LAFC Host International Preseason Friendly

It has been three months since the last home game for LAFC at Banc of California Stadium. Fans have been patiently waiting to see the Black & Gold take the field again. The wait comes to an end on Thursday evening when LAFC host Japanese club VisselKobe in an international preseason friendly. This will be the first preseason game open to the public after LAFC obtained a 3-1 win over Toronto on Sunday in a closed-door training match that took place at UC Irvine.

Who is Vissel Kobe?

Vissel Kobe is a club from Japancurrently on a 4-game preseason tour that is already one game in as they were held to a 0-0 draw on Monday night to Columbus Crew at Orange County Park.Thursday night will mark one week since Vissel Kobe arrived in California and set camp in Irvine. For the first time in the history of Japanese football, a team from the J-League is playing in the United States against teams from MLS. However, Vissel Kobe is not your ordinary Japanese club.

World Cup Winners

Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Lukas Podolski all form part of the Japanese side that will be facing LAFC. There is one thing that all three players have in common: a World Cup title. Iniesta and Villa won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 while Podolskiwon the World Cup with Germany in 2014.

In 2010, Iniesta scored the game-winning goal in extra-time to give Spain the World Cup title in the final match vs Netherlands. Villa led Spain with 5 goals in the same tournament and was crowned co-leading scorer. In 2014, Podolski was at the back end of his international career and only played a couple of games during the group stage. However, he still managed to make final roster and be part of the winning team.

All three are the main attractions for Vissel Kobe and soccer fans from all over Los Angeles will be delighted to see their international idols on the pitch of Banc of California Stadium.

Carlos Vela Stays

With all the speculations now over, LAFC captain Carlos Vela has confirmed himself that he will be staying with the club for the 2019 season. After being linked to Barcelona on a 6-month loan, Vela is now fully-focused on preparing himself for the regular season and Thursday night will be the first time we get to see the Mexican international since the transfer rumors.

Vela said some very promising and encouraging words after training on Monday that will get LAFC fans excited for the new season. “I don’t want to leave and I am very happy to be here. I love this city, this club and this league. My goals are to lead my team to a title and to be MLS MVP.” LAFC owner Tom Penn expressed his support for Vela and stated, “We love Carlos, he’s our Messi, the face of our club and he is at his best. He is a world-class player”. The winning mentality of Vela is apparent and hopefully he can translate that on the field by continuing to show the quality footballer he is.

The 3252 Returns

One of the most exciting things about going to an LAFC game atBanc of California Stadium is being able to witness the 3252 in full effect. After a long winter break, the North End is ready to get the Banc rocking again with their incredible energy. I cannot say enough about how important the 3252 support is for the team’s success. There is something about playing in that atmosphere that motivates the players to perform well for LAFC.

The entire North End jumping in unison to “Jump for LA Football Club Ole, Ole!” is probably one of the most epic scenes I can remember seeing at the Banc and it will surely be a trademark for the 3252 for years to come. Just thinking about it gets me pumped for the game.

Players to Watch

Let’s start with Vissel Kobe.

-Andres Iniesta: One of the best players of his generation and one of the greatest midfielders of all-time. The Barcelona legend will look to showcase his world-class abilities against former La Liga opponent Carlos Vela.

-David Villa: One of the best forwards of his generation and one of the best Spanish strikers of all-time. Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer returns to Banc of California Stadium after scoring a goal past Tyler Miller last season with NYCFC.

-Lukas Podolski: One of the best German players of his generation and one of the best finishers of all-time. The former Bundesliga star looks to prove that he still has plenty of good soccer in him.

Next, let’s go with LAFC.

-Carlos Vela: The captain, the brain and the MVP of the team. Vela will look to lead his team to victory in front of the home fans. The left-footed player gets a goal and assists in this one.

-Andre Horta: After scoring a goal in the first preseason match, Horta will look to build off a good performance and prove to Bob Bradley that he is making progress into getting the starting role in the midfield.

-Peter Lee Vassell: The Jamaican international has really impressed during the first week of preseason and fans get to see him play for the first time. The kid seems to have it all and will look to display his qualities in his first game at the Banc.

The result is not as important as the functioning of the team for Bob Bradley. With this being a preseason match and all, there will be many changes from the first half to the second half line-ups. Bradley wants to get the best out of his players during the preseason but will also be smart and only play each player 45 minutes to avoid any early injuries. Both teams are in preseason mode but will do their best to give the fans a quality match.

-Benjamin Virgen

January 29, 2019

Follow me on Twitter @lafcbenjamin to talk soccer, ask questions or send comments. Thank you for reading and Stay Golden!

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