Sunday, October 25, 2020
12:30 p.m. PT
TV: ABC, ESPN Deportes
Radio: ESPN LA 710AM, ESPN App, KFWB 980 AM
Shorthanded, and on a quick turnaround, the Black & Gold were looking up at a difficult challenge last Sunday night against the Portland Timbers. However, the Club dug deep and found a way to step up to earn a point in the waning minutes of the game, when 16-year-old Christian Torres scored a stoppage time goal to bring the game level 1-1.
“I’m proud of the way the guys kept pushing the game,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “It’s never easy to play here at Portland, but there were some positives that we feel good about.” Up next for LAFC, another date with crosstown rival Galaxy, matches that from a drama perspective never disappoint.
This will now be the fourth meeting between these two rivals in the strange 2020 season, with results to match. Each match has been lopsided, with LAFC taking the first match 6-2 during the MLS is Back Tournament group stage, and Galaxy taking the next two 2-0 and 3-0, respectively. Just short of three years, LAFC’s all-time regular season series record against the Galaxy sits at 1-4-3.
Though the Galaxy have had the better end of the 2020 season series against the Club, the two sides have been on divergent paths otherwise. Galaxy have bettered LAFC twice, though those two wins make up 40% of their total wins on the season (5). Their last match, a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, broke a six-game losing streak to bring their total record to 5-9-3. The Galaxy currently sit last in the Western Conference with 18 points, and must start to put together wins quickly for a shot at a playoff berth.
Amidst the Club’s 15th different starting lineup this season against Portland, with this next match likely producing the 16th, LAFC found a way to produce a point and keep themselves in in strong contention for a top-five spot in the Western Conference table. With four regular season matches to go, LAFC currently sits fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 7-7-4 (25 pts).
The Galaxy of 2020 have looked differently each time they have faced the club. There have been matches where they’ve found no offensive rhythm and have been weak on their backline. There have been times where Christian Pavon has singlehandedly picked apart LAFC. One constant though, is that the Galaxy show up with extra motivation to these games. Their players have shown time and time again, that regardless of what’s going with the rest of their season, they have found a way to kick their game up a notch. Another constant to mention is they’ve found a lot of success on set pieces.
I’LL BE BACK
LAFC has been tested depth-wise all season long, but it appears that for some, the corner is being rounded. Bob Bradley when asked about injury updates gave some insight into some faces one could hope to see Sunday. “I think that Tristan and Carlos are possible for some minutes in this game,” Bradley added. A major step forward for arguably the best player in the league in Carlos Vela and regular starter Tristan Blackmon. Moreover, the four starters away on international duty, Diego Rossi, Brian Rodríguez, Diego Palacios and Josè Cifuentes will be available for Sunday’s matchup. “They’re all available,” Bradley said. “The things that are being weighed on our end is just, as I mentioned, how much they've done in the last three weeks. It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff manages these returns.
LAFC WILL WIN IF… / GALAXY CAN WIN IF…
We’re switching it up again here because these matchups rarely can be pieced together with tactical insight. Of course, tactics and strategy are of the utmost importance, but by nature of their past matchups, it is safe to say that whoever can come out of the gate with the most intensity, motivation, pressure and sharpness can take this match.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT…
- The Black & Gold have yet to take three points from the Galaxy at Banc of California Stadium, we’ll see if that alone provides enough motivation for the match.
- New signing Jesús Murillo, who started last match after never training with the Club, now has a strong week of training under his belt. It will be interesting to see if he’s been able to build further chemistry with his teammates.
- Bob Bradley still remains one win away from tying former Houston and San Jose coach and current Galaxy assistant coach Dominic Kinnear for third in all-time coaching wins. Bradley can surpass Kinnear with two more wins this season that will push him into third place all-time, behind just Sigi Schmid (240 wins) and Bruce Arena (217).