We’re used to seeing success and failure come quickly for franchises in the NBA, NHL, and NFL. The St. Louis Rams won their only Super Bowl just a season after going 5-11. The Vegas Golden Knights nearly won the Stanley Cup as an expansion team and returned to the playoffs in 2019.
In the promotion-and-relegation world of soccer, clubs often take a longer, slower path to prominence. Favorite-and-underdog role reversals may be common among storied Premier League sides like Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea Football Club…but it would always be a shock to see Huddersfield a Las Vegas or London favorite over Man City in any season.
Major League Soccer’s competitive ladder is a little bit more apt to rapid change. Often, MLS clubs will have a wildly successful campaign only to fall prey to fatigue in the following season, once the CONCACAF Champions League winds to a close in spring.
But could anyone have imagined Los Angeles Football Club simply dominating American soccer just a few years into the team’s existence, and less than a year after its maiden playoff bid?
LAFC has played 20 matches so far in 2019, winning 14 and losing only 2. The club’s win total is 4 games clear of the next-best current MLS records, and its amazing goal total of 53 surpasses the next-best attack by double-digits.
It’s no wonder that the Black and Gold is a (-108) moneyline favorite to beat the rival L.A. Galaxy – a club that has been among the most celebrated of MLS for many years – on Friday night.
L.A. Galaxy vs LAFC: Friday’s Current Betting Lines (or Line)
I’m surprised to see few betting odds on Friday’s marquee prime-time MLS kickoff as of Tuesday afternoon EST.
Yes, it’s indeed impossible for soccer betting sites to offer odds on every league in the humongous world of club football. And I understand that sportsbooks like to put out MLS lines in chronological order on a few days’ advance – there are plenty of other matches in the offing prior to this weekend.
But it’s not like there’s a whole lot going on in soccer at the moment – not after the CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and FIFA Women’s World Cup competitions all ended 2 Sundays ago.
The Premier League is taking a short break for the only time all year. So are most of the club leagues in Europe. Only the Africa Cup of Nations is currently taking up handicappers’ time on the world stage.
So why not offer some early opening lines on the Galaxy and LAFC?
They’re not available at Bovada Sportsbook – yet. Nor are they offered at BetOnline, another big-shot in the community of soccer gambling. That’s not a good sign if you’re looking to wager before the numbers move in either direction.
MyBookie to the rescue! Our pals at the Costa Rican sportsbook have seen fit to put out 1 – just 1 – market on the weekend contest at Dignity Health Tennis Center.
Here’s an image of a soccer match there…just so you know it’s not a bunch of tennis courts.
The fact that there are no multiple gambling lines across separate sportsbooks means that this post will be shorter than our typical soccer entry at LegitGamblingSites.com.
But it also means we’d better focus on the MyBookie moneyline – the only current moneyline – which marks LAFC as a (-108) favorite next to (+217) for the L.A. Galaxy and (+311) for a 90+ minute draw.
First though, let’s look at why the Black and Gold are such a dominant unit in 2019.
LAFC: Los Angeles Foes Clobbered
The LAFC offense is on fire, led by Mexico National Team forward Carlos Vela. Vela is leading the MLS scoring race by an amazing 6 tallies with 19 goals on the 2019 season so far, including this beauty of an insurance marker against Sporting K.C. earlier in July.
Vela isn’t the only Los Angeles attacker who’s hurting opposing keepers this summer. 21-year-old Diego Rossi is in double-digits as well, playing like he wants to legitimize MLS soccer and earn a future place on the Uruguay National Team roster in a single season of brilliance.
The club is confidently playing numbers forward out of skipper Bob Bradley’s 4-3-3 with Vela and Rossi flanking the front of the formation. It’s not exactly a cautious lock-down style despite the traditional alignment, and opponents have been able to pierce GK Tyler Miller early in the 1st half.
It just doesn’t matter when an attack is so cocksure and unstoppable as LAFC in ’19.
