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LAFC vs. FC Dallas

MLS 2021 Season - Match Nine

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

7:30 p.m. PT

TV: Bally’s Sports, Estrella TV

RADIO: ESPN LA 710 AM, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM

Last Saturday night’s match against Houston Dynamo FC had all the hallmarks of an LAFC home match at Banc of California Stadium. A crowd of supporters and fans gathered to tailgate beginning around 9:00 a.m., the 3252 was in full force and for the first time since March 2020, the Black & Gold were playing in front of a full stadium sold-out crowd.

However, in a match that saw too many chances go astray or eaten up by Houston’s goalkeeper Marko Marić, LAFC left one element on the table -- a win.

After a scoreless first half, LAFC took the lead in the 50th minute when Carlos Vela found José Cifuentes with his cross and the Ecuadoran was able to prod the ball over the line from close range, giving LAFC a 1-0 lead.

That lead would last for just eight minutes before the Dynamo equalized on a counterattack on their first shot on goal of the match, a score that ultimately stayed 1-1 to the end.

“There's always a little bit of frustration because we didn't get the three points, but we're just going to look over what small mistakes that we made,” said LAFC midfielder Bryce Duke. “Part of that goal that we got scored on, I lost the ball up top, so I'll take the blame for that. It's just small mistakes that we make and you just need to go into practice and learn from them and then grow as a team and that's always been our game plan. It's not going to change. So, hopefully our next game against Dallas we'll be ready and come out with three points.”

Next up, FC Dallas will be an interesting matchup considering the two intra-conference opponents haven’t met since their 1-1 draw at Toyota Stadium on May 9, 2019.

While LAFC has had a rough start to the 2021 season, Dallas has had it even worse as they currently sit on a 1-2-4 record, good for last place in the Western Conference standings. The all-time regular series matchup, though, sits at an even 1-1-2. Look for LAFC to break out and get a confidence boosting win in this one.

FC DALLAS IN-DEPTH

There is no doubt Dallas has had a tough go of it so far this year. They have had injury troubles of their own and have struggled to create meaningful chances on the attack. They are a club that is highly possession-minded, and similarly to LAFC, look to build through the middle of the pitch with quick passing. They have struggled this year defensively, finding themselves near the top of the league table in expected goals allowed with 13.3 this season.    

CIFU LEVELING UP

This season has seen its fair share of both positives and negatives for LAFC, but one of the brighter spots has been the development of LAFC midfielder Jose Cifuentes. Aside from getting his second goal of the season last match (one more than he had the entirety of last season), LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley was effusive in his praise for the young Ecuadoran.

“Cifu, I think, had his best game,” said Bradley after last Saturday night’s match against Houston. “He was more committed in the game. He found good ways to get forward, had one very good shot from outside the box. I think that he was involved in the game in a lot of good ways, including the goal.”

LAFC WILL WIN IF

The Club can counter press effectively and execute in their opponent’s box. The balance of the game will essentially be decided if LAFC can keep Dallas from building out of the back and then clinically finishing chances that arise from that pressure.

FC DALLAS CAN WIN IF

If their young studs including Ricardo Pepi can outperform LAFC’s young core, they can potentially run away with the match.

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Match poster inspired by Logan's Run (1976).

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