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LAFC are the defending MLS champions, and a win here would take them to the top of the Western Conference standings, but that hasn’t stopped the odds table from having Nashville as the slight favorite heading into this tie.
Nashville have got the home advantage but not much else. They lost their league game, aren’t in better form than LAFC, and don’t have the quality that LAFC possesses. Nashville haven’t won their last two games in the league, which makes it even more peculiar that they’ve got the better odds heading into this tie.
Nashville’s defense has been excellent this season, so it won’t be easy for LAFC to break the deadlock in this tie, but LAFC have been scoring over two goals per game this season, so if any team were to cause the Nashville defense problems, it’s LAFC.
LAFC are yet to lose a game this season and remain the team to beat. LAFC rarely go into games with the more rewarding odds, so picking them should be a no-brainer.
The two sides haven’t had too many encounters against each other; just two, in fact. Both sides have got one win each. The last meeting between the two sides occurred in October 2022 and ended 1-0 in favor of Nashville.
LAFC were a bit unfortunate not to get a point, at the very least, in the game. They had 66% possession and took 30 shots on goal, with 14 finding the target, but they couldn’t break the deadlock. Nashville took just two shots on target; one was enough to earn all three points.
Teal Bunbury’s 53rd-minute strike was the difference between the two sides. J. Willis put in an outstanding display in front of goal to get all three points for Nashville to get all three points for the visitor.
The upcoming game will probably play out similarly. Nashville can’t be reliant on luck last time, and LAFC need to be a bit more clinical if they create the same number of chances as last time.
Nashville succumbed to their third defeat of the league season against New York City FC over the weekend. Keaton Parks (11’) and Maxime Chanot (25’) found the back of the net in the first half to give New York City FC something to hold onto.
Hany Mukhtar’s 81st-minute strike gave Nashville some hope late in the game, but it wasn’t their day. New York City FC had 53% of the possession and took 14 shots on goal to New York City’s 15, with six on target for each team.
Nashville FC couldn’t complain too much. They never looked like winning, and a draw would’ve flattered them after the first half. They showed some promise in the second half, and Mukhtar’s quality is a big plus, but they’ll need to show more if they want to beat LAFC on the weekend.
Nashville striker, Hany Mukhtar, has continued his excellent form this season, with two goals and three assists so far this season. The German was outstanding last season, with 23 goals and seven assists in 33 MLS games, and registered 16 goals and 10 assists in the previous season.
Mukhtar’s all-around ability makes him a deadly prospect. As his stats suggest, he’s not just a goalscorer but also a creative threat. He can carry the ball from deeper areas, take people on, and has an eye for open areas.
The only thing he lacks is some defensive endeavor. He doesn’t really press the opposition, but his other qualities make for the lack of defensive toughness. Mukhtar’s just 28 years old, so his best years are far from done. Nashville need to surround him with better quality because he has the tools to lead a team to the championship.
The defense has been quite good this season, but the attack is still far too dependent on him. If the team can add another player who’s on the same wavelength as Muktar, there’s no reason why Nashville can’t be a championship contender.
The LA Derby or El Trafico is always preceded by a lot of hype, and it has been delivering on the hype in recent seasons. LAFC’s 3-2 win against LA Galaxy is already an early contender for the game of the season.
LA Galaxy were heading into this game in poor form but put on a show last weekend. Carlos Vela got LAFC off to a great start with a goal in the 21st minute, before Tyler Boyd leveled the scored in the 41st minute. Vela got his second from the penalty spot in the 68th minute and Ryan Hollingshead made it 3-1 two minutes later.
It looked like LAFC were set to earn all three points before Marco Delgado’s 84th-minute strike added a layer of tension to the final minutes of the tie. LA Galaxy had 66% of the possession and took 14 shots in the game. They’ve struggled all season without Javier Hernandez but managed to put on a strong display despite losing the tie, which will give them some hope heading into their next games.
LAFC, on the othe hand, showed why they’re champions. They weren’t at their best, but still managed to score three goals and get all three points.
LAFC have found a good balance between attack and defense this season. They’ve scored 15 goals and conceded five, with only St.Louis having a better goal difference so far. Not to mention, LAFC have played one game less than most other sides, and a win here will take them to the top spot in the Western Conference.
They weren’t very reliant on the likes of Gareth Bale last season, even though the Welshman was the hero in last season’s final. Now that they’ve got over the line, they can play more freely, and it is showing in the results and performance.
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Teams: Nashville vs Los Angeles FC
Location: GEODIS Park
Time: Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 pm EST onwards
How to watch: Apple TV
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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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