Los Angeles Football Club are 16 games into their 2019 MLS regular season campaign, with 18 to go. With a game in hand on the two teams just below them in the standings, they are six points ahead of any side in the Supporters’ Shield standings.
It can be easy to consider in your mind that LAFC have won the Shield. It would be their first major trophy, and it’s seductive to fall into the daydreams of considering a hand is already on the plate, they just need to keep going to see it out.
Hopefully, that will be the case come October 6, when they play the final game of the regular season and there’s a celebration at the end of it.
But it’s not done yet. LAFC have been truly dominant in the first half of the season, playing so well, getting so many results, and just being great on both sides of the ball, so it’s natural to think they can do this the whole way.
But injuries, fixture congestion, sputtering form can crop up. There are still tough games ahead, many of them, and the job is not yet done.
They’re currently in two competitions, and are gunning for that other one, the U.S. Open Cup, as well. 11 of their 19 scheduled games left are against teams currently sitting in the playoff spots, and a few more teams not in the playoff slots will probably climb up there over the second half of the season.
They’ve got two meetings coming up against the LA Galaxy in El Trafico, which will undoubtedly burn considerable mental energy. Hopefully LAFC can win both of those, or at least one to get off the mark in the rivalry.
And if June was a weird month in the schedule, July is going to be truly bonkers, with six games that includes four games in nine days!
All of this is to say that LAFC are in the spot they want to be, in first place, at the halfway point, but they’ve got a long way to go to win anything. There is bound to be adversity ahead, and I have to say I’m confident this coaching staff and roster have the right mentality to stay focused on the task at hand. But that doesn’t mean it’s likely to be easy, and as we jump off to the second half of the season in earnest, let’s see what happens in the next three-plus months of crunch time as the anointed title-winners.
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