ExLink - 06/23/18 - LAFCvCLB

LAFC vs. Columbus Crew SC
2018 MLS Regular Season - Week 17

Banc of California Stadium — Los Angeles
June 23 - 10:30 pm ET

Ten days after a nine-match unbeaten streak was snapped by Atlanta United, Columbus Crew SC head to the West Coast attempting to end a four-match winless run against an LAFC side that dramatically defeated the San Jose Earthquakes to end their own stretch of four consecutive games without a victory.

LAFC average 2.01 expected goals per game this season, one of just five teams to average 2.0+ xG/g. Columbus average 0.81 goals against per game – no other team averages less than 1.32 expected goals against per game, per Opta.


It was more late-game drama for LAFC (7-4-3), which needed an 89th-minute winner by Latif Blessing to solve Sacramento Republic FC, 3-2, in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 Wednesday night at Banc of California Stadium.

LAFC, which will host the Portland Timbers in the quarterfinals next month, trailed 2-1 in the final half hour, but Diego Rossi leveled in the 67th minute and Blessing crashed in at the back post to latch onto Rossi’s service.

"Overall, I thought we played a lot of good football," Bob Bradley said. "By now you know me. If I see a lot of good football, I think that’s positive, you advance in the Cup, look forward to Portland on [July] 18th and now we go back to the league and it should be a good game against Columbus.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: F - Carlos Vela, F - Marco Urena, M - Omar Gaber
  • Injury Report: OUT: GK Luis Lopez (right tibial stress fracture); QUESTIONABLE: F - Adama Diomande (left hamstring irritation)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Tyler Miller — Steven Beitashour, Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman, Joao Moutinho — Benny Feilhaber, Eduard Atuesta — Mark-Anthony Kaye, Lee Nguyen, Diego Rossi — Latif Blessing

  • Notes: Walker Zimmerman has won 72.2 percent of his duels since the start of May, the best percentage of any player with at least 50 duels … LAFC have yet to be beaten at home this year (2W-3D). They average 1.4 goals per game at home as opposed to 2.4 on the road.

Columbus Crew SC

After three consecutive draws, Columbus (7-4-6) dropped a 2-0 decision to Atlanta United on June 13 at MAPFRE Stadium, their first loss since a 1-0 defeat to D.C. United on April 14, which was their third in a row at the time.

Crew SC had a number of near-misses on the night, including a Federico Higuain shot from distance in the first half that was deflected and nearly snuck under the crossbar, and a Gyasi Zardes tap-in chance on a low cross in the 75th minute in which the striker just missed the shot.

“We haven’t had a bye week since the beginning of the year so it was good,” Gregg Berhalter said of the weekend off. “We were going a long stretch in a rhythm and it was good to break that a little bit and I think now the guys are anxious to get back on the field.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: D - Milton Valenzuela
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT - GK Zack Steffen (knee), D - Josh Williams (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: M - Mohammed Abu (left thigh injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Jon Kempin — Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Lalas Abubakar, Milton Valenzuela — Wil Trapp, Artur — Pedro Santos, Federico Higuain, Cristian Martinez — Gyasi Zardes

  • Notes: Zardes has taken 48 shots inside the box this season the most in the league. His 10 goals from inside the box are tied for the second-most in MLS this year. … After scoring two goals in their season opener in Toronto, the Crew have scored just one goal over their last six away games (1W-2L-3D).

All-Time Series

  • This is the first all-time meeting between LAFC and Columbus Crew SC


Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Adam Garner, Felicia Mariscal
4th Official: Baldomero Toledo
VAR: Alex Chilowicz