Los Angeles FC welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to the Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday evening, looking to bounce back after losing for the second time in as many MLS games.
This is the first time in two years that Los Angeles FC have lost two back-to-back games. San Jose, meanwhile, are looking to return to winning ways after losing 3-2 to LA Galaxy.
Former Sevilla and Inter Milan footballer and current San Jose Earthquakes manager Matías Jesús Almeyda led his team to the quarter-finals of the MLS is Back tournament, and he'll be hoping to hand the home team their third loss on the bounce.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles FC coach Bob Bradley was critical of his team's recent performances and blamed them on a lack of mental sharpness.
"You can see that we have a lot of guys who are not in good form, and mentally they are just not where they need to be.”
Los Angeles FC vs San Jose Earthquakes: Head-to-Head
The home team are heavy favourites to win this encounter based on historical head-to-head statistics. LAFC have been thoroughly dominant against San Jose in recent years, not only defeating them, but doing so in style. Los Angeles FC have won the last five matches against the Earthquakes with scorelines of 4-0, 3-1, 5-0, 2-0 and 4-3.
As far as recent form is concerned, both teams last won a game in the round of 16 stage of the MLS is Back tournament. Since then, they've both lost the quarter-final that followed, and also every game they have played since the resumption of the league.
Los Angeles FC form: L-L-L-W-D
San Jose Earthquakes form: L-L-W-W-W
Los Angeles FC vs San Jose Earthquakes team news
The biggest loss for Bob Bradley is the team's marquee player and club captain Carlos Vela. The 31-year-old Mexican superstar is suffering from a grade 2L MCL injury. Young Colombian midfielder Eduard Atuesta will also be absent due to an injury of his own.
The pressure of getting the goals will be on the front three of Brian Rodriguez, former Manchester City player Bradley Wright-Phillips, and the MLS' top-scorer, Diego Rossi.
Injuries: Carlos Vela, Eduard Atuesta
San Jose Earthquakes
The Earthquakes have no significant injuries of their own, barring young attacking-midfielder Gilbert Fuentes who is recovering from a broken collarbone. Creativity is something San Jose have lacked for a long time now, which is why they find it difficult to score with ease. After all, center-back Owsawldo Alanis is their joint top-scorer this season with two goals.
San Jose like to play on the counter and bank on their excellent pressing ability to smother any opposition player in possession. Midfielder Judson Tavares and Jackson Yueill are critical to their style of play, and should start in the heart of midfield once again.
Injuries: Gilbert Fuentes
Los Angeles FC vs San Jose Earthquakes predicted XI
LAFC predicted XI (4-3-3): Kenneth Vermeer; Tristan Blackmon; Dejan Jaković; Diego Palacios; Latif Blessing; Jose Cifuentes; Mark-Anthony Kaye; Brian Rodríguez; Diego Rossi; Bradley Wright-Phillips.
San Jose Earthquakes predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Mario Daniel Vega; Nick Lima; Tanner Beason; Florian Jungwirth; Tommy Thompson; Jackson Yueill; Judson Tavares; Valeri Qazaishvili; Cade Cowell; Cristian Espinoza; Andrés Ríos.
Los Angeles FC vs San Jose Earthquakes prediction
This is undoubtedly a very important game for both sides as they are desperately looking to bounce back to winning ways. However, you simply have to favour Los Angeles FC at home against most MLS sides. San Jose are a good team who take pride in troubling their stronger rivals, but LAFC should be too much for them to handle.
Even without the services of Carlos Vela, Los Angeles FC's front three should cause a lot of trouble to San Jose's backline and should come away with a comfortable three points.
Prediction: Los Angeles FC 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes.