Preview: LAFC (h).
When? Saturday April 3, 4.30 p.m. PT, 7.30 p.m. ET and 00:30 a.m. GMT (1/4).
Where? Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast via MLS Live on ESPN+ and DAZN for residents of the United States, and on Fox 35 Plus and LionNation TV for residents of Central Florida. The game will be broadcast on Premier Sports 2 for us UK folk.
Another week, another game against the western conference. This time the venue is Exploria Stadium, however. Isn't it nice, though? After 2 seasons playing Toronto and Fort Lauderdale every week. It's nice to have a stretch of fixtures against opponents from the west.
LAFC will give Orlando City another stern examination this weekend. On their day they are certainly one of the top teams in MLS. Orlando will be hoping for a similar result to the one they obtained last time they faced a team from the Angel city. So, without further ado, let's get stuck into this one.
I think it's well known what LAFC's style of play is. Nevertheless, if you haven't been following the black and gold over the last few years, they're a very attacking side. And they've continued in the same vein so far this season; they've scored 9 times so far, with an XG of 6.8. They get forward a lot and they're efficient when they do; LAFC rank 2nd for shots on target (figure 1) and 3rd for goals per game (2.3).
Figure 1 shows the top of the leaderboard for shots per game in MLS.
This is a team that gets the ball from back to front very quickly, but they're not a direct team in the traditional 'Sam Allardyce' sense. Not by any means; they currently rank 3rd in MLS for passes per game with 443.5 (figure 2), keeping 58.2% of the play. They're a team that moves the ball around quickly, that pushes up with a high line in an attempt to camp in the opponent's half. They're the perennial protagonists, and Orlando are going to have to be at their best in transition if they hope to come out of this game with a victory.
Figure 2 shows the top of the leaderboard for passes per game in MLS.
LAFC are set to be without Eddie Segura and Erik Dueñas through injury, whilst Franco Escobar is listed as questionable.
Orlando City, on the other hand, according to my latest information, have a full squad to choose from. The only doubt hangs over Michael Halliday who hasn't trained this week. All of the internationals are back and Mauricio Pereyra took part in full training.
This section will be updated with any new information as it comes to light.
Possible starting XI
LAFC have a stacked roster and are off to a flying start, as a result it's difficult to imagine them changing too much against us. As such I think they'll line-up unchanged:
The former Arsenal man has gotten off to a brilliant start this season; he's scored 4 times in the opening 4 games. He has an XG of 2.07, from 9 shots on target which shows you just how clinical he has been. We all know what a creative force he is too; with 4 completed dribbles, 9 key passes, 6 successful crosses and 1 assist. Many people's favourite for the MVP and it's not hard to see why.
LAFC have gotten off to a flyer this season, going 3-1-0 through their first 4 games to move top of the Supporters Shield. LAFC have won their last 2, and head to central Florida in good form.
Orlando City, meanwhile are 2-2-1 through their first 5 games and currently sit 4th in the east following their recent draw in Portland.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Cover image, top player image, b-roll footage and pre-match media availability courtesy of Orlando City SC.