The shine has worn off of Banc of California stadium after LAFC notched a thrilling 1-0 victory to christen its new home stadium last Saturday. But expectations are still high for the team as it enters its second home field stand this Saturday against FC Dallas.
LAFC will have to secure the win without Marco Ureña, who underwent surgery this week after suffering a facial fracture in the home opener against Seattle. Ureña has been a a vital part of the offense this season, serving up five assists. With hopes high for a fledgling fanbase that is celebrating five wins in its first seven games, the club will need to steel itself for a more organized attack from the Dallas side in order to preserve a short-lived streak of perfection on its home field.
“I think the level is high,” forward Carlos Vela said. “[Saturday] was a crazy day because everybody was expecting this moment. I hope the fans can be like the every game. I hope we can have fun, so they can enjoy. Of course, we want to win games because we have to be a really strong team at home if we want to be one of the best teams in the league.
The match could serve as a debut for midfielder Lee Nguyen, who the club acquired on Tuesday only minutes before the trade window closed. The team secured the former New England star — who tallied 11 goals and 15 assists last season — for a total of $700,000 in allocation funds.
For the Revolution, Nguyen served in a consistent attacking role, and he could quickly become a key piece to round out the previously shaky LAFC midfield. It remains undetermined whether Nguyen, who has yet to play a minute on the pitch so far this season, will make his first appearance in black and gold on Saturday.
But fans won’t be the only ones holding their breaths for that moment. After his first set of trainings this week, Nguyen made it clear that he is ready and excited to play for his new club.
“I’m looking forward to playing,” Nguyen said. “Who knows how much of a role I’m going to play this weekend… But I’ve been training, I’m ready to go. I’m just ready to get acclimated with my teammates and get pushing.”
The game will also be a chance for yet another LAFC starter to face his former teammates, as defender Walker Zimmerman will take on his former club in his new home stadium. The chance to play against FC Dallas — where he played his first five seasons of professional soccer — will give Zimmerman an extra edge to prove himself against the Dallas attacking front, which is led by Roland Lamah.
“I’m definitely excited,” Zimmerman said. “There’s going to be extra desire, extra motivation, going on inside of my head. We’ve already given the other guys three points against their former teams: Laurent in Montreal, Jordan [Harvey] in Vancouver, and so now we’re just kind of checking everyone off the list. Hopefully Dallas is next.”
Who: LAFC vs. FC Dallas
When: 12:50 p.m. PST
Where: Banc of California Stadium
How to follow: Watch on Univision & Twitter; Listen on ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
LAFC record: 5-0-2
Dallas record: 3-3-1
Last LAFC game: In a thrilling end to the club’s inaugural home opener, Laurent Ciman notched the team’s first victory at Banc of California stadium with a streaking free kick in the 92nd minute. The team’s 1-0 victory cemented the loyalty of a fanbase that has supported the team through a six-game streak of road matches.
Last FC Dallas game: FC Dallas secured its second-straight victory with a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. After a scoreless first half, Mauro Diaz and Maximiliano Urruti netted two goals within ten minutes in the second half to secure the victory.
LAFC predicted starting roster: Tyler Miller; Jordan Harvey, Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour; Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Benny Feilhaber; Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, Latif Blessing