LAFC vs. Sporting Kansas City
MLS 2021 Season - Match Ten
Saturday, June 23, 2021
2:30 p.m. PT
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes
RADIO: ESPN LA 710 AM, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
You could feel it in the atmosphere Wednesday night at Banc of California Stadium. The second-straight full capacity, sellout crowd was going to will the Club to a win no matter the circumstances. The Black & Gold took things into their own hands quickly, as Carlos Vela gave LAFC the lead after just four minutes for his first goal on the season, and provided the assist on Latif Blessing’s second goal that clinched the three points for the home side.
“We’re still improving,” said Vela. “We win one game but we still have to gain rhythm and win a few games in a row. After that we can say that we are back on our level. We have much more to improve so we have to keep working. We still have to build confidence to play better Saturday and I hope we can take another three points.”
As Vela added, there is much more work to be done, but this confidence-boosting win was imperative as the Club looks towards three straight matches on the road.
Next up is Sporting KC, another Western Conference club LAFC has not faced since July 3, 2019. SKC has been on a tear this season, sitting second in the conference with a record of 6-3-2 (20 points). Their offense has been the most effective in the league thus far this season, as they top MLS in goals (20), shots on target (59) and expected goals (22.1).
The regular season matchup between the teams currently sits at 2-2-0, with every game being within a two-goal spread other than their last meeting, a 5-1 victory in LAFC’s favor.
With the Black & Gold looking for their first road win of 2021 on a short turnaround against a top MLS club, this one is sure to be memorable.
SPORTING KC IN-DEPTH
Sporting is a dangerous attacking team driven by striker Dániel Sallói, who is enjoying a breakout year for SKC and is tied for the league lead in combined goals and assist with nine (six goals, three assists). This is a diverse mix of veteran and young players, but so far on the defensive end they have more work to do, as they sit in the middle of the MLS pack as far as goals allowed, having given up 14 goals compared to LAFC’s 10.
GETTING IT GOING OFFENSIVELY
On Wednesday vs. Dallas, the LAFC offense finally caught up to where the Club has been playing defensively for the last three matches. It is no secret when team leader Carlos Vela is his healthy dynamic self, he also levels up everyone around him.
“He was unlucky not to get some other goals, and what we love the most is when Carlos is at his best, when he’s dynamic, when he’s a threat constantly getting into the box, looking for shots, finding the right moment and the slip passes, when he’s a real threat, that’s when our team goes up a few notches,” said LAFC Head Coach Bradley. “That’s when certainly watching our team becomes a little bit more fun, and tonight was in that regard a really good night.”
LAFC WILL WIN IF
The Club can keep Alan Pulido quiet. LAFC has struggled against elite strikers in the past, including Raul Ruidiaz and André-Pierre Gignac to name a few. If the backline can contain the special Mexican striker, LAFC will find success.
SPORTING KC CAN WIN IF
They beat LAFC through the midfield. The Black & Gold can usually control their opponents by working through the midfield, but on a short turnaround, and with potentially new personnel in the lineup due to rotation, if Sporting KC can win in the middle of the pitch, they can find three more points at home.
Inspired by The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976).