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Red Bulls-Los Angeles FC Preview
While Los Angeles FC has been winning consistently all season, the same obviously can't be said for the New York Red Bulls.
Looking to win two in a row Sunday night for the first time since early June, the visiting Red Bulls visit an MLS-leading LAFC side that seems poised to surpass New York's record-point total from 2018.
Los Angeles (16-3-4) has been the cream of the league crop since the onset and the Supporters' Shield seems only a formality. With 52 points in early August, LAFC could very well make regular-season MLS history when all is done and shatter the Red Bulls' total of 71 points from last season.
Of course, New York failed to close the deal and did not even make the MLS Cup final. LAFC is not celebrating anything at the moment.
"Winning these games, it's great, but the ultimate prize at the end of the day is the MLS Cup," defender Steven Beitashour told LAFC's official website after his team ended New England's 11-game unbeaten streak last weekend with a 2-0 victory, its second straight after losing to the rival L.A. Galaxy on July 19. "We're working on getting better every single week, and improving. A really fine-tuning ourselves for the playoffs an MLS Cup."
New York (11-9-4), meanwhile, enters the weekend matchday well over the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. However, the Red Bulls are 4-4-1 since a 4-0-1 stretch from May 11-June 1. That run ended with back-to-back wins over FC Cincinnati and Real Salt Lake - the last time they won consecutive league contests.
The Red Bulls benefited from a Toronto FC own goal in the 55th minute and Kemar Lawrence's insurance score in stoppage time to claim a 2-0 home victory last weekend.
New York won last year's first meeting with LAFC 2-1, thanks to two Daniel Royer goals. However, Royer and the Red Bulls know they are facing a much different and more talented club than the one from LAFC's expansion 2018 campaign. Still, they won't roll over and just give in.
"Obviously, they're having an amazing season so far," said Royer, who has eight goals in 2019. "Now, we come off with a win against Toronto, so we should feel confident going in there even though this is a really big test for us. Definitely one of the toughest tasks so far."
Diego Rossi (13 goals) scored in his second straight game last weekend for LAFC, giving him five goals over his last six league contests. Teammate Carlos Vela (22 goals), meanwhile, failed to score for only the sixth time this season against New England.
Updated August 9, 2019