Preview – The road to history doesn’t get any easier for LAFC. Hosting the first leg of the Quarter-Finals, LAFC go from facing one historically great team, to one top of the league. Cruz Azul currently sit atop Liga MX’s Clausura, winners in their last five league matches. In addition, they have scored at least two goals in each of their last nine matches.
SCCL Preview: LAFC Look to Defend The Banc, Hosting In-Form Cruz Azul
LAFC played to a 3-3 draw against the Philadelphia Union their last time out. After conceding three goals last match, LAFC will be focused on turning The Banc, back into their fortress. With the first leg in Los Angeles, it will be imperative they not only limit goals allowed, but come away with the result.
The Mexican side come to Los Angeles in top form. In addition to having won their last five league matches, they advanced past Portmore, 6-1 on aggregate. Normally playing out of the 4-4-2, most of their recent goal production has come from the left side of their attack. That means the right side of the LAFC midfield and defense, need to be ready for everything coming their way.
Defense Not The Issue?
After a disappointing 2-0 loss to open the season against León, LAFC have held two clean sheets and played to a thrilling 3-3 draw. While it’s easy to blame the defense for conceding three goals, you’d be wrong. Give credit to Philadelphia for finding the chances, but two of the three goals were products of sheer brilliance. The same that LAFC fans revere in Vela, is the same brilliance that came to bite the black and gold last match. Such is sports. However, the defense doesn’t deserve all the blame, as they weren’t outclassed, as much as they were hard done by. Expect the back four to bounce-back, and while a clean-sheet would be surprising, it’s certainly doable with this group.
While they were able to overcome a two goal deficit last round, they’d be better off avoiding that situation this time around. Winning or coming away with the draw is of the utmost importance if they hope to advance. Playing a second-leg in Mexico will be tough enough without taking a multiple goal deficit with you.
With many have their doubts, I have all the confidence in LAFC’s defense. After thorough review of the Union match, it’s clear the defense played levels better than they are receiving credit for. Look for the defense to once again step-up when needed, halting a Cruz Azul attack that is red-hot. LAFC win leg-one, 2-1.