all three points.
Atlanta United can take comfort from the fact that they won the last time the two sides met and the superior head-to-head record because they’ll need every little edge heading into the match in midweek. However, both teams will be well aware that a lot has changed since their last meeting.
LAFC’s 2-1 win over San Jose occurred on May 21st. They’ve played three cup games since, so they’ll not be short of match fitness, but league games differ from cup games. The win against San Jose wasn’t the most straightforward, either. They had to right till the end to get all three points.
Stipe Biuk put them up within three minutes before Miguel Tranco leveled the scores in the 52nd minute. It looked like the match would end 1-1, but San Jose conceded a penalty in stoppage time, and Carlos Vela made no mistake from the spot five minutes into second-half stoppage time.
LAFC had 57% of the possession in this match, but the two sides took 14 shots each. LAFC had six on target to San Jose’s three, so there wasn’t much in it. LAFC will need to perform a lot better if they want to hold onto their title, but getting over the line when everything isn’t clicking is a positive.
LAFC haven’t played as many matches as those around them, so taking a closer look at the per 90 stats might give us some idea of how well they’ve done this season. They have the best expected goal difference per 90 in the Western Conference, along with the Seattle Sounders, which shows that the results aren’t a fluke.
This stat looks at the difference between the expected goals and expected goals against and divides that per 90 minutes. This means that LAFC are generating a lot of high-value shots and denying teams from taking good shots on goal better than everyone in the Western Conference besides the Seattle Sounders.
The Sounders haven’t always been able to finish games off, but LAFC don’t have this issue as they have players with the quality to turn all the shots into something constructive, like goals and saves. They shouldn’t have any trouble winning the Western Conference if they keep playing like this.
Atlanta United succumbed to a frustrating 3-3 draw against the New England Revolution last week. They took 20 shots to New England’s five and had 72% of the possession, but lacked clinical edge, whereas the opposite applied to New England. Carles Gill and Bobby Wood gave New England a solid lead with goals in the first and 37th minute before Atlanta United fought back in the second half.
Giorgos Giakoumakis opened the scoring for Atlanta in the 56th minute before Thiago Almada made it 2-2 in the 74th minute. Miguel Berry thought he’d scored the winner in the 87th minute but Carles Gill had other ideas and drew the game 3-3 in stoppage time.
It was a fantastic match but disappointing for Atlanta United, who were by far the better side on the day.
Giorgos Giakoumakis continued his excellent form by scoring the first goal against New England last week. This was the Greek forward’s ninth goal of the season; he’s just one goal behind Hany Mukhtar and Denis Bouanga in the golden boot race.
He has an expected goal value of 6.5 at the moment, so there’s a bit of an overperformance as things stand, but it’s still a very impressive stat, considering he’s played just 12 games all season. He could’ve been on top of the golden boot standings if he played a few more matches.
Atlanta United haven’t had much trouble going forward this season because of Giakoumakis’ efforts, but they need to do a bit better in defense. This was evident in the 3-3 draw against New England last week, where they conceded three goals despite conceding just five shots on goal all game.
They’ve conceded 28 goals this season, which is far too much for a team looking set for playoff qualification. Only one other team from the Eastern Conference has conceded more goals, so this is definitely a big concern heading into this match.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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