The expansion Los Angeles Football Club and MLS mainstay Sporting Kansas City own identical records entering their Saturday clash at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
Both teams are 10-6-6, good for 36 points. Sporting K.C. holds third place in the Western Conference standings ahead of LAFC based solely on a better goal difference, plus-10 to plus-8. Only FC Dallas (42 points) and the Portland Timbers (37 points) are higher in the conference standings.
And while LAFC will be the home team, in a venue where it has never lost (5-0-5), the timing of the visit could be just right for Sporting K.C.
LAFC has used the recently closed transfer window to bolster the roster with additions like Andre Horta, Christian Ramirez, Danilo Silva and Josh Perez, but there could be continuity issues for a club that has not won in four league matches (0-2-2).
And there is the matter the physical toll from LAFC’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal match on Wednesday against the Houston Dynamo that lasted 120 minutes in punishing heat. Following a 3-3 draw, LAFC lost in an eight-round penalty shootout, 7-6, but the squad will focus instead on its rally from two goals down in the final 12 minutes of regulation.
“I told guys after the game I couldn’t be prouder,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “There’s a lot to build on. There are teams that lose an important match on penalties and everybody gets stronger. That’s how we’re going to handle it.”
Sporting K.C. made its own recent additions, signing Andreu Fontas and bringing back Krisztian Nemeth from the New England Revolution. Nemeth scored 16 goals for Sporting in 2015.
“(The striker position is) the place that we’ve been seeking to add someone of high quality,” coach Peter Vermes said. “(Nemeth) is that — no doubt in my mind. He’s going to get his chance, but I think there’s no doubt his quality will add so much to our team in so many ways.”
—Field Level Media