After a couple of weeks off from action, LAFC are back, refreshed, and ready to make their 2023 Leagues Cup debut. The new tournament is in full swing having just completed Group Stage play, with LAFC enjoying the perks of being defending MLS Cup Champions, as they were given a bye until the knockout stages. That starts tonight for the black & gold as they are focused on winning it all, but more importantly, hoping to build some momentum as they head into the final push of MLS Regular Season.
Matchday: @LeaguesCup Round of 32
— LAFC (@LAFC) August 2, 2023
“On a personal level, I benefit from some much-needed time off with the family, I think that goes for the rest of the staff, and the team” said LAFC Head Coach Steve Cherundolo, opening up his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s match. “We also got to build and implement some training sessions, which we haven’t been able to do for what feels like the entire season.” The last part is the most important for LAFC.
Having wrapped up a record-setting 33 matches this season up to this point, the team have had to deal with a pact schedule, often having to make game-by-game adjustments on the fly as they also navigate fatigue and injuries. Despite sitting in second place in the Western Conference, Los Angeles have been dealing with piling injuries, players departing, and form that has been inconsistent at best in recent matches.
“I think it was a really good break” said LAFC Captain Carlos Vela in his pre-match press conference. “It was a good break for us physically but more importantly, mentally, we get that excitement back. You get into the routine of ‘oh another game, lets win it’ and you lose a little bit of what you are because it’s just again, and again, and again. After the break, I see people really excited to play again, to compete again, and of course fight for titles again.”
Thea team start their Leagues Cup journey against Liga MX side, FC Juárez, who they will be facing off against for the first time ever. LAFC know how tricky a Liga MX opponent can be, even if you are at home, and FC Juárez are a team that has played really well in recent matches, their latest a 3-1 win on the road against MLS side, Austin FC in Leagues Cup Group Stage play.
While it may not be the most prestigious tournament the club could win, there are some pretty hefty stakes for this match. The top three teams will get spots in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup, while the winners will take away the trophy, a nice chunk of prize money, as well as bragging rights. For LAFC, this tournament is also a launching pad of sorts. A chance to get back to winning consistently, as they eye repeating as MLS Cup Champions. Now, we see if that break did them some good.
How to Watch
The match will kickoff from BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, California at 7:30pm PT. The match can be streamed live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. You can also listen to the broadcast in both English, on 710AM ESPN LA, or Spanish, on 980AM La Mera Mera.