Los Angeles fell behind 0-1 last Friday night against the Houston Dynamo in just the 3rd minute. Houston’s midfield played a hard and physical match, called for 11 fouls and holding the favorites to just 2 corner kicks. But once Norwegian forward Adama Diomande scored twice for LAFC to end the 1st half, it was katy-bar-the-door for Space City.
The club’s prior fixture turned into even more of a landslide against a game opponent. The visiting Vancouver Whitecaps scored in the 5th minute of a match at Banc of California Stadium (the C instead of K stands for “inCredibly pretentious name”) but might as well have been fighting bullets with a BB gun. An own-goal by Vancouver made the Whitecap backline just a little bit anxious in the 35th minute, and the hosts rallied to take advantage as Vela scored twice in a 6-1 punishment.
LAFC’s backline isn’t amazing, but it’s got enough to defend the average attack and move the ball forward quickly. Meanwhile, opposing defenders are too scared out of their wits to bring forward numbers of their own.
Can the Galaxy mount any kind of steady attack on Friday night that won’t be devilishly countered by the best forward line in America?
The Galaxy From A to Zlaten
Galaxy supporters are overjoyed that veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimović has been cleared to play against LAFC on Friday. Ibrahimović has scored an impressive 5 game-winning goals in 2019, a tally they’d probably prefer to call “match-winning goals” or “fixture finishers” across the pond.
But the footballer’s advanced age of 37 and fragile roster status underscores a depth issue for Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s squad this year.
Almost no other Galaxy forwards are scoring any goals at all – the club’s current runner-up in scoring is defender Daniel Steres with 3 scores – not a bad number at all for a defender, but pretty lousy for the 2nd top attacker on the squad.
The lack of scoring is rearing its ugly head at bad times, keeping the club in 3rd place in the Western Conference despite a capable backline led by Steres at center-back and David Bingham between the posts.
For instance, the Galaxy appeared to be building some type of recent momentum with early-summer wins over Cincinnati and Toronto. San Jose blanked the squad 3-0 on June 29th, but a quick-draw rematch at “Tennis” center seemed to be “rallying” quite well for the Orange and Blue after left-back Rolf Feltscher scored in the very early going.
Then the team got stuck in clay, unable to attack out of a 5-across midfield, and lost 3-1 to the Earthquake not long after an actual earthquake had rattled California.
That result occurred despite Jonathan dos Santos and Uriel Antuna returning to beef-up the middle of the Galaxy formation against San Jose.
5-across-the-middle (or even the backline) could be an interesting idea against LAFC – try to frustrate the 53-goal attackers into making a mistake while trying for that 54th.
But the Black and Gold has faced many such gambits in 2019 – and the last time the City of Angels upstarts were shut out in an MLS match was on a June trip to Colorado in which keeper Tim Howard and a 4-4-1-1 Rapids formation managed to hold Bradley’s team to “only” 12 shot attempts and 66% ball possession.
That’s probably not a recipe for success against LAFC beyond the 90+ minutes it happened to work. Especially given the injuries and lack of roster stability which could continue to plague the more-well known of the 2 Los Angeles clubs throughout the rest of the year.
L.A. Galaxy vs LAFC: Best Bet on the MyBookie Moneyline
The “Draw” market at MyBookie is taboo because the Galaxy has hardly played to any draws all season.
In fact, I’d be more confident of the L.A. Galaxy eke-ing out a draw if they weren’t hosting the fixture on Friday.
With a lock-down defensive game plan and the old striker lurking up front to keep the LAFC midfield honest, you could imagine the Galaxy making an 0-0 or 1-1 draw with enough luck.
But playing at home on national TV, the club will have too much pride to sit back…which will work to the lineup’s detriment.
Los Angeles Football Club has been showing 1 opponent after another that “poking the bear” is a bad idea – but a bunch of Yankee footballers from a long-time celebrated club won’t be able to resist wrestling that mukwa in front of a hot SoCal crowd.
Let’s hope there aren’t any lasting scars from the carnage.