LAFC vs. Houston Dynamo FC
MLS 2021 Season - Match Three
Saturday, May 1, 2021
12:30 p.m. PT
TV: Univision, TUDN, Twitter
RADIO: ESPN LA 1110 AM, ESPN App, KFWB 980 AM
The Black & Gold have only played two matches in 2021, but the Club has already had to face adversity in the young season.
For the second-straight match on April 24 vs. Seattle, LAFC faced an opponent for the majority of play without star forwards Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, who were sidelined with injuries, while also missing starting defender Tristan Blackmon, who was out as a result of health and safety protocols.
These challenges have brought early opportunities to test LAFC’s depth. Newcomer Marco Farfan stepped in for Blackmon, earning his first start for the Club and praise from LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley.
“Marco [Farfan] did a good job,” Bradley said after the 1-1 tie with the Sounders. “He’s shown us in training that he picks up ideas, trains in a really good way, competes,”
19-year-old Mahala Opoku earned his first start of the season April 24 vs. Seattle and drew an early foul that led to LAFC’s lone goal of the night, a free kick that Eduard Atuesta rolled under Seattle’s wall, breaking the Club record for fastest goal scored just a 1:25 into the match.
“It was a hard-fought game. I liked our mentality. I felt that the concentration to really stay in the game against a good team was at a high level,” Bradley said. “I thought we had opportunities in the second-half, had we been able to be a little sharper with the final pass or sometimes our crossing. So, some little things when we get around the box where we just weren’t good enough, creative enough, sharp enough, but overall, it’s a hard game and I still think we came through it with some positives.”
Next up, LAFC travels to Houston on May 1 for its first road match of the year against the Dynamo, a side that has never defeated the Black & Gold in the regular season. Houston faltered in their last match against Portland, they opened the season with a 2-1 victory over San Jose and have surging players like Canadian newcomer Tyler Pasher itching to make a statement.
Houston is a squad that looks a little different than the team that LAFC faced last year. They don’t press as high up on the pitch, but they do still counter-press heavily when they lose possession, a strategy that can cause opponents trouble if they don’t take proper care of the ball. They also have a new winger from USL’s Indy Eleven in Canadian Tyler Pasher, who has been incredibly dangerous in their first two matches.
In a difficult 2020, LAFC faced perhaps their most difficulty on the road. In eight matches away from the Banc, LAFC only earned one road victory – a 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Oct. 4. LAFC finished 2020 with a 1-1-6 road record.
In 2019, LAFC led MLS in road victories with 8, en route to an overall 8-6-3 road record.
LAFC WILL WIN IF
All signs point to forward Diego Rossi returning for this match. If he can get back to his high-scoring ways, especially vs. the Dynamo who he has scored a total of 7 goals against, the LAFC can ride one of the most talented players on the pitch to a win.
HOUSTON CAN WIN IF
They can get the ball to midfielder Memo Rodriguez in space. Tyler Pasher has a knack for using his speed to find himself behind defenders, and if Rodriguez can take time to slip him balls forward, this will cause some difficulties for the LAFC backline.