Los Angeles FC will be in near-desperation mode in its hunt for a spot in the MLS playoffs when it battles FC Dallas on Wednesday in a crucial late-season Western Conference match in Frisco, Texas.
LAFC heads to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on the heels of a 3-1 home victory over San Jose on Saturday. Cristian Arango scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season and added his first MLS assist on Danny Musovski's tally in the win, which snapped a four-match winless stretch.
Los Angeles (10-12-7, 37 points) begins play Wednesday in ninth place in the West, four points below Minnesota United and the playoff line with five matches left in the regular season.
Given the urgency and the fact that FC Dallas has been one of the league's biggest disappointments in 2021, LAFC is approaching Wednesday's match as a must-win situation.
"We talked about how important (the win over San Jose) was to get us going, get some momentum and then now carry that into these next two away games," LAFC coach Bob Bradley said.
Former MLS MVP Carlos Vela did not play in the win over San Jose but could be back for Wednesday's match.
FC Dallas (6-13-10, 28 points) returns to play for the first time since a scoreless draw at home against Minnesota United on Oct. 2. FCD is winless over its past seven matches (four losses and three draws) and hasn't tasted victory since a 5-3 win at last-place Austin on Aug. 29.
The team has not won since interim coach Marco Ferruzzi took charge of the team on Sept. 19. Defender Ryan Hollingshead said the 18-day break, FCD's longest of the season, has helped the team.
"(The break) came at a good time, especially with a coaching change and trying to implement a lot of new things into the squad," Hollingshead said. "Having some extra weeks to work on that and put it into practice is huge. The team responded well, and I think we put in a lot of good work."
A loss on Wednesday would officially eliminate FC Dallas from postseason consideration. FCD will play four games over an 11-day period.
LAFC won the first meeting between the two teams this season, 2-0 at home.
--Field Level Media