Los Angeles FC and New York City FC are second in their respective conferences of Major League Soccer with nearly identical records, but they arrive in their first-ever meeting Sunday at Banc of California Stadium in different places.
The expansion LAFC (6-2-1) is on a 4-0-1 streak to claim the runner-up spot in the West behind Sporting Kansas City. Its most recent match, a 2-1 win over Minnesota United on Wednesday, leaves the club unbeaten in its sparkling new home (2-0-1).
“The stadium is incredible. Loud,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “The supporters feel like they’re right on top of you on the field with you.”
NYC (6-2-2) is second in the Eastern Conference despite a 4-0 defeat to the rival New York Red Bulls on May 5.
“The team was hurt by the last result, but that was last week and we have another game on Sunday,” NYCFC defender Alexander Callens said. “Our mentality is to go out there and win, play our game, and enjoy it like we’ve always done.”
NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira has been working on the team’s psyche this week.
“We didn’t show a real team spirit and quality,” he said. “It is just one game, but at the same time it is important for us to understand why and keep working.
“It’s important for us to understand that if we want to do well in this league we need to be ready mentally.”
Coupled with a 3-0 loss at Portland on April 22, NYCFC has been outscored 7-0 in its past two road games. Meanwhile, LAFC has allowed one goal in three home matches.
Still, there’s no chance Los Angeles is looking past its opponent.
“It’s easy to get ready for NYCFC,” Bradley said. “They’re a really good team. They play really good football.”
—Field Level Media