By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
The Los Angeles Football Club kicked off their 2019 campaign in a thrilling 2-1 comeback over Sporting Kansas City at the Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.
After falling to SKC twice last year, LAFC found redemption Sunday night thanks to a pair of goals by Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande. Jordan Harvey who made the game-winning assist – celebrated his 300th MLS appearance. And Peter-Lee Vassell made his official club debut.
With an unchanged lineup following two Concacaf Champions League matches to advance to the quarterfinals – a vibrant atmosphere at the Banc did little to deter Kansas City from focusing on the task at hand. However, LAFC displayed a determination they lacked last season and held down the pressure on Sporting KC.
In the 16th minute, Krisztian Nemeth took the early lead for the visitors. Nemeth got the ball from outside the box and passed it to Johnny Russell, who returned it to his Hungarian teammate near the penalty spot. Nemeth then sent a low shot past Tyler Miller – scoring his third-straight goal in three consecutive matches.
Sporting would go on to press LAFC’s defense for a chance to double their lead involving a sequence of intricate exchanges between Gerso Fernandes and Johnny Russell; resulted in strikes from Nemeth and Felipe Gutierrez that were all saved by Miller.
LAFC countered with a few passes from Rossi and Carlos Vela. A dramatic first half saw five Sporting KC players receive yellow cards.
Shortly after the restart, Rossi leveled the match. The Uruguayan slid past Graham Zusi and Fernandes to cut inside and curl a shot just inside the far post past Tim Melia.
Sporting again would receive two additional cards with one resulting in a straight red for Roger Espinoza – before sharing a few with LAFC.
Even when down to 10 men, Sporting KC would continue to exchange blows with LAFC. Neither team was willing to compromise and were resilient in the defense. However, a persistent LAFC took back control.
Just when it seemed both teams would settle on a 1-1 draw – Diomande strikes a goal deep into stoppage time giving LAFC their first win of the new season and defeating SKC for the first time.
Photo credit: Daisy Jimenez/mlsfemale
Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1
Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale