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LAFC vs Houston Dynamo – MLS Cup playoffs preview: TV channel, live stream, team news & prediction

The reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC play host to Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference finals of the playoffs on December 2 at BMO Stadium.

Two sides that have been on an incredible run leading up to and in the postseason clash with a trip to MLS Cup final at stake.

The Black and Gold made light work of their first round opponents Vancouver Whitecaps after finishing in third place in the Western Conference table in 2023, sweeping the Canadian side before narrowly defeating Seattle Sounders in the conference semifinals 1-0 to advance to the next stage. Boaunga’s first-half strike, his fourth in the postseason, sealed the victory for LAFC.

The Dynamo’s wasn’t as straightforward for first-year head coach, who guided the team to their first playoff appearance since 2017 after they finished near the bottom of the West in 2022. Houston prevailed in penalty kicks over Real Salt Lake in game three to setup a conference semifinals clash with Sporting Kansas City, where like LAFC the Dynamo triumphed 1-0 to reach the Western Conference final thanks to a lone goal from Franco Escobar.

LAFC vs Houston Dynamo H2H record

Country

TV Channel / Live Stream

United States

Apple TV – MLS Season Pass

United Kingdom

Apple TV – MLS Season Pass

Canada

Apple TV +

The Black and Gold came away from their narrow triumph at Lumen Field with no new injury concerns or suspensions, meaning head coach Steve Cherundolo will have his full squad available for selection.

LAFC predicted lineup vs Houston Dynamo ( 4-3-3 ): Crepeau; Hollingshead, Murillo, Chiellini, Palacios; Tillman, Sanchez, Acosta; Olivera, Vela, Bouanga.

While the Dynamo have no new injuries after their win over SKC, they still have two players recovering from long-term problems.

Defender Tate Schmitt is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered back in April, while forward Ifunanyachi Achara is also on the road to recovery after suffering a knee injury back in April.

Olsen has relied on the likes of Franco Escobar and Griffin Dorsey to hold down the full-back position sin Schmitt’s absence, while Achara’s injury has seen Nelson Quinones and Ibrahim Aliyu have increased roles during the season.

LAFC will be the favorites given that they’re playing at home in front of their supporters and are eager to defend their MLS Cup title from a year ago, but the Dynamo will have other plans.

In the conference semifinals, LAFC wouldn’t have got past Seattle if wasn’t for an unreal performance from Maxime Crepeau, who made eight saves on the night while the team conceded an xG of 1.3. In fact, Crepeau faced an expected goals on target (xGOT0 of 2.37, but still kept a clean sheet due to the Sounders not being able to finish off chances.

The Sounders also totaled 16 shots, eight on target to LAFC’s seven, shots, two on target.

The Dynamo have plenty of forwards and midfielders that can put away chances and defend well, as they limited Kansas City to just 0.87 xG while creating an xG of 1.31 for themselves, outshooting SKC 15-12. Both teams tallied four shots on target.

Houston’s ability to finish off chances will see them just about get it over the line against the Black and Gold. The likes of Hector Herrera, Amine Bassi and Corey Baird are all more than capable of putting chances away to send Houston to MLS Cup final.

Prediction: LAFC 1-2 Houston Dynamo

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