Where: MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio.
When: Saturday, May 11, 4:30 pm PT
How to Watch: YouTube TV, KVMD in Los Angeles viewing region; ESPN+ in the rest of the United States.
Los Angeles Football Club, after their second draw in two matches, most recently to the Chicago Fire at home, will look to resume their early-season winning ways as they hit the road to take on Caleb Porter’s Columbus Crew SC. While LAFC drew Chicago at 0-0 on Saturday, Columbus lost 3-1 in the nation’s capital to D.C. United. They had the chance, however, to rebound mid-week, which they did with a 3-1 win of their own over the Galaxy at home.
LAFC, despite their draws to the Fire and Sounders the past couple weeks, sit on top of the Western Conference with 24 points, two points ahead of the Galaxy, which is also good for best in MLS. They have a 7-3-1 record on the year, and their 26 goals are the best in the league, five ahead of the Philadelphia Union. Columbus, meanwhile, is fifth in the East with 16 points, level with Toronto, with a 5-1-6 record. They have 12 goals to their name, four coming from Gyasi Zardes.
As they go back on the road, LAFC’s road form is something to keep an eye on: the Black-and-Gold are 9-4-10 on the road since the start of last season. The other Black and Gold, Columbus, has 16 wins at home since the start of last season, with six draws and four losses. The two teams have met just once before, last season on June 23. LAFC won that match 2-0 with goals from Laurent Ciman and Adama Diomande, both within the first ten minutes of the game.
Heading into this match, LAFC appears to be the favorite. It would be more clear-cut if it was not for the draw against Chicago: a road loss to Vancouver happens in this league, and a draw on the road to Seattle, whom they had just played six days before, is understandable. But the draw to Chicago is a bit more concerning, until LAFC can put it behind them with a win. Columbus, while not the best team in the East, is not an easy opponent. They have a good coach in Porter, Zardes is dangerous up top, and he gets to work with Pedro Santos and Federico Higuain. LAFC also has to get past Zack Steffen, one of the best ‘keepers in MLS, to score.
Prediction: Columbus 1, LAFC 3. LAFC are the favorites heading in, and some recent results do not change the level of the team or the talent. LAFC will take the chance to get back on track and will take home all three points.
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