In case you didn't already know, there were two striking reminders last week. Banc of California Stadium is the place to be.
From the world-class performance and historic comeback against León in the Concacaf Champions League to the unbelievable chip scored by Carlos Vela in the season opener, the Banc has already been the site of unforgettable matches to start 2020. So, what's next and can you risk missing it?
On Sunday, LAFC is back in MLS action against the Philadelphia Union.
It's another pivotal week for LAFC's season, as the Union match precedes LAFC's first-leg contest against Cruz Azul in the Concacaf Champions League by four days. Bob Bradley will want his squad to continue its good start to the MLS season while staying in form ahead of the crucial home leg against one of Liga MX's best.
LAFC vs Philadelphia Union | March 8 at 7:30pm PT
Where To Watch
TV: FS1, Fox Deportes
Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
The Union opened the 2020 MLS season on the road against FC Dallas. After an hour of deadlock, Dallas found the opener through Zdenek Ondrasek before Paxton Pomykal sealed the match in stoppage time. Despite the loss, Jim Curtain's team outshot its opponent on the road and controlled much of the early proceedings in the match.
What The Team Is Saying
Bob Bradley on LAFC's approach to facing the Union: "Philadelphia Union is a team that really tries to press. They want ot make the game go fast. They have sort of the Red Bulls' style pressing. Our ability to be smart, find the right ways to play quickly, find ways to play over the top of the press, those are things that become very important in matches against the Union."
Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Kenneth Vermeer; Chiqui Palacios, Eddie Segura, Dejan Jaković, Tristan Blackmon; Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Latif Blessing; Brian Rodríguez, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela.
What To Watch For
Newcomers: Against Inter Miami CF in the opening match of the season, Bob Bradley gave MLS debuts to four players: Kenneth Vermeer, José Cifuentes, Pancho Ginella, and Bryce Duke. With another midweek match ahead, it's likely we'll another all hands on deck approach to this match. Bradley won't be afraid to get minutes from his bench if necessary.
Beating The Press: The way the Philadelphia Union likes to get at opponents high up the pitch was the first thing Bob Bradley referenced when talking about this match. It figures to be a pivotal aspect on Sunday. Inter Miami did a good job of pressing LAFC at times last week but the Black & Gold were smart in the ways they tried to play through the press and the times they won't direct to bypass it. The Union will be a bit more aggressive, so LAFC will have to be even sharper in this match. But the Black & Gold will know if they can think quickly before having the ball at their feet, they'll be able to find space to attack after breaking Philadelphia's first line of pressure.
What Will He Do Next?: MVP, Golden Boot, and the MLS single-season goal record in 2019, and Carlos Vela gives us this right out the gate in 2020.
Just when you think he's reached his peak, he turns it up a notch. Vela was the catalyst of LAFC's comeback against León and secured three points in the season opener. He's leading by example and the only question now is: what will he do next?