Steve Cherundolo detailed that his “healthy group” of LAFC players have been key to their recent success ahead of their encounter with Houston Dynamo on Sunday.

The LAFC head coach oversaw yet another win last time out, beating LA Galaxy in their rivalry encounter thanks to goals from Denis Bouanga and Kei Kamara.

Heading into the contest at the Shell Energy Stadium, LAFC sit at the top of the Western Conference table, three points ahead of Real Salt Lake.

Cherundolo’s side are now unbeaten in their last 10 MLS fixtures, and the 45-year-old was able to detail the secret formula behind his team’s impressive run.

“I think it’s down to the basics,” Cherundolo said. “It’s always reminding the group what they do well and what we need to do in order to win games.

“These are things we talk about and work on daily, but at the same time you have to create an atmosphere and a culture that is comfortable for the players and put them in a position to succeed week in, week out.

“Not to push too hard, but not too little, and you have to find that sweet spot with the group.

“Judging by what I see in the locker room before the game, at half-time and after the game, this is a very healthy group, mentally, and they take care of each other. It’s a tough group to beat.”

Meanwhile, Houston were compounded to their first defeat in six matches at the hands of Salt Lake, despite taking an eighth minute lead through Ibrahim Aliyu.

Ben Olsen’s side sit in seventh place heading into the encounter, level on points with Portland Timbers and just a point behind Vancouver Whitecaps.

The loss proved to be a disappointing one from the Houston head coach’s point of view, but he was able to take the positives from the game, having seen his side score 13 goals in their last six league fixtures.

“I don’t think we learned anything that I already know about our team,” Olsen said.

“I was disappointed with our mentality and the start with the attention to detail, the urgency.

“But we scored two goals. We should have had three or four, but it came down to some moments.

“The goal-scoring, we can still put up numbers and I guess that is a positive. But the negative is the goals themselves that we conceded as a team.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

Should the Dynamo put an end to their winless run, Ibrahim Aliyu will be key for Olsen’s side on home turf.

Aliyu netted back-to-back goals for the second time this season, taking his tally to six for the campaign, and is the joint-top scorer alongside Latif Blessing for Houston.

LAFC – Denis Bouanga

Denis Bouanga’s recent hotstreak in front of goal has contributed to LAFC’s success in the league, and the Gabon international will be keen to add to his 14 MLS goals this weekend.

Bouanga has formed a great understanding alongside Mateusz Bogusz with the pair both notching goal contributions in their win over LA Galaxy. Their goal and assist were a league-leading 10th time they have both contributed to a goal in the same match this season.

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

While LAFC slightly edged Opta’s data-led simulations, Houston boast an impressive record against their opponents when welcoming them to the Shell Energy Stadium.

The Dynamo have lost only one of their six home matches against Los Angeles FC (W2 D3), winning each of the last two on home soil after failing to win any of the first four in all competitions.

However, Olsen’s side have just one victory to their name in their last 14 league matches, (D5 L5) dating back to mid-April after winning four of their previous five games (L1).

The Black and Gold are the in-form team in the Western Conference and will be keen to extend their lead at the summit of the table. LAFC became the first team since Sporting Kansas City in 2011-12 season to win 11 times in a span of 12 matches in all competitions.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Houston Dynamo – 34.9%

Draw- 25.9%

LAFC – 39.2%