Los Angeles, California (May 15, 2019) — The week ahead for the LAFC will be a trial by fire. Three matches in nine days, a back-to-back against FC Dallas, with two matches in three days, await the league leaders.
The first of the aforementioned back-to-back is tomorrow night, as LAFC play host at The Banc of California Stadium. FC Dallas remain one of several teams LAFC have yet to gain a full three points from.
LAFC start tough run of matches with FC Dallas at home
While on paper LAFC are the favorite, this season has already proven matches like these can be a bit of a trap. Much like the back-to-back earlier in the season with the Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas will be short several players when they travel to Los Angeles. However, with LAFC only conceding four goals at home all season, and Dallas only netting two goals over the last three matches, the hill will be tough to climb for the visitors.
FC Dallas will look to set up defensively, and try to slow down the aggressive LAFC attack. Much like previous matches against the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew, LAFC will need to methodically break down the defense to score. However, Los Angeles themselves enter the match with a league leading defense. They have also proven they have no problem keeping it level until the last second. With two matches in short time, expect the first of the two matches to be a defensive battle.
Class in session.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 14, 2019
Test of depth
The biggest concern for LAFC over the next week and a half will be depth. The lone time this season they played with a rotated squad, it resulted in a 1-0 loss in Vancouver. The good news is Adama Diomande looks to be fully fit. However, given the caution with his return thus far, he could remain a sub with two matches so close together.
As for tomorrow, it is possible a few new faces find their way to the bench. However, it should be the regular starting group for the most part. With the anticipation building for a Zelaya sighting, perhaps tomorrow would be the perfect time to use him as a substitute.
Gathering momentum, again
After a brief goal-scoring slump, LAFC were able to score three in their last match, with two goals coming in the final two minutes. MVP candidate, Carlos Vela, also found himself on the scoresheet again. Already performing at a record setting pace in several categories, LAFC are almost impossible to stop when playing to their ability. FC Dallas come into The Banc losing two and drawing one in their last three matches.
Prediction: LAFC 2, FC Dallas 1
With several games ahead in such a short time, this will definitely prove to be a test for the league leaders. However, in tomorrow’s match in particular, things should go the way of the hosts. Playing at home always gives LAFC an added boost and this should be no different. Of the matches ahead, tomorrow is the best opportunity to see a rout, but given FC Dallas’ style, expect it to be a bit of a grind for all three points. A 2-1 win for LAFC is what I think will be the result in the end, but if the team adopts Vela’s mentality, it could be another rout.