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MLS

Kellyn Acosta eyes another MLS Cup title with LAFC

The USMNT star spoke about LA’s soccer heritage, growing the game and being a part of the next great American sporting dynasty.

Update:
LAFC the next West coast dynasty?
KEVORK DJANSEZIANAFP

LAFC are now just one game away from retaining MLS Cup.

If they beat Columbus Crew on Saturday they will become just the fourth team, and the first in more than a decade, to go back-to-back. All-action midfielder Kellyn Acosta scored the opening goal in the 2022 final and will be key if LAFC are to emerge victorious again this year.

The 28-year-old is well aware of what another success could mean for soccer in Los Angeles and further afield. Delivering another title would not only reiterate LAFC’s status as the best in the league but could also bring mainstream attention and legions of new fans to the game.

Ahead of Saturday’s MLS Cup clash, Acosta spoke about the potential impact of an LAFC victory.

“People like winners. If you look at other sports, people might not know much about the Patriots but they like them. The Warriors, the Lakers; we’re trying to keep that tradition alive here in LA. This is a beautiful opportunity for us to bring new supporters into the game.”

“It’s easy to follow a team that wins so we’re trying to keep on that path.”

LAFC the next West coast dynasty?

The Black and Gold are looking to follow in the footsteps of DC United, Houston Dynamo and city rivals LA Galaxy in retaining MLS Cup. The Galaxy’s back-to-back triumph came in 2011 and 2012; no team has managed to match that achievement in the past decade.

The Galaxy team that managed it last featured the likes of David Beckham and Landon Donovan, with legendary head coach Bruce Arena on the touchline. That team defined an era for MLS and helped to bolster the league’s reputation globally.

The modern rivalry between LA Galaxy, one of the league’s ten founding teams, and young upstarts LAFC is keenly felt, but Acosta has respect for the progress made by the five-time champions.

“A lot of credit goes to the Galaxy for what they have achieved over the years. They were the team to be reckoned with. Credit to David Beckham coming in and to the organisation as a whole. And I give credit to our organisation as well, filling in the gaps of what is needed culturally for the city to really adopt the game and to propel the game forward.”

Two of the best in the West go head-to-head
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LAFC have found huge support among the city's Hispanic population.ALLISON DINNEREFE

That all-conquering LA Galaxy side combined a winning team with a broad commercial appeal to help grow MLS in the domestic market and give the league a truly global presence. The arrival of Beckham caught the eye, but it was the team’s dominance that truly captured attentions.

If LAFC end this season with another MLS Cup, they can stake a claim to be the United States’ next top soccer export.

LAFC can help to grow the game

Acosta made his MLS debut for FC Dallas back in 2013, two years before LAFC had even been announced as an expansion team. A decade on the team stand on the brink of MLS history and could go on to establish themselves as one of the league’s top sides for years to come.

Just as the Galaxy did before them, LAFC’s on-field success and off-field glamour has helped to bring new fans to the league and new audiences to sport. A recent LAFC-Inter Miami fixture saw the likes of Selena Gomez, Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince Harry flock to BMO Stadium.

With the United States set to host both the 2024 Copa América and the 2026 World Cup, Acosta is eager to be a part of the surge of interest in the soccer.

“It’s great to see the movement of the sport, how much it’s growing and building. Hopefully it keeps trending positively with the tournaments, the World Cup and everything that’s coming. It’s exciting times and hopefully the sport will continue growing.”

LAFC are just 90 minutes away from joining LA Galaxy on the pantheon of MLS Cup repeat winners. Does this make Los Angeles the No. 1 soccer city in the United States? Acosta, perhaps understandably, isn’t quite ready to bestow that honour.

“I can’t say that, being from Dallas! But it’s definitely great, for sure.”

LAFC take on Columbus Crew on Saturday, 9 December. Here’s how to watch the game for free.

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