Los Angeles Football Club are coming off a month of four total games with a month of six games. Doesn’t sound so bad, huh? Well, that doesn’t tell the whole story, as the first half of the month is totally front-loaded. The games will come thick and fast. Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated in July.
Wednesday, July 3 - at Sporting Kansas City
The action starts with an almost-holiday midweek clash in Kansas City. Sporting are at the bottom of the Western Conference, believe it or not, and both have major injuries and lack confidence. But! This is Sporting we’re talking about, and while I don’t necessarily guarantee they’ll turn it around this year, Peter Vermes has earned the benefit of the doubt every match as far as I’m concerned. With LAFC coming off a loss, SKC will think they can take a win, and maybe they can. It will be up to LAFC to show they’ve got this and pick up another result, no matter who is on the field.
Saturday, July 6 - vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
From there, the black-and-gold return home with a change to get some revenge on Marc Dos Santos’ Whitecaps, who beat LAFC in the teams’ first meeting this year. Now, I should note that with a game coming three days earlier, and you’ll see how the games line up next, Bob Bradley will be rotating his lineup, without a doubt. Will he opt to make a couple changes each game, or will he try to play first-choice then reserves game to game? Stay tuned on that, but the variable here is that we may not see a totally full-strength lineup for the first two games in July. Still, Vancouver haven’t fully realized their potential yet (they are in 10th place) so LAFC have to expect they should get a win, even if the opponent is sure to be wily once again.
Wednesday, July 10 - vs. Portland Timbers (U.S. Open Cup)
Here’s the first headline game of the month (there are arguably three). LAFC and the Timbers meet in the quarterfinals of the Open Cup, after meeting in the quarterfinals of the Open Cup last year, a game that was marred by a racial slur and subsequent bizarre response from the offending team, an official petition filed to try and vacate LAFC’s win (the ruling came out in LAFC’s favor, because U.S. Soccer screwed up) and a back-and-forth win. Given how feisty things were between these teams on June 1 for the Timbers’ home opener, expect more of the same here. That it’s an elimination game and both teams clearly seem to be going for the USOC ratchets the tension up even more. This will either be brilliant or the absolute worst. Either way, it will be a must-watch occasion.
Friday, July 12 - at Houston Dynamo
I’ll put this out there right now: This game is the lowest priority of the month, based on the timing alone. It’s actually staggering that LAFC play two games in three days, in two different states. Perhaps it’s because the games are in two different competitions, but this seems to be an occasion screaming out for a time change. Of course, that’s not in the Dynamo’s interest, and the Houston Dash play on July 13 at home, so unless they swung a switch to Sunday for Dynamo-LAFC, a change looks unlikely.
But consider for a moment, just how unusual it is for MLS teams to play two games in three days. Even USL stopped doing that a few years ago, because it’s not safe for the players. Throw in the chance LAFC could take their Open Cup game to extra time, then have to fly to Texas and play 44 hours or so later, and this is insanity, for LAFC anyway.
Friday, July 19 - at LA Galaxy
Ok, so after that LAFC get a full week off but...oh hey guess what, it’s El Trafico! The first edition is on the road, and while the four-games-in-nine-days stretch will be over by this point, we’ll see how the team holds up coming into this game. We know it’s going to be a big one, on and off the field, and so the hype will be there. But the big question will be if LAFC can beat the Galaxy. Stay tuned...
Friday, July 26 - vs. Atlanta United
Finally, LAFC wrap up the month of July with their first-ever home meeting against the MLS Cup defending champs, Atlanta United. Last time these teams played, ATLUTD spanked them 5-0 in Atlanta, so LAFC would surely like to get one back. Atlanta started kind of cold this year under Frank de Boer, but I have bad news: They are getting better each week. Hopefully that pleasant trajectory stops before they take on the black-and-gold, but this one should be a big game as well!
Bonus U.S. Open Cup question: If LAFC beat Portland, would the semifinals take place this month?
No. The semifinal is slated for early August. But we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it, right?
What do you think? Leave a comment below!