MLS: Nashville hoping to close the gap in Eastern Conference while LA prepares for derby
There continues to be some twists and turns in the MLS, particularly in the Western Conference. New England Revolution, meanwhile, appears to have an almost unassailable 15-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference. In this preview, we will look ahead to two games this weekend — Atlanta United FC v Nashville, and Los Angeles FC v Los Angeles Galaxy.
Nashville hoping to make ground on their rivals
With a five-point cushion between themselves and Atlanta, their Saturday afternoon’s opponents, Nashville need not look nervously over their shoulders. Instead, they should look up the table. As things stand, the Revs are looking almost invincible, but there are only two points separating second-placed Orlando and Nashville in fourth.
However, Nashville will be disappointed they dropped points against Orlando in their last outing. After taking the lead through C. J. Sapong in the 23rd minute, they conceded just on the hour mark when Antonio Carlos equalised for the visitors. Nevertheless, Nashville will feel well-rested as they have had nine days off since their last game.
Atlanta United hitting form at just the right time
As mentioned, the playoff picture is always changing in the MLS. And while Atlanta are on the fringes, they are level on points with D.C. United, and they have just chalked up four wins on the bounce. The most recent of these victories was against DC, whom they beat 2-1 thanks to a late winner from Marcelino Moreno.
Atlanta v Nashville: a look back on past encounters
While both teams will be doing their homework on each other, this has hardly been a storied MLS encounter. Atlanta United have shaded the head-to-head from their previous five clashes with Nashville. Intriguingly, the last two MLS meetings have ended in 2-2 draws, so this weekend’s fixture could serve up a few goals!
Los Angeles Galaxy desperate to bounce back after San Jose Earthquakes shake
LA Galaxy have hit a bit of a blip of late, losing their last two games against Colorado and San Jose, both by a 2-1 scoreline. Although there is no need to press the panic button, as they are fourth in the Western Conference, they will be desperate to avoid a third straight defeat. Galaxy have already lost eight of their 21 games this campaign.
Los Angeles FC need to get out of the rut
If they’re not careful, LA FC could find themselves drifting further away from the playoff places. At the time of writing, LA FC are ninth in the Western Conference with 23 points to their name, three points behind San Jose. But what will be more disconcerting, is that LA FC have lost their last four on the trot, and they need to arrest that run.
However, off the pitch, there has been some cause for celebration. On the transfer front, LA FC bolstered their defensive ranks by acquiring Julian Gaines from Toronto FC. Gaines’ versatility will benefit LA FC as he can play right-back, but also on the wing.
For a side boasting pace and firepower upfront, it is at the other end of the pitch where things have gone wrong for LA FC. Indeed, the season-ending injury (ACL tear) suffered by Eddie Segura leaves a huge void to fill, and Bob Bradley has got things wrong tactically to stymie the damage.
Los Angeles FC v Los Angeles Galaxy: a tale of past encounters
The LA derby is always an eagerly anticipated affair, although the head-to-head record shows that LA Galaxy have dominated. There have been 10 clashes in the MLS, and LA Galaxy have won seven of these showdowns. A cursory glance at more recent meetings shows that LA Galaxy have the edge.
Indeed, LA Galaxy have only lost one of their past four meetings with LA FC. In their previous clash earlier this season, LA Galaxy clinched a 2-1 win. Javier Hernandez gave Galaxy the lead before Diego Rossi equalised for the visitors. But Galaxy had the last laugh as Jonathan dos Santos netted the winner 11 minutes from time.
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