Just two home matches remain in LAFC's inaugural regular season. The first Friday match in Banc of California Stadium history is this week with the Houston Dynamo in town.
LAFC rose to the challenge in Colorado last week after a disappointing performance in Chicago. A 3-0 victory secured a playoff berth in the Club's inaugural season.
With three matches remaining, the Black & Gold are level on points with second place Sporting KC but are a spot lower by virtue of goal differential. LAFC's sights are set on the conference's top two spots and a first-round bye in the playoffs. They know only maximum points during these final two matches at home will get them to that goal.
Let's take a look Friday's contest between LAFC and the Dynamo:
Where To Watch
LAFC vs Houston Dynamo, Friday 10/12 at 7pm PT
TV: YouTube TV (prematch show begins at 6:30pm), UniMás 46
Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
The Dynamo head to LA having already played this week. A 4-1 loss away from home against the Sounders put an end to Houston's MLS Cup hopes. Despite capturing the U.S. Open Cup just a few weeks ago with a 3-0 victory over Philadelphia, the Dynamo have been eliminated from playoff contention in 2018.
What The Players Are Saying
Diego Rossi on what to expect from Houston: "They are going to play quick. They have a lot of guys that have speed. We are going to play our football and we are going to win this game with our ideas."
Benny Feilhaber lays out the what's at stake in the final matches: "Even before you get to the playoffs, towards the end of the season, the points tend to feel like they are more valuable. So as much as three points at the end of the season means the same as three points at the beginning of the season, now its one out of three games left or four games left or even two. The amount of points available is less and less. So it almost becomes playoff games whether you fighting to get in the playoffs or for the one or two seed or get a home playoff game, the opportunity to pick up points are less and less. It just feels like we're already in the playoffs."
LAFC Expected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1): Tyler Miller; Jordan Harvey, Walker Zimmerman, Danilo Silva, Steven Beitashour; Benny Feilhaber, Lee Nguyen; Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, Aaron Kovar; Adama Diomande.
What To Watch For
Looking For Revenge: More than a handful of LAFC players said this week they were still upset about their Open Cup semifinal loss to Houston back in August. Watching the Dynamo lift the Open Cup a few weeks back didn't alleviate any of that bitterness, either. Couple that with LAFC's jockeying for playoff positioning and the Dynamo's last-minute comeback when these two teams met in Houston during regular-season play, and the players have more than enough motivation come Friday.
Shutting Down Opponents: In Colorado, Tyler Miller earned his 10th shutout of the season. The LAFC goalkeeper is now tied for second in MLS in that category. From a team perspective, LAFC has shutout their opponent's at home in three of the last four matches at Banc of California Stadium. Only three teams have more shutouts this season than LAFC. On the other side of the pitch, Houston has scored just three times in their last five away matches combined.
Scoring In Bunches: Adama Diomande bagged a brace against Colorado in LAFC's last match. The goals broke Diomande's nearly three-month drought in the goals department. During that time, the striker did struggle with injuries. Diomande missed five matches between Aug. 11 - Sept. 15. Fully fit, we know the striker likes to score in bunches. He had a run of nine goals in six matches before he went dry the last time. Could the floodgates be open once again?