Picture courtesy of LAFC vía Twitter
By Jerry Reynoso @Official_JR4
LAFC (19-5-4, 62 points, 1st in West) travel eastwards to Orlando, Florida in Week 27 of the MLS Regular Season. After dropping points in consecutive matches and failing to clinch the Western Conference title against Minnesota United, the Black and Gold look to redeem themselves against Orlando City SC (9-13-7, 34 points, 9th in East) this Saturday night.
With both teams coming off of a loss last week (Orlando 0-3 vs SJ, LAFC 0-2 vs Minnesota) here is what to look for as LAFC aim at getting back to winning form:
The international break is in full effect and has taken its toll on MLS teams who are on the chase for the playoffs. From The USMNT to Jamaica, here are the players who have been shipped off for international duty from the Black and Gold: Walker Zimmerman (USA), Mark Anthony-Kaye (Canada), Eduard Atuesta (Columbia U-23), Brian Rodriguez (Uruguay), Peter-Lee Vassell (Jamaica), and Rodolfo Zelaya (El Salvador). Another player who has departed for the break is newcomer Diego Palacios (Ecuador). Palacios only had one match scheduled with his Home Country on Thursday versus Peru, so there’s a possibility we see the Ecuadorian wingback make his debut this weekend if he returns on time.
The absence of Defender Walker Zimmerman and the midfield duo of Mark Anthony-Kaye and Eduard Atuesta will hurt LAFC’s style of play and tempo just a bit, but shouldn’t be anything to worry about. It is times like this one that creates an opportunity for other players to step up and impress the gaffer. So, expect to see Bob Bradley put out an XI were not used to seeing, especially one without team captain, Carlos Vela. Vela (27 Goals) has been listed as questionable for Saturday night, but according to Kevin Baxter of “The Los Angeles Times,'' Bob Bradley has stated that Vela did not train with the first team this week.”I would say that makes him doubtful,” he says. (kbaxter11/Kevin Baxter vía Twitter)
With that being said, here’s my projected lineup:
Tyler Miller (Goalkeeper)
Mohamed El-Munir (Wingback)
Eddie Segura (Centerback)
Danilo Silva (Centerback)
Tristan Blackmon (Wingback)
Lee Nguyen (Midfielder)
Latif Blessing (Midfielder)
Mark Anthony-Kaye (Midfielder)
Josh Perez or Carlos Vela (Winger)
Adama Diomande (Striker)
Diego Rossi (Winger)
Will the absence of a few key players prevent LAFC from clinching the Western Conference title? Tune in Saturday night to find out!