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Los Angeles FC to win
Pick made on 07/27/2022 at 06:31 PM EST
Both these sides have been in the news in recent months. Los Angeles FC have made the high-profile purchases of Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini, whereas Seattle Sounders became the first team in MLS history to win the CONCACAF Champions League in early May.
The two sides seem to be going in different directions, however. Los Angeles FC are a team on the rise and things haven’t looked great for Seattle Sounders FC since their big moment. They’ve been on a poor run of form with three losses in their last four and facing a side like Los Angeles FC would’ve been the last thing they wanted.
The two sides have faced each other 14 times in the past, with Los Angeles FC having the edge with six wins. Three of the matches ended in draws, with Seattle Sounders FC winning five. It looks like Los Angeles FC are going to have the edge in this match as well.
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The two sides faced each other only last month in a 1-1 draw. There wasn’t a lot between the two sides. The possession share was fairly even, Los Angeles FC having 51 percent of the possession and taking 12 shots to Seattle Sounders FC’s nine, but the latter forced the former’s goalkeeper into more saves with six of them.
Albert Rusnek opened the scoring for Seattle Sounders before the in-form Cristian Arango equalized. Arango has scored nine goals for Los Angeles FC this term and also contributed with two assists. This promises to be another tight game but with Los Angeles FC clearly having the momentum.
Seattle Sounders FC showed their resolve in the last game, winning the match against the Colorado Rapids 2-1, despite going a man down in the second half with Kelyn Rowe getting sent off in the 47th minute.
They also had to make a comeback with Colorado Rapids getting on the scoresheet in the third minute of the match. Jordan Morris typified the strength in adversity by scoring a goal and winning the penalty that would get them three valuable points in their efforts to make it to the playoffs.
Despite finding themselves in 9th place on the Western Conference table at the moment, they’re still within reach of the playoffs spot. They’re just one point behind 7th place LA Galaxy and four points behind 4th place Real Salt Lake with a game in hand. A win against a side like Los Angeles FC would give them great confidence going forward this season. There is very little between the sides in the middle of the table. Every point going forward counts.
The Sounders were on a bit of a goal drought prior to this game and will be glad that it’s come to an end, but the defense has been the real worry all season. They’ve conceded 25 but a little glance at the expected goals against suggests that it could be a lot worse with stats from FBRef via statsbomb suggesting that they should’ve conceded 30.4 this season. The next match is a good place to start from to improve this as they’ll have to resist quite a lot of firepower in the form of Aranga, Vela and Bale. If they manage to put them off, it could be a template for the rest of the season.
Central midfielder, Joao Pualo, got a cruciate ligament rupture in early May and is going to be out for a while. Ober Vargas, the 16-year-old midfielder, has had a back injury since last month.
There’s been an influx of superstars in the MLS in the last month or so and nowhere has it been more evident than Los Angeles FC. City rivals, Los Angeles Galaxy were once the preferred destination for footballers that had lit up Europe but with the arrivals of Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini to Los Angeles FC, there seems to have been a real power shift in Hollywood.
Bale scored his first goal for Los Angeles FC against Sporting Kansas City on the weekend after coming off the bench. Both of Los Angeles FC’s new superstars have already made a mark. Chiellini has looked at ease since joining and the goal will help settle the nerves a little for Gareth Bale.
Despite their incredible careers in Europe, it’s never quite easy to move into a new country, new culture, new club and live up to the expectations. Many skeptics believe that players of Chiellini and Bale’s ilk are only at the club for a paycheck, but that seems to be far from the truth for the two stalwarts, who have always played the game with their heart on their sleeves. If there were any doubts about Los Angeles FC being the favorites to win the MLS Cup this season, those doubts have been quashed further after the starts made by Chiellini and Bale.
Even prior to the two superstar arrivals, Los Angeles FC looked the real deal and were favorites to win the MLS Cup. They’ve now won seven of their last nine games and are comfortably on top of the Western Conference standings with 45 points from 21 games. They look like extremely strong contenders to win the Supporters Shield this year.
They’ve scored 42 goals and conceded just 22. This gives them the joint best goal difference in the league along with last year’s champions New York City FC at +20. There are still some improvements that can be made. Unlike New York City FC, Los Angeles FC aren’t scoring goals at a sustainable rate with an expected goal value of 35.5. The fear is that they’ll become too reliant on star power. It’ll be up to manager, Steve Cherundulo, to make sure that isn’t the case going forward.
Right-back Erik Duenas has been out since last season with a cruciate ligament rupture. He’s only 17 years old.
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|Teams||Los Angeles FC vs Seattle Sounders FC|
|Location||Banc of California Stadium, California|
|Time||Friday, July 29 at 11pm EST onwards|
|How to watch||FS1, FOX Deportes|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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