New York City FC-Los Angeles FC Preview
New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila believes the key to overcoming Los Angeles FC in Saturday's MLS clash is to cut off Carlos Vela's supply lines.
Vela is being eased back to full fitness after a lay-off and played an hour in last week's 2-1 win over Colorado Rapids - the most he has managed in a single game this season.
He has scored three of LAFC's four goals against NYCFC and, while Deila respects there is more to the Black and Gold than one man, he is keen to keep the Mexican striker quiet.
"Unless something has happened to him in training this week, Carlos will start this game," Deila said. "He is a top player and probably the most special player in the league.
"We have to take away his service and stop him from getting the ball. When he does get it we have to defend in the best way.
"But the best way to defend is to attack, so we need the ball, need to create and cause some problems for LA. We are capable of that."
New York City conceded two late free-kicks to lose 2-1 against Columbus Crew last time out, leaving them sixth in the Eastern Conference.
LAFC's win against Colorado ensured they avoided a third straight regular-season loss for the first time, and coach Bob Bradley is now seeking back-to-back wins for the first time this term.
"This is only our second opportunity to take six points from two games," he said. "This first time around we followed up a win at Austin with a draw against Seattle.
"This time around let's see what we can do. NYFC have real ideas about how they want to play and it will be a good game. We've got to find the right balance in terms of our own game."
Los Angeles FC - Diego Rossi
Deila may be focusing on stopping Vela, but LAFC have another dangerous man in Rossi, who has scored seven goals in his last eight home games dating back to September 2020. The Uruguayan striker has scored in five of those eight games - including a double against the Rapids last time out - with his side winning all of them.
New York City FC - Talles Magno
The 18-year-old Brazilian joined NYFC in a reported $8 million transfer from Vasco da Gama and is in contention to make his debut against LAFC, most likely from the bench. Magno boasts plenty of first-team experience with Vasco and has scored five goals in 10 appearances for Brazil at Under-17s level, though he may need time to adapt to a new league.
- The first two meetings between LAFC and NYCFC ended in 2-2 draws with New York City scoring the opening goal in each match. Four different players scored the goals for NYCFC, while Vela scored three of the four for LAFC.
- No Eastern Conference team has ever won at Banc of California Stadium, with LAFC recording eight wins and six draws in 14 home matches against Eastern foes.
- New York City has scored in 17 straight games (incl. playoffs) dating back to September 2020. This is NYCFC's second-longest run of games with a goal in its MLS history after scoring in 20 straight in 2017.
- NYCFC allowed two late goals in their 2-1 loss against the Crew last Saturday. They have dropped an MLS-high eight points from winning positions this season after being one of three teams (along with FC Cincinnati and Atlanta United) that didn't drop any after going ahead last season.
Updated May 28, 2021