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Soccer

LAFC entering an important — and tough — stretch of its schedule

Montreal Impact midfielder Shamit Shome (28) vies with Los Angeles FC defender Eddie Segura (4) of C
Montreal Impact midfielder Shamit Shome, left, and LAFC defender Eddie Segura chase after the ball during a match on May 24. LAFC will play six games in 21 days starting Friday.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

After a lax month that saw it play just three times since Memorial Day, LAFC returns to MLS competition Friday in Colorado, beginning a run of six games in 21 days.

“We always knew when we got to the end of June things were going to really pick up,” coach Bob Bradley said. “It’s a tough stretch.”

Indeed it is because after Colorado, LAFC (an MLS-leading 11-1-4) will play at Kansas City on July 3, at home against Vancouver on July 6, at home against Portland in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal on July 10, and at Houston in a MLS game on July 12. LAFC then closes the stretch with the first El Trafico against the Galaxy on July 19 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

And it will play most of those games without three starters — goalkeeper Tyler Miller, center back Walker Zimmerman and midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye — who are playing with their national teams in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. That tournament ends July 7.

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Meanwhile, the Galaxy’s game Saturday at Stanford Stadium is notable for another reason: It marks the first MLS matchup between former Argentina coaches Guillermo Barros Schelotto of the Galaxy and Matias Almeyda of the San Jose Earthquakes.

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Schelotto took Boca Juniors to consecutive league titles before joining the Galaxy in January, while Almeyda guided River Plate back to the first division in 2012, then moved on to Chivas of Mexico’s Liga MX and eventually San Jose.

The Galaxy (10-6-1), who have won three of their last four in MLS play, will be missing four starters to international duty in midfielders Jonathan dos Santos and Uriel Antuna, who are both with Mexico, and defenders Giancarlo Gonzalez and Rolf Feltscher, who are with Costa Rica and Venezuela, respectively.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com | Twitter: @kbaxter11


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