With the MLS All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, everything is there for Los Angeles FC to take as the season enters the stretch run toward the playoffs.
On Saturday night, LAFC looks to solidify their hold on the Supporters' Shield, the trophy for the best overall mark in MLS, as the Black and Gold host expansion team Charlotte FC.
LAFC are a robust 16-4-3 with 51 points, giving the team not only the league's best record but a six-point lead on second-place Austin FC in the West and for the Supporters' Shield.
The team has won five straight matches and is so loaded with talent and depth that it has 14 goals from substitutes this season, including two from superstar Gareth Bale in his first four appearances.
LAFC can set a franchise record for most consecutive wins with a victory Saturday. That streak currently stands at five, and in five games against expansion teams in club history, LAFC is undefeated.
"We're preparing him for playoffs to be at a dominant level and of course with (Bale), with Giorgio (Chiellini), with all the team we have, the only goal we have is the championship," LAFC team captain Carlos Vela said according to the MLS website. "If we don't make it, it will be something bad for us."
Charlotte interim head coach Christian Lattanzio said the focus is inward on what the team needs to improve. The club (9-13-2, 29 points) has just one win in its last four games and sits 11th in the East.
"LAFC is one of the best teams in the league without a doubt," Lattanzio said. "We want to compete and make everyone proud of our performance."
Forward and designated player Karol Swiderski leads Charlotte FC with seven goals this season. LAFC are led by Cristian Arango's 11, with seven from Vela.
--Field Level Media