Soccer

Despite losing players to World Cup, LAFC looks to continue winning ways in Houston

Los Angeles Football Club has an opportunity to move into first place in the MLS Western Conference on Tuesday evening when it takes on the Dynamo in Houston.

LAFC sits third in the West with 30 points, two behind first-place Sporting Kansas City and FC Dallas, meaning a victory would put the team in first place until at least Wednesday, when Kansas City and Dallas play Real Salt Lake and Atlanta United, respectively.

Coach Bob Bradley’s squad is on a five-game winning streak in all competitions, despite the absence of World Cup participants Carlos Vela, Omar Gaber and Marco Urena for all five victories. But Bradley said he believed the team would have a similar mentality traveling to Houston regardless of form.

“I don’t think we think about that,” Bradley said. “We just think, ‘How can we keep getting better?’ When you start with six road games, you don’t get too caught up with building confidence at home.”

LAFC is coming off a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium behind an Adama Diomande hat trick. Diomande, whose seven goals are a record for an MLS player’s first five games, said he felt comfortable playing for Bradley.

“I have a coach that believes in me, that’s something I didn’t always have at other clubs,” Diomande said. “I finally got to play the football I wanted to play, classic offensive football. I’m happy to be here with my family and I’m looking forward to the future.”

The Dynamo are seventh in the conference, just outside the playoff spaces, but have played three fewer games than sixth-placed Vancouver. Two Honduran wingers, Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto, have been Houston’s offensive stars this season, combining for 11 goals and 12 assists in MLS play.