LAFC enjoyed midweek success in its first U.S. Open Cup match, going through to the Round of 16 via a 2-0 victory over Fresno FC. But winless in the last four matches in MLS, the Club travels north in search of points as it takes on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday (YouTube TV, UniMás 46 | June 9 at 7:30 PT).
A World Cup mini-break is in effective after this match, so Bob Bradley and co. will be looking to step away for a bit on a high note. Here's a look at LAFC's trip to San Jose:
Where To Watch/Listen:
LAFC at San Jose Earthquakes, June 9 at 7:30p
TV: YouTube TV, UniMás 46
Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
Like LAFC, the Earthquakes are winless in the last four matches, albeit their run of three losses on the bounce is a bit more dire. The Quakes fell in Chicago 2-1 last week, and dropped all three points against D.C. United 3-1 last time they played in front of the home crowd at Avaya Stadium.
What The Players Are Saying
Mark-Anthony Kaye on bouncing back from the loss in Dallas: "I think we got off track a little bit in that game, and we started to do individual things. We weren't working collectively as a group to maximize the opportunities that we had. It's not like we didn't create any chances. Yes, the heat is a factor 100 percent. At the end of the day, you can still play your football. So, I think we strayed a little bit away from that, but we need to understand that we need to stay to that every game."
Steven Beitashour on the dangers San Jose's forwards present: "Bob has mentioned before that when we have the ball we're aware of their attacking threat and we stay sharp on the offensive marking. It's similar to most teams that we've played. I think it's more obvious at home, teams really sit back and try to counter on us. I'm assuming going into San Jose, in front of their home crowd, they want to play and try to come at us. It'll be a good tactical matchup for us and for them. If we continue to do things the we know we're good at, then we'll be successful."
LAFC Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Tyler Miller; João Moutinho, Walker Zimmerman, Dejan Jaković, Steven Beitashour; Eduard Atuesta, Benny Feilhaber, Mark-Anthony Kaye; Diego Rossi, Adama Diomande, Latif Blessing.
What To Watch For
Will There Be Goals?: Both sides have failed to score multiple goals in each of the last three matches. During that time, LAFC has taken just one point, while San Jose has zero. The Black & Gold are second in MLS in shots per match, but haven't made the most of advantages they've created in the offensive third of the field over the past couple of weeks. The first goal becomes that much more vital in this match.
Dominating Possession: The Earthquakes are not a possession oriented team. Despite having the technical ability of Valeri Qazaishvili in the center of the park, the preferred approach for San Jose is to bypass the midfield with direct balls to the forwards. At home, the Earthquakes are 16th in average possession percentage. LAFC on the other hand, love having the ball at their feet (they're 5th in possession percentage on the road). Look for the midfield trio of Benny Feilhaber, Mark-Anthony Kaye, and Eduard Atuesta to drive play in this match. The Black & Gold are at their best when they are able to work combinations in midfield to free up spaces for their attackers to dart into. If San Jose concedes too much possession, LAFC will be all too happy to probe and prod at the Earthquakes defense.
Danger Over The Top: While San Jose isn't going to pass anyone off the pitch anytime soon, they do have the ability to make you pay if you aren't careful. Forwards Danny Hoesen and Chris Wondolowski have no problems receiving long balls over the top and going right at defenders. The size of both players means they can body center backs if necessary, and when they get isolated on smaller fullbacks, they feast. Hoeson already has seven goals this season, while Wondolowski has a stellar record of scoring in this league. Even with superior possession, LAFC will have to be conscious of positioning when they push up the field, and do their best to deny service to the two up top whenever possible to keep San Jose firmly in their own end.