Preview: LAFC visiting revamped Providence Park in first home match for Portland

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LOS ANGELES, CA — MAY 24: Tristan Blackmon #27 of Los Angeles FC celebrates his goal during Los Angeles FC's MLS match against Montreal Impact at the Banc of California Stadium on May 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles FC won the match 4-2. (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images).

Los Angeles, California (May 31, 2019) — Los Angeles FC begin their three-match road trip this weekend. They will be the first MLS team to play visitor in Portland’s revamped Providence Park. After 12 matches on the road to open the season, the Timbers finally get to play in front of home fans.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles have gone unbeaten in their last seven matches, with three clean sheets.

LAFC look to play spoiler in Timber’s first home match

The Portland Timbers, for their part, have gone 4-2-1, in their last seven matches. In addition, the Timbers have not conceded more than one goal, in each of their last six matches. LAFC will look to test this new found defensive efforts, having scored 10 goals in their last four matches. Both teams have won two in their last four meetings, so this weekend serves as a temporary rubber match.

Three Things

Overcoming the atmosphere

With this being the first home match for the Timbers of the 2019 season, atmosphere will obviously help the home side. Playing on the road for so long has no doubt made Portland hungry not only return home, but put on a show. However, LAFC can, and often do, score early. Netting an early goal will not only quiet the, sure to be, energetic crowd, but will also provide a boost for the visitors. Expect both teams to come out aggressive to get on the score sheet first.

Getting Physical

To say these two teams don’t like each other would be an understatement. While there may not be an outward, and obvious rivalry, things tend to get passionate rather fast when theses two teams take the pitch. Every single time they have met, there have been at least four combined yellow cards. LAFC are not ones to shy away from physicality, and have already proven earlier this season, they will dish it as well as they take it. The last time they shared a pitch, a total of six yellow cards shown, with Diego Chara receiving two and a sending off. This weekend should be no different so expect some fireworks.

On the offensive

As previously mentioned, LAFC have scored an incredible 10 goals in their last four matches. Carlos Vela has scored in each game through the same span, bringing his total to 15 on the season. Just when you think this may be close to reaching their peak, they continue to climb ever higher. They themselves will be the first to tell you, this is only the beginning. Stopping LAFC has been far easier said than done this season, and it will take more than excitement to be back home, to keep them from the back of the net.

Prediction

While a home opener typically provides a sense of advantage for the home side, having one this late in the season voids such affect. LAFC are in mid-season form, playing the best football in the league at the moment. Having scored four in their previous meeting, expect more of the same this time around. With plenty of LAFC supporters making the trip North, Timbers will have a much more different house warming party than expected. LAFC should come away with the full three points, 2-0.

 

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