After our recent 1-1 draw with Minnesota, Dallas gets another bite at the cherry on Wednesday night when we meet LAFC for the first time this season. The Black and Gold are similarly coming off a 1-1 draw after trading goals with Houston on Saturday, and Bob Bradley’s team has also spent time at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Steve Zakuani recently referred to LA as an increasingly desperate team. Just like FC Dallas. LAFC currently sits in 9th place on nine points from eight matches - meaning one win could easily lift us out of the cellar. Fingers crossed.
LAFC Recent Results
Despite many pre-season predictions of a return to greatness (mine included), LAFC has struggled. After missing most of 2020, Carlos Vela is slowly returning from injury. Diego Rossi carried the team for much of last year, and with three goals in 2021... well, they need more from him.
There are no secrets about what Bradley’s men will attempt to do. Playing in a 4-3-3, expect that they will move the ball forward quickly to Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. Midfielders Eduardo Atuesta and Mark-Anthony Kaye have been dominant in recent years. Cifuentes has been played well (he scored LA’s lone goal against Houston). The backline that had been questionable a year ago has been reinforced. But the offense has sputtered.
|1955||Passes in the Offensive Half||1230|
Keys to the Match:
1) Carlos Vela - In two of the last three matches, Vela has played approximately 60-65 minutes. Like Dallas, LA also played on Saturday and will play again this weekend (SKC). Expect that Vela will play limited minutes (and we shouldn’t be surprised if Bradley rotates more than usual), and if that is the case their offense has struggled to create chances with him off the field despite controlling possession.
2) While Dallas has completed nearly as many passes as LA (3134 to 3253), Bradley’s team has completed more than 700 more passes in the offensive half. They control possession with their movement and quick passes... but ultimately they have not been significantly more successful than Dallas. Indeed, their match against Houston emphasized that possession alone does not win games. Despite Vela and Rossi’s continued residence in southern California, this is not the dominant team of 2019. Again, even as they have controlled matches and limited opportunities, LA has notably coughed up goals late in matches. Against Houston, LA won the xG battle 2.4 to .2 - but the game was a draw. As long as Dallas can weather the pressure, they will have opportunities.
3) In a league with so much parity, limiting mistakes is essential. We can’t expect Jimmy Maurer to plug all the holes in the dam every week. Hopefully, after getting his feet wet in MLS, Facundo Quingon can shield the backline.
Diego Rossi – Corey Baird – Carlos Vela
Mark-Anthoney Kaye – Eduard Atuesta – Jose Cifuentes
Marco Farfan – Eddie Segura – Jesus Murillo – Tristan Blackmon