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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting LAFC 🔎
LAFC is coming off a tough home loss last weekend to Vancouver.
After being off for a week, FC Dallas is back in action this weekend as they host LAFC.
The defending MLS Cup champions are coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss last weekend at home against Vancouver. They’re currently tied for 1st in the Western Conference with St. Louis with 32 points.
Let’s dive into LAFC to see how FC Dallas can steal away three points at home.
Key Player: Denis Bouanga
The newly named 2023 MLS All-Star has been impressive in 2023. He’s currently second in goals scored in MLS this season, with one against FC Dallas in the previous meeting between the two clubs. Limiting what he can do in and around the penalty box is key, as his average scoring distance is 13 yards.
Key Matchup: Bouanga vs Nkosi Tafari
Limiting his space in the penalty box is key for Tafari and the FC Dallas defense. Any inch given up to Bouanga and Carlos Vela will likely punish FCD.
Tired legs: Across all competitions, LAFC has traveled over 33,000 miles this season for 25 games.
Rarely gives up an early goal: LAFC conceded a goal in the 2’ against Vancouver. The strike posts as the fifth-quickest goal allowed by the Black & Gold in club history.
Still stout on defense: Through 18 games, LAFC has only given up 19 goals, which is fourth best in MLS. They’re also fourth in MLS in terms of allowing the fewest amount of passes in their defensive third of the field.
International duty: Aaron Long (United States)
Steve Cherundolo only has to deal with one key player being out for this one, so he’ll have as close to a first-choice lineup as possible on Saturday:
McCarthy; Hollingshead, Sanchez, Maldondo, Palencia; Acosta, Tillman, Cifuentes; Buik, Bouanga, Vela
Keys To Three Points over LAFC
Control the tempo - It will be hot on Saturday, even at 730 pm when this game kicks off. LAFC isn’t used to this kind of weather, nor do they train in it daily like FC Dallas. So controlling the tempo and pace of this game will be key for FC Dallas. Force LAFC to chase the game a bit and get worn out in the heat by picking the right moments to attack.
Keep it simple in the back - Last week in Austin was about as ugly as it could get in terms of mistakes and giveaways in the back. Austin pounced on them and made FCD pay dearly for it with a 3-0 score. LAFC has an even better attack than Austin and will punish you if you give up easy passes in and out of the back.
Velasco steps up - We were hoping to see this last week in Austin, but given the lack of attacking options right now for FC Dallas, that didn’t happen. This week we really do need more out of Alan Velasco. It is time for him to step into a role where he carries the offense and gets the team out of his slump.