Match Preview

Preview | LAFC vs St. Louis CITY SC 9/20/23

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LAFC vs St. Louis CITY SC

Wednesday, September 20 at 5:30 pm PT

Location: CITYPARK, St. Louis, Missouri

Radio: ESPN LA App, 980 AM La Mera Mera

After a 4-2 win over rival Galaxy on Saturday, LAFC now embarks on a two-game road trip, stopping first at CITYPARK in St. Louis to take on Western Conference leaders St. Louis CITY SC on Wednesday, September 20.

A brace by Denis Bouanga, along with goals from Ryan Hollingshead and Timothy Tillman, helped LAFC defeat the Carson-based club at sold-out BMO Stadium Saturday night. Bouanga’s two goals landed the LAFC forward in a three-way tie atop the Golden Boot race with 14 goals scored, along with Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar and Atlanta’s Giorgos Giakoumakis.

LAFC stands in second place (43 points) in the Western Conference standings, trailing St. Louis CITY SC (49 points) by six points. The reigning MLS champions can close the gap with a win on Wednesday night. And with six games left to play, LAFC has an extra chance to collect points in the days ahead. STL CITY has just five regular-season games remaining.

In their first matchup in July at BMO Stadium, the Black & Gold defeated CITY SC 3-0 thanks to second-half goals from Carlos Vela, Stipe Biuk and José Cifuentes.

CITY SC IN-DEPTH

Led by first-year head coach Bradley Carnell, CITY SC are looking to cap off one of the best inaugural seasons in league history. The expansion club has won 10 of its first 14 regular-season home matches, including its last four in a row. Only the Chicago Fire (13) in 1998 and Atlanta United (11) in 2017 have won more regular-season home games in their first season in MLS.

In its last two games St. Louis has earned two draws, both on the road. The MLS newcomers, who are trying to hang onto the Western Conference’s top seed headed into the MLS Cup playoffs, are led by Goalkeeper of the Year favorite Roman Burki, whose 108 saves lead the league.

THE BLACK & GOLD WILL WIN IF

It can find a way to score first. Whether LAFC breaks the 0-0 deadlock in the 23rd minute (like Bouanga did against the Galaxy) or the 72nd (like Vela’s breakthrough strike against CITY SC on July 12) the game changes drastically, and in the Black & Gold’s favor. Opponents start taking risks. Those risks open up transition opportunities for LAFC, which is where they thrive – and where they find the second goal. And sometimes a third. LAFC’s roster is built to apply pressure, and when that pressure results in a 1-0 lead, the club owns a 17W-1L-3D record in 2023 (across all competitions).

CITY SC CAN WIN IF 

It can ride its home-field energy and prevent the visitors from striking first. CITY SC has lost four games in all competitions since it fell to LAFC in July. It trailed 1-0 in three of those defeats. Saturday in Houston the club trailed the Dynamo by that score until striker João Klauss salvaged a 1-1 draw for St. Louis with a rebound header in the 88th minute. The environment at CITYPARK, where St. Louis owns a 10W-3L-1D record, will make it hard for LAFC to start strong.

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