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Concerns will be on the rise at St. Louis City SC as the team has won just one of the last five MLS games. After resuming the league season with an exquisite 6-3 win over Austin FC in August, St. Louis City suffered a 2-1 loss against Orlando City.
They bounced back in the next game, defeating FC Dallas with the same scoreline, but suffered another 2-1 defeat against Sporting Kansas City. The Western Conference leaders were set to record another 2-1 win against LA Galaxy but conceded a late equalizer to share the spoils. In the last match, St. Louis City were the side to score a late equalizer as they took a point away from Houston Dynamo.
Despite being the defending champions, Los Angeles FC are not strong favorites to win this encounter. This is primarily due to their recent form which shows three defeats in the last five games. After the break, Los Angeles FC resumed the MLS season with a 4-0 thumping of Colorado Rapids.
After that fine result, the club lost three successive games against Charlotte FC, Inter Miami, and Portland Timbers. There was some respite this past weekend when the defending champions claimed the bragging rights in the El Trafico with a stellar 4-2 win against LA Galaxy.
There is not a lot to separate the two sides on paper, as their on-pitch performance will decide the final outcome. Morale will be high after the derby win for Los Angeles FC, but it may not be enough for them to clinch a second successive win. St. Louis City SC are favorites to win this encounter in their own backyard.
This is St. Louis City SC’s debut season in the MLS, hence this match will only be the second meeting between these two clubs. The last time these two teams locked horns was in July this season at the BMO Stadium.
The game was deadlocked at 0-0 before Carlos Vela rippled the net in the 72nd minute. Stipe Biuk doubled the host’s advantage ten minutes later before Jose Cifuentes drove the final nail in St. Louis City SC’s coffin in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.
In recent times, almost all new teams who have joined the MLS have struggled to match the pace of the league in their respective debut seasons. However, St. Louis City SC have made a miraculous start to their MLS voyage as they sit at the summit of the Western Conference.
Not only is the club at the top of the table, but it has also established a six-point gap. The team has a chance to extend this lead to nine points if they can win the next game. In addition, St. Louis City could confirm their presence in the playoffs in the next couple of games.
As things stand, the hosts are only seven points away from confirming their qualification in their debut season. It will be an incredible milestone for Bradley Carnell and his men if they can pull this feat off with three regular-season games to spare.
St. Louis City SC have been quite robust in their own backyard. In 14 home games, the club has won ten, drawn just one, and lost three. All three losses have come against teams that are not title contenders -- Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers, and Minnesota United.
Against the stronger clubs, the hosts have been quite rigid. St. Louis City handed FC Cincinnati their heaviest defeat of the season when they smashed five past the Eastern Conference leaders at the CityPark Stadium. The team will be eager to replicate that performance against LAFC.
After returning from a lengthy injury spell, Joao Klauss has made three substitute appearances in the MLS, without making any goal contribution. He was ushered into the starting eleven for the first time after recovering from his injury against LA Galaxy just over a week ago.
The occasion was marked with a goal by the Brazilian. The 26-year-old struck again this past weekend scoring a crucial late equalizer against Houston Dynamo FC. He now has seven goals and two assists in 11 starts this season.
Los Angeles FC will be thanking their lucky stars after winning the derby against their neighbors LA Galaxy this past weekend. The game was headed for a draw as the sides were level 2-2 as the game entered the final quarter.
Denis Bouanga scored his 14th goal of the season in the 75th minute before Timothy Tillman wrapped up the three points and bragging rights in the 84th minute. The crucial win ended Los Angeles FC’s dismal three-game losing streak.
The disappointing run ended at a very crucial juncture because now the defending MLS Cup champions will be involved in tough games in quick succession. The derby win could prove to be the perfect stimulant for LAFC and help them gain maximum points over the next few weeks.
At the BMO Stadium, Los Angeles FC have been exceptional, losing just three out of 15 games. However, their away form is appalling, as they have registered just three wins in 13 away matches so far.
In the last five away games, Los Angeles FC have lost four and drawn one. Their last win on the road came in the middle of June when they beat Sporting Kansas City courtesy of a 90th-minute winning goal from Carlos Vela.
The match against St. Louis City SC will be a midweek encounter, which means the squad will not get an entire week’s rest. As expected, coach Steven Cherundolo fielded a strong eleven against LA Galaxy this past weekend and got the three points.
However, he will have to look at player fitness and fatigue for the next two games. After St. Louis City, Los Angeles FC will travel to Subaru Park for a crunch encounter against last season’s runners-up Philadelphia Union. Player selection will be key in these two matches.
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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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