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Impact-Los Angeles FC Preview
The points just keep piling up for Los Angeles FC.
Eyeing their second seven-game unbeaten run of the season, the current MLS leaders host the Montreal Impact on Friday night.
Los Angeles (9-1-4) fared well while going 2-0-1 over a stretch of three matches in eight days on the road versus Columbus and featuring a home-and-home with FC Dallas. LAFC took four points in that back-to-back against Dallas, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 1-1 road draw on Sunday.
Star Carlos Vela scored in his third straight game Sunday, converting a penalty kick in the 80th minute to equalize and earn LAFC the point at FCD.
"The guys need to recover physically and mentally," keeper Tyler Miller told LAFC's official website. "I think going into Montreal, we know it's going to be a tough game."
Vela has not seemed fatigued at all this season. He's recorded a league-leading 14 goals in 14 games and also provided the go-ahead strike with an 83rd-minute penalty kick in last season's wild 5-3 road victory over Montreal.
Impact star Ignacio Piatti scored all three of his team's goals in that contest. It's possible he will be ready to feature in the starting XI for Montreal (6-5-3) in this match after returning as a substitute from a 10-game injury absence in last weekend's scoreless draw versus New England.
"I'm very happy to be back with the group," Piatti, who scored three goals in three games before suffering knee and muscle issues this season, told the Impact's official website. "I was on the outskirts for a long time and now I feel great."
While Piatti feels well physically, he and the Impact remain frustrated after managing just one point in the last two games against FC Cincinnati and the Revolution, two clubs at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. It won't help that dependable midfielder Samuel Piette will be out Friday after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season late against New England, ending his club-record run of 51 straight starts.
"Sam is very important," Montreal defender Jukka Raitala said. "That being said, (Piatti) was out for a while and we did a really good job without him. For me, when one guy is out, someone needs to step in and replace him. We have a good roster with a lot of good players."
The Impact will need those good players to help keep the club from suffering back-to-back road defeats for the first time during the campaign. Montreal is 4-4-2 on the road, where it played six straight to open this season.
Updated May 22, 2019