LAFC vs FC Dallas: Preview
LAFC vs FC Dallas: Preview
By: Benjamin Virgen (5/14/2019)
With only two days of training and preparation, LAFC return to Banc of California Stadium this Thursday when they host FC Dallas in the first of two meetings in four days between both clubs. The Black & Gold have been absolutely magnificent when playing at home and although their last result at the Banc was a scoreless draw, the attractive football remains along with five wins in six games. The “scoring drought” ended last week as LAFC put three goals away in Columbus after only scoring twice in their previous four matches and was hopefully the spark the team needed to get back on track. As for Dallas, they are currently on a two-game losing streak but view the match in Los Angeles as an opportunity to regain confidence themselves and what better way to accomplish that than against the best team in MLS. With three games in eight days, it will be interesting to see if Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez makes any rotations in his lineup for tomorrow’s duel considering they will meet LAFC again on Sunday. Nonetheless, it will be a challenge for both sides to play consecutive games in such a short period of time but Thursday’s match is the only one that should be on their minds.
Young But Not Dumb
Over the course of the first couple of months of the season, FC Dallas has been a result-driven team when it comes to how they perform on the field. What do I mean by that? Three of their five victories have come in games where FCD score first and hold on to manage the lead very well. Not only do they score first but they also get ahead early with six goals in the first 15 minutes of play through eleven games and only twice was the opposition able to complete the comeback. If the trend continues, LAFC will need to be extra attentive during the first quarter-hour to prevent any surprise from the visitors. On the contrary, Dallas has not been good at responding after seeing themselves down on the scoreboard. Every time the adversary has been able to score the first goal of the match, FC Dallas has yet to come away with a win as they struggle to fight back when faced with adversity. However, the Toros know a thing or two about coming away with points on the road.
Teams in MLS know how difficult it is to play at Banc of California Stadium with the atmosphere that is created by the 3252 every single home game. The intensity and passion they transmit to the players on the field has resulted in remaining undefeated at the Banc this season. FC Dallas are not intimidated by that statistic. Just a few weeks ago, they walked into Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta filled with 70,000 roaring Atlanta United supporters and came out victorious with a 2-1 result over the defending MLS Cup champions. That antecedent along with the Chicago Fire getting a point from the Banc will surely motivate them to believe a win is in the realm of possibilities.
FC Dallas may not have a superstar like LAFC does in Carlos Vela but the team is composed of young talented players that work hard that use their energy to tire out the opponent. The downside of having such a young group of individuals is the lack of experience in crucial moments of the game. That is where LAFC have the advantage and will to capitalize on potential errors from the visitors.
Home Sweet Home
The Black & Gold are coming into Thursday on a 4-game unbeaten streak and will look to remain undefeated at home this season. Bob Bradley has found a solid starting XI throughout the year with his defense allowing the least amount of goals in the league and the midfield getting involved in the offensive side with assists and goals. With Adama Diomande slowly getting back into game-form and scoring his first goal last week since March, it will be interesting to see if Christian Ramirez’s inconsistent play earns him a seat on the bench and allows Diomande to get the start. Other players returning from injury that are looking to get minutes on the field are Lee Nguyen, Andre Horta and Rodolfo Zelaya. With Latif Blessing playing at a very high level as a center midfielder, having someone like Nguyen as a reserve is quite the luxury.
There are a couple of key points that will play a factor in creating chances for LAFC against FC Dallas. First, the high pressure from the LAFC attackers and midfielders must be intense enough to provoke turnovers or the long ball from the Dallas defenders. FCD does not have much size in their forwards so forcing the long ball will make Eddie Segura and Walker Zimmerman’s job much easier. This will allow LAFC to have more possession of the ball and give players like Eduard Atuesta and Mark-Anthony Kaye to bring up the ball through the middle. Second, Pablo Aranguiz, one of FC Dallas’s Designated Players, is an attacking midfielder that facilitates the offense for his team but lacks defensive effort. If Atuesta can neutralize Aranguiz and position himself in areas to create danger with the ball at his feet, it will allow LAFC to have numbers in attack. Look for Atuesta to play an attacking midfielder role from the defensive midfielder position if that makes any sense.
Carlos Vela scored his 12th goal of the season in as many games last week and will look to continue to solidify his case for league MVP on Thursday with another all-star performance. The captain has put the team on his back and led by example with excellent creativity and producing goals for his club. Diego Rossi has been heavily involved in LAFC’s attack but his accuracy has let him down as of late. Rossi has failed to score a goal in his last six appearances but will look to bounce back in this game. It’s going to be an interesting game between two sides where LAFC wants to create separation in the standings and one is chasing to climb back into the top of the table. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Banc!
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