FC Cincinnati vs Los Angeles FC Preview, Betting Picks, Predictions: LAFC Can Win On The Road

Carlos VelaA Cincinnati side looking to improve its fortunes after a run of games without a victory in Major League Soccer plays host to Los Angeles FC at TQL Stadium on Sunday (5pm ET; TV: Live on Fox Sports).

The visitors will be looking for another win after bouncing back to beat Sporting Kansas City last time out. Can they get it? This preview with its predictions and betting picks should answer that.

For the hosts, the recent record looks somewhat bleak. Sure, they got the job done in the US Open Cup during the week, but they needed extra time to do so. That doesn’t exactly paint them in the best light considering that the opposition came from the USL, which is effectively America’s second tier. Prior to that cup game, the Orange and Blue fought hard for a point in Georgia, holding Atlanta United to a goalless tie, a result which is their best in the MLS for a while, following defeats to both CF Montreal and Charlotte.

It has been a slightly stop and start campaign so far for LAFC, but the team looking to go all the way still sits top of the Western Conference after seven games, five of which they’ve won. Losing to city rivals LA Galaxy a few weeks ago certainly wasn’t the plan for Steve Cherundolo’s men, but they reacted well last weekend, beating SKC by three goals to one. They continued to thrive in the US Open Cup just a few days ago, notching five on their way to an easy win over USL side Orange County. Now with their tails up, the boys in black will aim to put another three points on the board.

Problems at the back

The Cincinnati boys arrive here without a win in three, and though their failure to score last time out (in MLS) points towards offensive problems, many of their issues have been of a defensive nature. Keeping teams out is something this side doesn’t really do, despite what that clean sheet at Mercedes Benz Stadium suggests. Sunday’s hosts have conceded in six out of seven this season, conceding two or more in three of those six.

Not only have they conceded goals on a regular basis, but they have not stopped their opponents from creating at any point, surrendering an average of 1.74 expected goals. Even when they recorded that shutout in Atlanta last weekend, they gave up a chunky 2.7 xG, which suggests that they had good fortune rather than defensive solidity to thank.

Best in the business

Though their record isn’t quite flawless, losing to LA Galaxy and tying with the Portland Timbers, LAFC have impressed more than any other side in the Western Conference so far this season, at least in terms of creating more than they surrender.

As things stand, an average expected goal difference of +0.92 is the best in the west, by quite a distance, while they’re also the joint top-scorers with 17 goals scored. A couple of teams have conceded fewer goals than the seven shipped by Cherundolo’s men, but nobody has given away fewer expected goals, which tells us that they are the hardest team to create against.

Even on the road, Sunday’s visitors have made light work of outdoing teams. OK, they did lose to the Galaxy when last in away-day action, but they created more than their opponents, producing 2.1 xG to Galaxy’s 1.2. They’ve created more than they’ve conceded in terms of expected goals in three out of three on the road, so they know how to get on top, that’s for sure. Their traveling expected goal difference currently stands at +0.86 per 90 minutes. Unsurprisingly, no team in the west comes close to that.

FCCincy vs LAFC: Take the travelers

If you’re looking to bet this fixture, then keep things simple and bet on the away win, which at current odds of -105 on the moneyline is hard to oppose. Such a betting line probably won’t turn many heads, but there’s a real disparity in quality here, so it could easily be shorter.

In every area, LAFC look much stronger than Saturday’s hosts, who right now have a goal difference of -6, which is far cry from the +10-goal difference that the visitors boast. When it comes to average expected goal difference, as touched on in this preview above, the Los Angeles boys are currently operating at +0.92, while Cincinnati’s is -0.09. The hosts create less, they allow their opponents to create more, and crucially they score less and concede more than the visitors, who have the quality to get the job done on the road.

Mexican to add the magic

LAFC’s talisman Carlos Vela still hasn’t added to the four goals that he scored across the opening four matches, meaning that he has now gone three league starts and one cup substitution appearance without a goal, but do not let that put you off the Mexican.

Anybody who watches Major League Soccer on even a semi-regular basis knows that it won’t be long before the goal-getter is back among the goals, and a match against a rather weak Cincinnati back-line presents him with the perfect opportunity to regain his scoring touch. With the 33-year-old marksman averaging 2.88 shots per 90 minutes, as well 0.46 xG per 90 minutes, he’s supported to do the business on Sunday. These are the betting picks and predictions for this FCCincy vs LAFC preview:

  • Los Angeles FC to win on the moneyline @ -105 with Bovada. Next best is -110 with BetOnline.
  • Carlos Vela to score any time @ +135 with EveryGame. It is +130 with Bovada.