Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, California
When: Saturday, September 21, 7:30 pm PT
How to Watch: YouTube TV and KVMD in the LA viewing area, and ESPN+ in the rest of the United States. TSN1/4 in Canada.
Los Angeles Football Club, fresh off their 1-1 draw in Philadelphia with the Union, return home to host Toronto FC, as the Black-and-Gold look to stop their slide in form towards the end of the season.
LAFC have not won a game since August 21, a 4-0 win against San Jose. Since then, LAFC have drawn against the Galaxy (3-3), Orlando City (2-2), and the Union (1-1), along with a loss to Minnesota United. While LAFC still lead the Western Conference and have locked up the top seed in the West with 64 points, and their 77 goals are best in MLS, the odd dip in form (which coincided with the injury to Carlos Vela, who scored in his return against the Union) comes at the wrong part of the season, as LAFC pursue the Red Bulls’ record of 71 MLS points (eight points to get in four matches to break the record), but more importantly prepare for the MLS Cup Playoffs in the new single-elimination format.
Toronto FC are firmly in the fight in the middle of the Eastern Conference. The 2017 MLS Cup champs are sitting in fourth place with 45 points, the same as fifth-place D.C. United. TFC sit six points behind Atlanta United, and are one point ahead of the Red Bulls. The Canadian side are coming off a loss in the first leg of the Canadian Cup final to the Montreal Impact on Wednesday, and before that won 3-2 at home over the Colorado Rapids.
Traveling to The Banc, where LAFC have only lost once in MLS play (to Minnesota), coupled with 11 wins and two draws, will pose a tough task for Toronto, who have four wins, five draws, and six losses on the road.
The last time these teams met was last season, at the start of September in Toronto. LAFC won that matchup 4-2, with goals from Vela, Diego Rossi, and Lee Nguyen pushing the side past the Jozy Altidore-powered home side.
Prediction: LAFC 3, Toronto 1. Returning home is huge for Bob Bradley and his men. Having Carlos Vela back, not just for the first game, but fully back, is huge. Toronto is a good team and will give LAFC trouble, especially since LAFC have had their struggles recently and will be looking to break out of their run of form, but LAFC is the better team, and should play like it.
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