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Toyota Keys To The Match: LAFC vs FC Dallas

LAFC look to make it two from two to open Banc of California Stadium with FC Dallas visiting on Saturday (1pm PT | Univision, Twitter).

Following a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders, LAFC begins a run of three matches in eight days. While the visitors come into Saturday off the back of their first loss of the season.

Just three points separates these two teams in the Western Conference standings, here are the Toyota Keys to the Match:

Defend Well In Transition

FC Dallas has a bevy of attackers that like to hurt teams on the run. Óscar Pareja's side employs a direct style and is most dangerous when they turn teams over before springing attackers running at pace behind defenses.

Defending well in transition depends on two key factors. First, LAFC's defense and midfielders have to be conscientious with the ball in vulnerable places on the pitch. Essentially, don't get caught in possession on the wrong side of the center circle. And second, even when your team is on the ball in the opposition's half, maintain a balanced shape in your starting positions in order to limit odd-man rushes the other way.

Boss The Midfield

In Pareja's 4-4-2, his wingers play particular high and have a tendency of flying up the pitch the moment they sense a turnover. 

The resulting shape is more akin to a 4-2-4, with Jacori Hayes and Victor Ulloa left to hold the midfield. LAFC will need to stay close enough to that duo to apply pressure quickly when they receive the ball. If LAFC midfielders can't win the ball, you want to force sideways and backwards passes at the very worst. If Hayes and Ulloa have time to pick up their heads and find a pass, you could be in serious trouble.

Put In The Work

Losing a center forward with zero goals wouldn't normally be a huge cause of concern for most teams. Then again, most teams don't have Marco Ureña.

This week, Bob Bradley called Ureña one of the most selfless players he had ever worked with, saying his teammates have all recognized many of the best moments this season have come from the Costa Rican's tireless work up top. In order for the likes of Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi to find the spaces to perform their magic, Bradley needs another player willing to harry opposing defenders. Ureña may not have scored this season, but his occupying of defenders and passing resulted in a league-high five assists in seven matches. 

Whether it's Latif Blessing, Rossi, Vela, or a combination of all three, LAFC will need to continue to probe defenses with runs in behind to open gaps towards the FC Dallas goal.

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