LOS ANGELES — After a continued streak of success on the road, LAFC will return home Saturday night to host FC Cincinnati, the latest addition to Major League Soccer. The fledgling team has started the season strong with a 2-2-2 record after the first month of play. Cincinnati took a win off Portland and tied Atlanta United and Sporting KC, and it has shown an ability to surprise top-ranked teams.
LAFC lately has been about attacking early and often. The club leads MLS with 19 goals scored on the season. LAFC is taking more shots than other teams, too — in last week’s 4-0 win, it outshot D.C. United 20-13 — and it’s also finding more success in finishing those shot opportunities.
A major key for LAFC this weekend will be to respect and counter the speed of FC Cincinnati. The team excels in transition and is quick to turn a defensive stop into a full-steam offensive attack on the other side of the field. Head coach Bob Bradley isolated the quickness of attackers Darren Mattocks and Kekuta Manneh as a major threat to the LAFC defense.
“Without a doubt, FC Cincinnati is athletic and very good on the counter,” Bradley said. “We understand that. But I think the way we defend is still to step up and make it difficult for teams to get behind us.”
LAFC will be back in its comfort zone for the first game at Banc of California stadium in two weeks. The team is undefeated so far this season, a good position to be when returning to a home stadium where it hasn’t seen a single result besides a win.
“We’ve always played better at home,” goalkeeper Tyler Miller said. “We have a very challenging stadium to play in for a lot of teams. For us, it’s extra motivation from all of our supporters and the 3252 behind us there.”
Who: LAFC vs. FC Cincinnati
When: April 13, 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
How to watch: YouTube TV (programming starts at 8:00 p.m. ET with “LAFC in 30”), KVMD
How to listen: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 908