LAFC vs Alajuelense Predictions and Best Odds for March 9th, 2023

lafc vs alajuelense

PREVIEW – Los Angeles FC kickoff their 2023 Concacaf Champions League run tonight at 7:00 PM PT against L.D. Alajuelense of Costa Rica at Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto. The second leg will be back in Los Angeles next week on March 15. LAFC had their opening game at the Rose Bowl postponed, so they’ve played just one competitive game so far, a 3-2 win against Portland Timbers. Can the defending MLS Cup Champions avoid a slip up against Alajuelense and make a run at CCL?

LAFC vs Alajuelense Predictions for March 9th, 2023

How LAFC Qualified

LAFC qualified for Champions League as both the 2022 MLS Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup Champion. This is their second time in Champions League. Off winning the Shield in their second season, they made the final of the truncated 2020 iteration of the tournament, losing to 2-1 after taking the lead in the 61st minute. The 2022 LAFC team is one of the best in MLS history. They were star-studded with Carlos Vela and Cristian Arango up top. Their midfield had now World Cup veteran Kellyn Acosta and José Cifuentes. They bolstered their team in the summer with Giorgio Chiellini and the now retired Gareth Bale. They didn’t get raided by Europe this winter and other than Arango’s departure, they’re as good as last year. This team could be the start of a dynasty if they can win Champions League. The lack of experience in the normal version of this tournament could be a concern. COVID-19 impacted the quarterfinals and beyond in 2020.

How L.D. Alajuelense Qualified

Alajuelense are into the knockout stage via finishing runner up in the 2022 Concacaf League. The lost to C.D. Olimpia in the final on aggregate 5-4. They are normally one of the powers in the Costa Rican Primera Division along with Deportivo Saprissa. Los Leones are currently top of the table with Saprissa just two points back in the Clausura. Most of their team is from Central America. MLS fans should know their captain, Giancarlo González, long time center back for Los Ticos. He also spent a few years with the LA Galaxy. Midfielder Alexander López was with the Houston Dynamo a decade ago as well. Johan Venegas is their main goal scorer. This is a typical team one can see quality for CCL out of Central America, but should be considered cannon foder for a top MLS or Mexican side.

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LAFC have played just one competitive game in 2023 while Alajuelense are in midseason. The MLS side got out to a 3-0 lead on Portland over the weekend within 52 minutes but gave up two sloppy goals to make it a close game. They are at home to New England Revolution this weekend, limiting their travel this week. Road fixture on a less than ideal surface as well, knowing they’ll come home for the second leg and be favorited to win by multiple goals. Can LAFC deal with that environment given its been years since they’ve been in CCL? Should they play a bit more conservatively given the circumstances?

Alajuelense are flying high in league play. They’ve won five of their last six games, with just one loss and two draws in 11 matches this calendar year. Venegas is scoring goals left and right with five in his last two games. Expect them to go for it in this leg to try and get a lead on aggregate to take to United States. Have to imagine they press even harder if LAFC rotates the squad and doesn’t play some of their bigger stars, especially in attack.

LAFC vs Alajuelense Predictions and Best Odds

If LAFC approaches this pragmatically, expect a draw or more likely and close Alajuelense win. Can’t see Steve Cherundolo running Vela and Dénis Bouanga out there for 90 minutes. Venegas scores in a tight physical game as Alajuelense win 1-0. Fully expect LAFC to win the round with a wide aggregate margin after the second leg.

Not many betting outlets have betting on Concacaf Champions League but FanDuel as a home win +180, a draw at +230, and an LAFC win at +135. Might want to wait till LAFC announces their lineups before placing a bet.

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