LAFC try to extend shutout streak vs. hungry Orlando City

League: MLS

Posted on: 14 Jun, 2024 at 11:26 PM

Credit: Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles FC will shoot for their sixth consecutive shutout victory on Saturday night when they visit an Orlando City side in need of points to stay in the playoff picture.

LAFC (9-4-3, 30 points) have made dramatic defensive improvements from their early-season form, when they at one point conceded multiple goals in seven of 10 league matches.

Coach Steve Cherundolo knows that even with his club's recent run -- in which they've outscored opponents 9-0 -- there's a sense of disappointment among some that LAFC aren't currently leading the Western Conference. They reside three points back of conference leaders Real Salt Lake.

"We understand our role and maybe our reputation, and we feel perfectly comfortable with high expectations," Cherundolo said. "And if you watch our training and you see our interaction with the players ... We are very critical and we are pushing the envelope as far as we possibly can."

Meanwhile, many expected Orlando City to be an MLS Cup contender, but they return from a bye week two points beneath the Eastern Conference playoff line.

Oscar Pareja's Lions (4-7-5, 17 points) have had trouble scoring all season, particularly at home, where they have only six goals in eight matches while winning only once.

But Pareja knows beating a team like LAFC could provide an emotional boost worth far more than just the points in the standings.

"We are expecting a team that are professional, that are playing well," Pareja said. "They have confidence and very good players, too. But at the same time, it's a great opportunity for us to perform well and then raise our confidence and get points that we need urgently now."

Orlando will arguably be the more impacted team by international call-ups, with Slovenia defender David Brekalo away for Euro 2024 and Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and Uruguay winger Facundo Torres at the Copa America.

Meanwhile, LAFC leading scorer Denis Bouanga played 90 minutes and scored the eventual winner in Gabon's 3-2 World Cup qualifying victory over Gambia on Tuesday. He could return in time for Saturday.

--Field Level Media