Crew shoot for home sweep of L.A. teams against LAFC
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The Columbus Crew have a chance to complete the L.A. double at their Mapfre Stadium on Saturday.
Wednesday, the Crew (5-6-1, 16 points) ended a five-game losing streak by defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1, preventing the visitors from moving atop the Western Conference.
The Galaxy could have overtaken Los Angeles FC (7-1-3, 24 points), which visits Columbus on Saturday while boasting the most goals in MLS (26) and being tied for the fewest goals allowed (eight).
"We knocked off one L.A. giant and now we've got another," Crew coach Caleb Porter. "I'd say (LAFC) is probably the best team in the league, in just the way they're playing, the way they attack, the talent that they have. It's going to be a difficult test and they didn't have a midweek game so it's a real challenge. It's going to be David vs. Goliath."
LAFC's diversified attack begins with Carlos Vela, the top scorer in the league with 11 goals. Yet, LAFC was held to a 0-0 tie by Chicago in its previous match.
"We're disappointed on days where we don't score goals because we think we're capable of putting goals on the board every game," LAFC coach Bob Bradley said.
Chicago followed a familiar strategy: Keep numbers behind the ball, counter, and double- and triple-mark Vela.
"(In) the last couple of games teams have really upped their intensity and tried to bunker against us," LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye said.
The Crew won't sit back, knowing their best weapon is getting a lead because they are 4-0-0 when scoring first.
"It's always important to get that first goal just to get a team out of their comfort shell, and we can try to get the second and get the third," Crew forward Gyasi Zardes.
It's been a busy week for the Crew off the field. They traded for midfielders David Guzman (Portland) and David Accam (Philadelphia) while trading forward Justin Meram to Atlanta United. Guzman debuted in the 74th minute on Wednesday.