The last match of a stretch of four in its new home, LAFC welcome New York City FC to Banc of California Stadium on Sunday (5:30pm PT | FS1, FOX Deportes).
Coming into the weekend, both sides sit just one spot adrift of the top of the table in their respective conferences. With LAFC facing it's toughest test at home to date, here are the Toyota Keys to the Match:
Press, But Do It At The Right Times
Patrick Vieira has painstakingly instituted a possession-oriented system at NYCFC over the past two years plus. The result is a City team that likes to keep the ball on the deck, play out the back, and rack up passes all across the pitch.
That being said, they can be forced into an error at the back from time to time. But LAFC will need to pick the right moments to press. If you go chasing a side as disciplined building out of the back as Vieira's, you risk running yourself into the ground or out of position.
Deny Service To David Villa
The 400-goal man still has quality and remains a reference point for NYCFC.
With his technical ability and awareness on the pitch, David Villa can still play around you or get in behind. If he gets time on the ball, he'll find a way to beat you. Denying the Spaniard service also shuts down City's safety valve when they are under pressure at the back. As NY Red Bulls showed in their first goal last week, if you can deny Villa's little layoffs to teammates, you set yourself up with NYCFC in vulnerable situations going forward.
Get Up On Corners
NYCFC aren't the most adept team in the air. And they've capitulated on corners this season. Get the big bodies like Laurent Ciman and Walker Zimmerman in the area, and make City uncomfortable on corners and set pieces with crossing opportunities.