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Three things to watch for as LAFC host the Philadelphia Union

The calm before the fixture congestion storm.

MLS: Inter Miami CF at Los Angeles FC Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club will play their second game of the 2020 MLS regular season on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Union. It will be the clubs’ only meeting of the season, and let’s go over what we’re looking for from an LAFC perspective coming into the game.

Will the form be there?

LAFC grinded out two straight victories — full credit to them for not looking stellar but still picking up big wins, on short rest, to boot.

With a full week of prep for this game, and three competitive games played, will the black-and-gold look like they’re clicking? It’s still early, but it would certainly be nice. We have seen considerable improvement between the two Concacaf Champions League games against Club León, and while it wasn’t still quite as fluid against Inter Miami, there was progress in some respects there, too.

The risk of LAFC’s system, generally, is when the passes aren’t connecting and players aren’t sharp, they don’t have much hope. But it would be much more reassuring if the team looks their best yet this year if they can get a win and look good while they do it.

Can Brian Rodriguez get off the mark?

Rodriguez has played 12 competitive games for LAFC so far, notching an assist and no goals. While the Uruguayan has fit in with his teammates in the lineup, he hasn’t gotten off the mark with a (legal) goal of his own yet, and it seems to be wearing on him a bit. Every time he hits a shot and it doesn’t go in, you can sense he tightens up, and as the goalless run goes on, that’s going to probably continue ramping up.

Obviously body language only tells you so much, and we see Rodriguez scoring pretty freely for Uruguay, so the ability is there, it’s just a matter of getting that first one.

If he gets that debut goal against Philly, that will go a long way to freeing him to hopefully add a bucketload more. But he has to get that first one. We’ll see if Sunday is the day.

Is Kenneth Vermeer the truth or an adventure?

Three games into the Vermeer era in goal for LAFC, we’ve seen a lot of good and some reason for concern. He nearly Cruyff turned in his own 6-yard box with an opponent right on him in the Club León Concacaf Champions League series, but evaded disaster. He’s incredibly aggressive, which will likely to be to his benefit, but is also going to cost him at some stage, too. It’s a matter of when and what the game state will be when a gaffe comes. Having said that, Vermeer seems to be a polarizing goalkeeper, with opinion firmly split, but two wins in three and two goals allowed with two clean sheets means he’s off to a good start on a results front, and we’ll see how he continues to perform as the No. 1.

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