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With Carlos Vela back, LAFC will try for three points vs. NYCFC

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With Carlos Vela back in the starting mix, Los Angeles FC will look to generate the results that were expected of them as they host New York City FC on Saturday.

Vela was back in the lineup last Saturday against the Colorado Rapids after recovering from a quadriceps injury, and LAFC (2-2-2, 8 points) ended a four-game winless run with a 2-1 victory. The last time Vela started a game was a season-opening victory against Austin FC.

The forward played a season-best 59 minutes against the Rapids, making his presence felt with an early cross that nearly led to a goal. That was followed by his assist in the 33rd minute on a goal from Diego Rossi. It was the second of two Rossi goals on the day.

The result was fairly predictable. When Vela is in the starting lineup in the regular season, LAFC is 35-10-18. When he doesn’t start, the club is 13-13-7.

“We become more fluid,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said about Vela’s presence. “Just the way he’s able to take certain balls and find a way to move inside and get away from a defender. That’s really important for us. … So he came out of it feeling good, and we’ll build on it.”

NYCFC (2-2-2, 8 points) will enter the cross-conference and cross-country matchup off a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew last Saturday. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored in the 18th minute, but NYCFC couldn’t hang on.

NYCFC will look to improve on defending set pieces after Columbus’ Lucas Zelarayan scored on a free kick in the 82nd minute and another in the fifth minute of stoppage time. The defeat ended NYCFC’s 2-0-2 run over their previous four games.

Talles Magno is expected to make his NYCFC debut Saturday after he was acquired via $8 million transfer from Vasco da Gama in Brazil. The 18-year-old midfielder figures to play less than 20 minutes, though, as he continues to recover from a knee injury.

“He has the potential to play in the big leagues for big teams and already at the age of 18 he’ll be an important player for us,” NYCFC coach Ronny Deila said. “That says something about his talent.”

–Field Level Media

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