Preview (Aug. 2, 2019) — LAFC will be back in work mode this weekend when they travel to face a red-hot New England side. The MLS All-Star game and the accompanying Skills Challenge took place mid-week.
Mark-Anthony Kaye, Diego Rossi, Walker Zimmerman and captain Carlos Vela all represented LAFC during the festivities. The New England Revolution did not see any of their players selected to the All-Star roster this year. However, as this preview will show, all is not bad for a Revolution side that has experienced the league’s best turnaround.
Preview: LAFC visit Revolution side with Eastern Conference still up for grabs
After appointing Bruce Arena as the new head coach as well as sports director, the Revolution have seen an immediate turn in fortune. Unbeaten in their last seven matches, New England host an LAFC side that has seen its struggles as of late. Only six points off the top in the East, this will be a chance for New England to improve their playoff position. Right now, their conference is wide open.
After starting the season on pace to set the worst goal differential in league history, the Revolution made changes at the top. The firing of Brad Friedel, and subsequent hiring of Bruce Arena proved to be the move needed to right the ship. In his 10 matches in charge, the Revolution have a record of 7-2-1 and have gone unbeaten in their last seven.
In addition to winning, the Revolution are playing excellent football, with an attack that’s scored 12 goals in their last four matches. Midfielder Carles Gil has scored in each of the team’s last four matches and provided an assist in four of the last five. Only six points behind in the race for top spot in the East, this will be a huge match at home for New England. They will be looking to take advantage of a hobbled back four for LAFC.
⭐️ 2019 All Star Game ✅ pic.twitter.com/uhSyQDJrjm
— Mark-Anthony Kaye (@MarkThEwizz) August 1, 2019
Health is key for LAFC
The only thing that can stop LAFC at the moment is themselves. As it stands left back El-Munir will miss up to six weeks after surgery to fix a fracture suffered when taking a Zlatan elbow to the face. The young right back Tristan Blackmon is coming back from missing last week’s match against Atlanta due to a quad strain. The aforementioned core will be returning from exhibition action during the week.
While the MLS All-Star game may not be the most competitive, to assume any of those returning will be able to go a full 90 minutes on two days rest — and travel — is unwise. As important as this match is for the Revolution, LAFC maintain a nice cushion at the top of the table. Right now, they can afford to rotate the squad a bit.
"Tomorrow we’re back with the team, we’re trying to work hard and be 1st in the league."
— LAFC (@LAFC) August 1, 2019
Another team to beat
LAFC will once again have a chance to beat an Eastern Conference side they have played before, but have yet to beat. The only time these two met was last season in Los Angeles, in a match that ended in a 1-1 draw. More than revenge, a win on the road will give LAFC more momentum heading into the late stages of the season and into the playoffs. As mentioned before, the last month hasn’t been the greatest in terms of performances for the league leaders. Right now, they’re stringing together two impressive wins can help spark a late season run.
Ready to finish strong 👊
This Saturday we head East to face the @NERevolution.
— LAFC (@LAFC) August 2, 2019
Don’t let the Revolution’s position in the East fool you — this won’t be easy. This is a completely different team to the one we all saw at the beginning of the year. The unknown of how good they can be under Bruce Arena is the scary part. They have been LAFC-like with their production in front of goals. With LAFC coming in with a less-than-healthy defense things could get tense.
Los Angeles has given up a goal in the first ten minutes in each of their last three matches, and that trend looks to continue this weekend. However, even on their worst day LAFC seem to come away with points more times than not. Expect another high scoring match, with the black and gold extending their win streak to two games. Final score, 4-2.