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Pick: Los Angeles FC to win (-238)
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Los Angeles FC have lost just once in the last five MLS games, and that loss came against San Jose Earthquakes at the Levis Stadium less than two weeks ago. The defeat ended the defending champions’ 11-match unbeaten streak in the MLS that had commenced during the playoffs last season. Los Angeles FC have looked a bit shaky after their derby win against LA Galaxy. They drew against Nashville SC, lost to San Jose Earthquakes, bounced back with a win against Real Salt Lake, and were held to a draw in the last game against Sporting Kansas City.
Meanwhile, San Jose Earthquakes will be hoping to complete a double over a mercurial Los Angeles FC side. However, that will not be a cakewalk, especially after the side faltered against LA Galaxy earlier this week. Despite shocking Los Angeles FC, San Jose Earthquakes have lost three of their last five MLS games. Before facing the two clubs from Los Angeles, San Jose Earthquakes visited Austin FC and returned with a valuable point.
The odds were against San Jose Earthquakes when they last faced Los Angeles FC, and they are still heavily against them despite the outcome of the reverse fixture. The chances of lightning striking twice are extremely slim this time around. In addition, the game will be played inside Los Angeles FC’s backyard this time, where the hosts are yet to lose this season.
Including the reverse fixture this season, these two clubs have locked horns 13 times in the MLS. An almost balanced historic record has seen Los Angeles FC win seven games, while the other six matches have gone in favor of San Jose Earthquakes.
The 2-1win San Jose Earthquakes nabbed over Los Angeles FC almost two weeks ago was a replication of the 2-1 victory they secured at the same venue last season. In the reverse fixture that season, Los Angeles FC nabbed a thrilling 3-2 win.
While San Jose Earthquakes have now extended their home game winning streak against Los Angeles FC to five games, their form against the same side on the road has been abysmal, as they have only won one away game against the defending champions in six attempts.
The first title-defending campaign of Los Angeles FC has gotten off to a decent start. The club is ranked second on the Western Conference table, just a point behind leaders Seattle Sounders FC. However, the advantage lies with Los Angeles FC because they have two games in hand.
Apart from the title charge in the league, Los Angeles FC are also eyeing their second CONCACAF Champions League title. In 2020, they finished as runners-up, but this time they are strong favorites to beat Liga MX side Tigres UANL in the final at the end of this month.
A treble could also be on the cards after the side beat Monterey Bay FC on penalties in the US Open Cup. However, the priority will be the MLS and Champions League title, for which Los Angeles FC seem to be on the right track.
As things stand, Los Angeles FC have the second-best home record in the Western Division. The only side ahead of them in this aspect is the team they face next - San Jose Earthquakes. If the hosts win, they will equal their opponent’s record and have the joint-best home record.
Los Angeles FC have played five games at home this season. They have won four and drawn just one. That solitary draw came earlier this week when the side were held to a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City. The host's unbeaten home streak in MLS stands at eight games.
After 11 games in the MLS, Los Angeles FC have kept five clean sheets. However, they have managed just one shutout in the last five games. Keeping attackers at bay could get more challenging for the defending champions because of the rising injury concerns.
Defender Giorgio Chiellini will be out for almost a month with a leg injury. A similar condition has ruled out center-back Jesus Murillo for the same period. Ahead of the defensive duo, Kellyn Acosta is doubtful ahead of the game against San Jose Earthquakes.
The last time San Jose Earthquakes registered back-to-back wins over Los Angeles FC in the MLS was back in 2021 when they beat the current defending champions in three successive games over the course of two seasons.
However, all those wins came in the San Jose Earthquakes’ backyard. Their away form against Los Angeles FC is extremely poor. But the visitors will not focus much on that statistic and will give it their all for glory at the BMO Stadium this weekend.
San Jose Earthquakes are in a strong position on the table and can close in on the top four only with a win. But they will have to field better tactics this time because Los Angeles FC would not want a repeat of the previous outcome.
While San Jose Earthquakes possess the best home record in their division, they have a terrible record on the road, which is only better than one team in the division – Houston Dynamo FC. In six away games this season, San Jose Earthquakes have won none, drawn two, and lost four.
The side are no strangers to a poor away record because they won just one game on the road in the MLS last season. Against the arch-rivals of their next opponent, LA Galaxy, in their last away game, San Jose Earthquakes went down 2-1.
When San Jose Earthquakes beat Los Angeles FC earlier this month, Cristian Espinoza bagged a brace as his side registered a 2-1 win. The winger has notched eight goals and three assists in 12 appearances this season.
Last season, the Argentinian finished with seven goals and nine assists in 34 appearances. He has already surpassed his goal tally this year and will surely pocket a few more assists as the season advances. He could end this season with his highest-ever tally of goal contributions.
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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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