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Odds taken from bet365.
Favorites Los Angeles FC will look to run riot against underdogs Colorado Rapids to display their dominance in the Western Conference.
Steve Cherundolo will be concerned about his team’s home form as they have registered only two outings from the last five fixtures. However, they will head into the fixture as overwhelming favorites as Robin Fraser-managed club managed to salvage only one win from their last five away outings.
Los Angeles FC will take a leaf out of their last home fixture against St. Louis that took place in July. The hosts thumped the visitors 3-0 as Cherundolo’s men gave a fine account of themselves. As a big positive, the club managed to dominate most of the possession in the fixture and converted all their shots on target. LAFC broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute through Carlos Vela while Stipe Biuk (82’) and Jose Cifuentes (90+2’) netted a goal each to help the hosts clinch a clinical victory.
Fraser, meanwhile, has some head-scratching to do after his club’s abysmal performance this season. In their last away fixture, they lost 0-2 against the same opponent, St. Louis. However, the only silver lining for the club was that it retained 61 percent of the possession. But failed to convert their three shots on target as the two early goals from Tim Parker (4’) and Jared Stroud (11’) were enough for the hosts to clinch all three points.
Los Angeles FC and Colorado Rapids have faced off nine times in the MLS since 2018. The defending champions have maintained the upper hand by winning five times, while Colorado Rapids has clinched victory in three fixtures. Meanwhile, one match ended in a draw.
In their previous meeting in April, both clubs canceled each other out as the match ended in a 0-0 draw. However, it was a busy outing for both the goalkeepers as LAFC’s John McCarthy made three saves while Colorado’s William Yarbrough made two stops.
The combined shots for both clubs were 25, with six on the net. The visiting LAFC side had 14 shots, with four on target, while the hosts produced five of the last six shots of the first half. However, none of them were on target. Meanwhile, both clubs also failed to make their set pieces count, as the Rapids had five corners compared to LAFC’s one.
Los Angeles FC will look to make a positive restart in the 2023 MLS after their heart-breaking quarter-final exit from the Leagues Cup. The top-seeded American outfit made a thumping start to their Leagues Cup campaign as they registered a 7-1 victory over Juarez in the Round of 32. Their thumping run continued in Round 16 as they saw off Real Salt Lake 4-0.
However, in the quarter-finals, the club failed to show resistance against the possession-heavy Monterrey and suffered a 3-2 loss. LAFC managed to keep only 30% possession compared to the 70% held by the Mexican outfit. Two of their seven shots on target were converted, with Denis Bouanga opening the score in the second minute and Mateusz Bogusz (42’) adding at the brink of half-time.
However, their first-half lead was cut short in the final 45 minutes, as Sergio Canales (68’) netted the first goal from the spot while Sergi Palencia's (80’) own goal gave them the equalizer. Meanwhile, Rogelio Funes Mori’s goal in the 88th minute ended LAFC’s fine run in the Leagues Cup.
Los Angeles FC are currently four points adrift of Western Conference leaders St. Louis and will need to secure a win to remain in touching distance. The second-placed side has clinched 10 wins, registered seven draws and six losses to accumulate 37 points from 23 fixtures.
Meanwhile, St. Louis has a better win ratio of 13 while registering two draws and eight losses, putting them at the top of the table with 41 points. Both clubs have played 23 games each, and LAFC will expect to challenge the leaders with their dominance after the break.
The attacking department of Los Angeles FC has been boosted by the arrival of new signing Mario Gonzalez, who has been signed by Braga. The attacking midfielder is expected to make his MLS debut on Sunday.
Gonzalez failed to make his presence felt in his debut for the club in the Leagues Cup quarter-final against Monterrey. The 27-year-old, however, will be keen to prove his goalscoring ability in the upcoming fixture. He has netted 13 goals in 22 appearances during his loan stint with OH Leuven of the Belgian Pro League A.
Colorado Rapids’ poor run in the form in the 2023 MLS was replicated in their Leagues Cup performance. The club registered a tumultuous run in the Leagues Cup as they failed to register a single win in the group stage.
Fraser’s men began their stint in the tournament with a 2-1 loss against Nashville SC. In the second and final group-stage fixture, they were thumped 4-1 by Toluca. As a result, the club was eliminated before the knockout stage.
Colorado Rapids have failed to deliver in the 2023 MLS all season long. Fraser has relied on his defensive 5-3-2 formation and more attacking 4-2-3-1 combination, but it hasn’t reaped dividends for him.
Moreover, Colorado Rapids have the worst win ratio in the 2023 MLS so far. The club has won only three out of their 23 outings, registering 10 losses and as many draws. However, Fraser will be expected to bring in a rejuvenated side and save some pride for the club and its loyal fans.
Among the many concerns for Colorado Rapids, their goal-scoring ability tops the chart. The club has only found the back of the net once in their last seven MLS games.
In fact, their leading goal scorers in the ongoing season, Lalas Abubakar, Kevin Cabral, and Michael Barrios, have scored only two goals each. Each player has made at least 20 appearances in the MLS this season but failed to make their presence felt.
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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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