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Sporting Kansas City vs. LAFC: Match Preview

LAFC look to bounce back from their Rapids loss, on the road to Sporting KC.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas

When: Wednesday July 3, 5:30 PM PT

How to Watch: YouTube TV, KMVD in Los Angeles viewing region; ESPN+ in the rest of the United States.

Los Angeles Football Club are looking to bounce back from just their second loss in the 2019 season as they travel to Children’s Mercy Park to take on Sporting Kansas City. LAFC are coming off a surprising 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, which broke a 10-game unbeaten streak and a four-game win streak. Sporting Kansas City’s weekend matchup with Real Salt Lake went a similar way, with SKC falling 2-0.

With the loss to the Rapids, LAFC fall to 5-3-2 this season on the road. The Black-and-Gold still sit atop the Western Conference with 37 points, and their goals for, goal differential, and record is astounding. This match against SKC, who have taken Colorado’s place at the bottom of the Western Conference with 19 points (higher only than Columbus and Cincy in the league), is a chance for LAFC to rebound and prove that the Rapids match was just a blip on the radar — a game in which they looked rusty in the final third, slow in the midfield, and which included 62 minutes of rain delay.

While LAFC are coping with their second loss of the season, SKC are trying to get some resemblance of form back in Kansas City. It is notable that SKC had the Concacaf Champions League to deal with earlier this season, a competition in which they started in late February, and advanced to the semifinals before being bounced by Mexican side and eventual champions Monterrey. That said, in MLS play, SKC have won just four matches this season, with six losses and a -2 goal differential, which is odd for a Peter Vermes side that many, including myself, saw as MLS Cup Contenders (oops). What’s more, while SKC won against Columbus two matchdays ago, that is their only win in their last six matches. It is not as though KC cannot score — their 27 goals compare to the Sounders and FC Dallas, and is more than eight Eastern Conference sides. The problem (again, shocking for a Peter Vermes side) is the defense, whose 29 conceded goals is second-worst in the West (shoutout to LAFC-clean-sheet-keepers Colorado) and are only surpassed in the East by Montreal, Toronto, New England, and Cincy.

LAFC and SKC met earlier in the season, in the MLS season opener for both clubs. That was the match at Banc of California Stadium in which Adama Diomande bagged a goal in the 94th minute, on the last kick of the game, to win 2-1.

Prediction: SKC 1, LAFC 3. I think LAFC are reeling a bit from that Colorado loss, but Bob Bradley will do more than enough to refocus the team and energize them to rebound. SKC are going through a tough season, and I think their tough times may continue as they host LAFC.

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