Los Angeles, California (May 9, 2019) — LAFC Preview: It was never going to last. The excitement for the start of a new season was always going to fade away eventually. The laser focus, swag that seeped throughout the entire organization and feeling of being untouchable was all going to end at some point.
LAFC Preview: Los Angeles look to bring shooting boots on road trip
And it has.
This isn’t to say that LAFC are now vulnerable, susceptible to more mistakes and on the verge of falling apart. However, it does signal the shift in the season.
The honeymoon period for 2019 has ended and now LAFC are in the thick of the regular season grind. As a whole, they know the goal is MLS Cup, they know they have a team that can beat anyone in the league. For a lot of title contenders the regular season can be a bit boring.
However, this is the time in a season that becomes the most important. It will always be easy to motivate yourselves for a rivalry match against the Galaxy. Or to avenge a poor performance. But what about those midweek trips to Canada? Or a match against a Columbus Crew you have no history with?
Make or Miss
This is the part of the article where I wax poetic with analytics and numbers, overwhelming your eyes with percentages, match form and times of possessions, compared with shots on goals.
However, this time around will be different. The biggest concern for LAFC as of late has been the inability to finish. Creating chances has been easy for Los Angeles and the strikers are finding the space they need for opportunities. It appears, for at least the moment, it is easier said than done. However, LAFC just need to finish their chances, and they will be back to early season form.
Watch Joseph's full experience with #LAFC
— LAFC (@LAFC) May 9, 2019
In a time of sports where it is more trendy to dish out blame, instead of credit, sometimes it’s the opposition improving and not so much a problem with the squad. All teams review film and study one another, so it should stand to reason that opponents have begun to find a blueprint to slowing down LAFC.
Chicago Fire played one of the better defensive games against LAFC this past weekend. Making several critical stops along the goal line, as well as setting up defensively as to stifle the width Los Angeles typically like to play with. This weekend will prove another tough road test when they face the Columbus Crew, who were able to not only slow down an in-form Galaxy attack, but also net three of their own.
If your offense is in the midst of a lull, the last thing you want is your defense following suit. Luckily for LAFC, they maintain the best defense in the league and have shown little weakness at the back. Having allowed only three goals over the last seven matches, this defense will once again be tested on the road. While the Crew may not be the biggest threat in attack, they are coming off a 3-1 win and would enjoy nothing more than downing another Los Angeles team en route to avenging a loss of their own.
“We’re disappointed on days we don’t score goals because we think we are capable of putting goals on the board every game."
Bob Bradley is ready to bounce back ?
— LAFC (@LAFC) May 8, 2019
The Columbus Crew are trying to turn the tides.
Having lost five of their last six matches, the Crew are coming off an impressive 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night. Gyasi Zardes led an attack that mirrored the one from earlier this season, as he scored a goal and assisted another.
For LAFC, defense will key. If they should have another night where shots just don’t go in, they will need to be on their toes defensively given Crew’s ability to break on the counter. If Los Angeles finish even a fraction more of their chances, it could be a rout early, but should LAFC struggle to find the back of the net, the Crew could make it a sweep of Los Angeles teams in Columbus.