With two training matches left to play, we're at that stage where the preseason comes into sharper focus.
Players are going to start going deeper in matches, some even the full 90 minutes. And the starting 11 we'd expect to see when LAFC kicks off the MLS season is coming into view.
On Saturday, LAFC host the San Jose Earthquakes in the penultimate match of preseason. Led by new head coach Matias Almeyda, the Quakes are looking to plot a vastly different course than their league-worst four-win season of 2018. Here's a look a quick look at what to expect from Saturday:
LAFC vs San Jose Earthquakes
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The Quakes have spent this preseason in Cancun. And according to reports, if you're thinking vacation, you'd be wrong. Matias Almeyda has been drilling his team with double sessions to prepare for the start of 2019.
What The Team Is Saying
Bob Bradley on what to expect from the new look Earthquakes: "In the league in the last few years, different coaches come from different parts of the world. And tactically teams take on different identities... Matias Almeyda will be interesting for us. At Chivas, his team had very much a Bielsa, 1-to-1 type defending, where they disrupted other teams and really made it difficult for teams to find any kind of attacking fluidity."
What To Watch For
Preferred 11 Coming Into Focus: The time for experimentation is coming to an end in preseason. With just two matches remaining, the likelihood we see Bob Bradley's preferred starting 11 to start the season is high. In addition to getting an idea who might be on the pitch when LAFC open the season against Sporting KC, we're also likely to see a shorter bench, More players will go 90 minutes on Saturday, which means fewer substitutions and, hopefully, more continuity throughout the match.
New Look Earthquakes: The influx of coaches from around the world as of late has produced a variety of styles and philosophies across MLS. Gone are the days of so many teams playing the same formations, the same way, and with the same mentality. Matias Almeyda is known as coach the preaches a certain culture and expects his players to buy-in to an energetic, combative style. Expect the Quakes to be flying around the pitch in an attempt to limit space and time on the ball. It's a strategy that teams can wilt under if they aren't prepared to play with the opponent harrying their every move and refusing to give an inch of extra space. In other words, it's a great test for LAFC's confidence and cohesion in possession with the regular season around the corner.