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Next stretch of games could prove vital for LAFC

Black-and-Gold have three matches in 10 days during busy month.

MLS: FC Dallas at Los Angeles FC
Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) moves the ball against FC Dallas during the second half at Banc of California Stadium. 
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The next 10 days could show exactly what kind of team Los Angeles Football Club really is.

Over that span, LAFC will have three matches, starting with Wednesday’s clash with Minnesota United. Two of the next three games will be at home, which could prove to be a factor.

And two of their next opponents are in the top five of their respective divisions, meaning there are no cakewalks either.

LAFC will start against a Minnesota team that is one of only two teams in MLS without a draw. Minnesota sits fifth in the Western Conference, four points back of the Black-and-Gold with LAFC having a game in hand. You can read Ryan’s preview of the match here.

And, the Loons appear more than ready for LAFC.

“They have some class players that we are going to watch out for, but it is a challenge we are more than up for,” defender Michael Boxall said on Minnesota United’s website. “It helps that we are going to have a consistent back four again. We’re going to have the same unit with Bobby [Shuttleworth] behind us. The team is feeling good and playing well. There is no reason we can’t look to pick up another three points on Wednesday night.”

Then, LAFC has perhaps their toughest matchup outside of the state of Georgia when they welcome New York City FC to Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.

Manchester City Jr. is second in the Eastern Conference, two points back of the aforementioned Atlanta United. They have won four of their last six and sandwiched in a 2-2 draw at Atlanta two weeks ago. NYCFC will also have the benefit of extra rest as they don’t have a midweek game this week like LAFC.

MLS: FC Dallas at Los Angeles FC
Los Angeles FC goalkeeper Tyler Miller (1) defends the goal against FC Dallas during the first half at Banc of California Stadium.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

But, their lone loss in that six-game stretch was a 3-0 pasting at the hands of Portland Timbers who are seventh in the Western Conference and currently have a minus-1 goal differential.

The LAFC stretch concludes with a road trip to Portland. The Timbers have won three straight heading into this weekend’s home clash with Seattle Sounders FC. They also don’t have a midweek game this week or next.

LAFC will continue to be without the services of forward Marco Ureña, who will be out at least through the month of May, nursing a facial fracture. Carlos Vela has been moved up in the formation to fill Ureña’s role.

But, even with that firepower, LAFC’s vaunted offense has scored just two goals in the last two matches since their 5-3 come-from-behind thrashing of Montreal Impact.

In those last two games – against Seattle and FC Dallas – LAFC has relied on goals from defender Laurent Ciman (in the last seconds of the game) and fellow defender Steven Beitashour. Beitashour’s goal came in the 9th minute against Dallas meaning LAFC hasn’t managed a goal in 81 minutes – which is pretty unusual from a team that has found the back of the net 18 times in eight games.

So, without Ureña the offense was a little stagnant in the first match, which could prove problematic as the Black-and-Gold enter this crucial stretch. Defensively, LAFC has allowed 14 goals on the season which is in the middle of the pack in MLS. However, you have to consider that five of those goals game in one game against Atlanta and another three came against Montreal. Take those out and LAFC is averaging giving up just one goal a game.

Will the next three games make or break the season? No. But, it could go a long way in defining just how this team will be for the rest of the season.

What do you think? Post your comment below!