It's all California, all the time this week for LAFC.
One week after clinching its spot in the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, the Black & Gold host challengers from within its home state with San Jose at the Banc on Wednesday followed by the Galaxy on Sunday. But knowing they're guaranteed to be vying for MLS Cup come October hasn't satisfied LAFC's desire to win and then win some more this season.
"There's a desire to win every game. How many games do we have left? Nine games. To win all nine games, that's our desire," Bob Bradley told reporters the day before the San Jose match. "And then, playoffs. To win all the playoff games. "And if we lose one? The desire is to respond and then win all the rest of the games after that."
LAFC is perfect in four meetings with the Earthquakes across all competitions - the Black & Gold defeated SJ 5-0 back in March and again 3-1 in a U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match this June. A third victory in 2019 will be a difficult task as Matis Alymeda's squad has continued to impress week over week this season.
Here's the preview of LAFC's midweek match with the San Jose Earthquakes:
LAFC vs San Jose Earthquakes | Aug. 21 at 7:30pm PT
Where To Watch
TV: UniMás, Streaming on Twitter
Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
The Earthquakes have stumbled just slighty as of late. After winning four in a row, Matias Almeyda's team is winless in its last three matches. The trip to Los Angeles is SJ's third away match in a row. The Earthquakes lost both of the previous two away matches by identical 2-1 scorelines.
What The Team Is Saying
Tyler Miller on facing SJ again: "They've really hit a run of form that I think has been difficult to play against for other teams. When we played them early in the season, I think they were still trying to figure themselves out and had a new coach. There was a transition period they hadn't quite overcome yet. I feel this game will be completely different. It's a midweek game, both teams played on the weekend. Both teams have games coming up this weekend as well. We just know they are going to be a tough team to play against. They play a difficult man-on-man style. It's not something we are used to seeing but we know that we're capable of dealing with it and we have the mentality this year that we are capable of grinding out these midweek games."
Bob Bradley on how LAFC has to approach the Earthquakes: "When you play San Jose, it's all about how you find space. We did a great job of it [last time]. But they are also dynamic in attack and good in transition. Some of their best chances came especially in attacking set-pieces for us and they were able to break from defending. That's certainly something we want to do better in this match."
LAFC Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Tyler Miller; Jordan Harvey, Eddie Segura, Tristan Blackmon, Steven Beitashour; Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Latif Blessing; Diego Rossi, Adama Diomande, Carlos Vela.
What To Watch For
Blackmon Slides In: Walker Zimmerman picked up two yellow cards against Real Salt Lake last time out. He'll be suspended for this match. Sliding in as he's done a few times this season is Tristan Blackmon. What's been remarkable about Blackmon this season is the fact there's almost no drop off when he steps into the starting 11. The second-year defender has proven to be a vital part of the squad and can be counted on in big matchups.
Looking Past An Opponent: With the derby on the horizon, a lot of the media's focus has been on... well, focus. Bob Bradley acknowledged that the team is fully aware of the sequence of opponents on its schedule but finished by saying his side respects every team it plays. Against SJ, LAFC needs to be at its best from front to back. Matias Almeyda will have his players primed to battle for every inch of space and go hard into every duel. If LAFC is going to take points off the Earthquakes, they'll have to be keen on the task in front of them on Wednesday night.
Walking The Line: Mark-Anthony Kaye enters Wednesday's match one yellow card away from suspension. If the midfielder is cautioned against San Jose, he'll be forced to miss out on the Galaxy match due to yellow-card accumulation. It's a fine line the all-action midfielder will have to walk against the Earthquakes, although not impossible. Kaye has gone his last four matches without a yellow card.