New York City FC-Los Angeles FC Preview

The first meeting between New York City FC and expansion Los Angeles FC on Sunday at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles will feature more than the teams with two of the longest acronyms in MLS.

It will be between the teams that entered the weekend in second place in their respective conferences.

NYCFC (6-2-2) is behind only Atlanta United FC in the Eastern Conference, while LAFC (6-2-1) trails just Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference.

NYCFC will attempt to rebound from a 4-0 road loss last week to the New York Red Bulls. NYCFC is 2-2-2 in away matches.

“Players are coming back with more determination, more focus,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said. “I’ve seen the attitude I was expecting. I saw players who were hurt, disappointed by their performances and want to react. There is not a better game than going to L.A. than to show how strong we are as a team.”

LAFC, which played its first six matches on the road while its new 22,000-seat, $350 million stadium was completed, is 2-0-1 at home.

LAFC defeated Minnesota United 2-0 at midweek to extend its unbeaten streak to five matches (4-0-1). Mark-Anthony Kaye and 20-year-old Colombian Eduard Atuesta scored their first MLS goals six minutes apart.

“There’s enough good football to make us all feel like the things we’re doing are good things,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said after the match. “And there’s enough that needs to be improved that we’ll all show up and keep working…”

LAFC will again be without forward Marco Urena, who underwent facial surgery after suffering an injury in the home opener on April 29 against Seattle.

LAFC is among the league leaders with 17.6 shots and 6.2 shots on target per game. Carlos Vela (five goals, five assists) and Diego Rossi (four goals, six assists) lead the L.A. attack. Rossi is tied for the league lead in assists.

David Villa and Maximiliano Moralez lead the NYCFC offense (four goals, two assists apiece), followed closely by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (four goals, one assist) and Jesus Medina (two goals, five assists).

But NYCFC has been outscored 7-0 in its past two road matches.

“I don’t doubt that we’ll have a response to (the Red Bulls) game come (this) weekend,” NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson told amNewYork. “We’ve obviously done some good things this year but by no means can we take our foot off the gas pedal.”