No rest for the wicked this weekend as Columbus Crew SC welcome Los Angeles Football Club for its inaugural visit to MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night. The Crew come into the match with a sense of euphoria after defeating the LA Galaxy 3-1 on Wednesday night.
The victory allowed the Black & Gold to halt its losing skid, after five straight defeats, and get back to winning ways. Three different goals scorers struck for the Crew, possibly squashing fears (at least temporarily) of a scoring lull.
Former United States National Team head coach Bob Bradley has his LAFC squad in terrific form. Led by Mexican international Carlos Vela, LA appear poised to make some noise in their second season in Major League Soccer.
LA at a glance
Leading Scorer: Carlos Vela (11)
Assists Leader: Mark-Anthony Kaye (5)
How they attack
Head coach Bob Bradley prefers to deploy his squad in a traditional 4-3-3 attacking setup but it is evident that the coach is very fluid with his formation. He allows the game conditions to dictate how his team will attack.
Los Angeles is very good about how it utilizes spacing and creates mismatches for the opposition that frequently lead to high scoring opportunities.
The above photo showcases just how good LAFC can be with its attacking spacing.
One of the three central midfielders brings the ball to the top of the 18-yard box. There is a runner at the top of the penalty box, two runners in the middle channels and one back-post runner.
In this attacking sequence, Mark-Anthony Kaye draws the attention of the opposing defense getting them to close down the space. He kicks it wide to the attacker at the top of the 18-yard box who draws the attention of the two center backs.
This action frees up a channel for forward Cristian Ramirez to occupy at the center of the park for an easy opportunity on the goal.
LA also switches the point of attack and frequently finds Carlos Vela on the wings. The Mexican international prefers to spread the defense before either cutting into the penalty box or lofting a cross into the area.
Both options pose a significant threat to the opposition and need to be considered on Saturday evening.
Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela.
Three prolific goal scorers in three consecutive matches. It won’t be an easy task to keep the LAFC striker off of the scoresheet. Like the Crew did with Ibrahimovic, expect the Crew defense to always know where the cheeky winger is at all times. Otherwise they could end up on the next highlight reel.
How Crew SC win
Columbus must capitalize on its scoring opportunities. Similar to the game against the Galaxy on Wednesday night, the Black & Gold must finish every opportunity and continue to perform with a killer instinct.
Limiting LAFC’s opportunities in the final third will do wonders in Saturday’s contest. Despite being in their second year, Bradley has his team playing outstanding soccer. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that LA could be potential title contenders when its all said and done.
It will take a total team effort from the Crew to capture any points from this contest.