The first competitive match for LAFC in 2020 is massive. The Black & Gold play in an international competition for the first time in Club history and they do it on the road against one of Liga MX's best in León.
The two sides meet Tuesday in León to kick off the home and away tie. With LAFC having the luxury of returning to Banc of California Stadium in the second leg, Bob Bradley's team will be hoping to set themselves up with a good result in Mexico.
Away goals are in effect for this round of the Concacaf Champions League and the team with the best aggregate score after both legs goes through to the quarterfinals. Here are the Toyota Keys to the Match for LAFC's away leg against León:
Get The First Goal
León have scored nine times in three home matches to start the 2020 Clausura season. With no shortage of confidence around the Estadio León, you can count on the home side to come out flying.
It's already being reported this match is sold out. The home side will have ample support, making the first goal pivotal in this match. If LAFC can find a way to stifle the León supporters with the first tally on the scoresheet, they greatly increase their likelihood of leaving Mexico with a positive result. But conversely, you have to think León finding the first goal would only be a precursor to more for the home side.
LAFC has to be focused early and can't waste chances. Executing in the final third might be the only way to stifle León at the other end of the pitch.
Don't Be Careless
Errors find a way of being punished quickly in these competitions. With León fielding a quintet of dangerous attackers, the home side is able to quickly turn defense into attack anywhere on the field. LAFC can't do them any favors.
A lot of that burden is going to fall on Bob Bradley's midfield. The trio will need to be precise with its passes forward and not make mistakes when the team is unbalanced. Positionally, the midfield has to find space to push LAFC forward but stay connected to prevent León playing through the team.
Set Piece Discipline
Set pieces can make or break you.
Away goals are in effect for this round. Over the course of 180 minutes, you might need a bit of luck. A set-piece goal might be that difference.
That goes for both sides of the ball though. León has the technical quality to force errors. Don't get caught needing to lunge into a tackle in bad areas. The best way to not give up set-piece goals is by not conceding the free kick in the first place. But there will be times LAFC needs to defend. Players have to be diligent in their assignments and not afraid to make a play by any means necessary to get the team out of danger.