Contact Form

    News Details

    LAFC gets Dénis Bouanga back for showdown with Seattle
    • June 21, 2023

    Throughout a season-worst defeat in Houston earlier this month, the Los Angeles Football Club played scattered and slow.

    Notable in its absence: LAFC’s timely press, which forces turnovers across dangerous areas and keys counter-attacks for the team with the most goals in MLS since 2018.

    “Everybody had their own idea and that’s never going to look good,” LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo said. “We have one collective idea. Even if it’s a poor idea. It’s still better than 11 good individual ideas.”

    Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas, for the first time in several weeks, LAFC played like it had an idea of what to do and ended its three-match winless streak as well as a club-record scoreless drought.

    “We were in better positions as a group,” Cherundolo said. “Closer and connected and compact. That makes a world of difference. We’re all on the same page.”

    Success born from group efforts has been the norm under Cherundolo – making the moments when LAFC has stumbled more pronounced.

    Beating Sporting Kansas City gave Cherundolo the most regular-season wins (29) and points (96) for a manager in his first 50 MLS regular-season matches. It also drew LAFC (8-3-5, 29 points) level with St. Louis (9-6-2) atop the Western Conference standings, one point above Wednesday’s opponent at BMO Stadium.

    Hosting the habitually competitive Seattle Sounders (8-6-4, 28 points), LAFC will get a boost as forward Dénis Bouanga returns for the important midseason confrontation.

    After missing his first two MLS matches of the season while playing internationally in an African Cup of Nations qualifier for Gabon, Bouanga fell three goals behind Hany Mukhtar in the MLS golden boot race.

    Though Bouanga and his 10 league goals are back in the mix, other pieces won’t be.

    Midfielder Jose Cifuentes remains with the Ecuadorian national team, which played Tuesday.

    Defender Aaron Long has joined the U.S. men for the upcoming Gold Cup.

    Jesus Murillo is out for a couple of weeks, Cherundolo said, with an injury suffered in Kansas City.

    Sergi Palencia remains sidelined.

    Kellyn Acosta and Timothy Tillman continue to be questionable in the midfield.

    The state of affairs has created opportunities for LAFC’s youthful players to get meaningful minutes.

    Their next chance comes against a western stalwart that had not scored more than once over 10 straight league matches until a 3-3 draw in Charlotte on last weekend.

    Raul Ruidiaz’s two goals in his return to the Sounders’ starting lineup for the first time since mid-April accounted for the difference.

    “The team being in an attacking mindset and scoring three goals on the road was a real step forward,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said.

    With scoring difficult to come by, Seattle’s Stefan Frei has stepped up.

    Conceding nearly two goals per game less than expected thanks to an MLS-best nine shutouts midway through his 10th season as the Sounders No. 1 goalkeeper, Frei, 37, kept LAFC off the board at Lumen Field in Seattle on March 18, preserving a scoreless draw opposite John McCarthy.


    When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

    Where: BMO Stadium

    TV/radio: Apple TV+ (MLS Season Pass), 710 AM, 980 AM

    Related Articles

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    Carlos Vela helps LAFC end skid with victory over Sporting KC

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    LAFC searching for the kind of spark Sporting KC found

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    LAFC’s scoring struggles continue in loss to Dynamo

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    LAFC has chance to regroup against Houston

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    Second-half surge leads Dynamo to victory over LAFC

    ​ Orange County Register