Preview – The MLS is Back tournament has not gone the way LAFC had envisioned. The group stage comes to a close for Group F this week. LAFC will face a tough Portland Timbers side that has yet to lose, sitting atop the group. While LAFC have struggled to play with the same dominance we are accustom to seeing, they go into Thursday’s match with a chance to win the group.
LAFC Preview: Group F Comes to a Close Thursday with a Physical Match Against Portland
Portland leave no doubts at how physical a team they are. Both of their previous matches have produced a red card, with plenty of yellow cards. Things get especially chippy when LAFC is on the other side. While LAFC come into the match without Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande, new signing Bradley Wright-Phillips has proven more than capable of providing the goals.
The concern for the Black and Gold will definitely be play in the midfield. losing possession, and lethargic play in midfield is the last thing you want to do against this Timbers side.
Silver Linings for LAFC
Head coach Bob Bradley and his team aren’t too concerned with recent struggles defensively. Considering the slow start to both matches, Bradley was quick to point out, they still don’t offer up many opportunities.
“In matches, we’re still not giving away too many chances” he said. “I want the group always to see that the collective ideas are very good, there are still moments where reactions, decisions, or handling of certain plays can be better.”
It’s obvious the narrative of poor defense is starting to irk the LAFC coach. He isn’t wrong with his assessment, given how bad LAFC have looked, they still have not allowed clear opportunities on goal. Which is what makes Thursday such a critical match for Los Angeles going forward.
Portland is very much a team that, and has, capitalized on every mistake LAFC have made against them. What’s important for LAFC is the confidence they maintain, even with the chips down and odds stacked, they feel like they are still the team to beat.
Word of The Day: Ready
Leave it to Latif Blessing to leave a person smiling throughout a Zoom media call. As the Ghanaian midfielder was as confident as ever heading into the final group match. When asked about the struggles we saw from the midfield last outing, and what they can do to fix them, Blessing kept it simple saying, “Everybody’s ready. The bench is ready. If we put them in, we know they work hard, give good passes. You can see, everybody’s to play.”
That should come as no surprise to anyone who’s followed this team. They are not a reactionary side. They come into every match, feeling like they are the better team, and when you’re the better team, you dictate how the match flows.
LAFC Preview Prediction
It has long been maintained here at Last Word, from this writer at least, that the Portland/LAFC match is second only to El Tráfico, in terms of rivalry and intensity. When these two teams play, it is physical, cards fly, as do bodies, and the match always feels like a grind. A win for LAFC means they win Group F and have a slightly better road to the tournament crown. Which is exactly what will happen, LAFC win a tough one, 3-2.