fBy Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
The Los Angeles Football Club is closing in to win their first-ever Supporters’ Shield thanks to goals from Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, and Josh Perez. Together, they have kept the club atop of the standings and undefeated at home, most recently in a 4-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.
Despite having an excellent outcome, the match did not kick off to a strong start as poor passing from the home team led the Quakes to the door of LAFC’s goal. Fortunately, the shot went wide.
A breakthrough came just six minutes in with Rossi getting the early lead off the rebound. Eduard Atuesta sent a through ball from the midfield, landing to Perez. Perez one-timed a curled shot towards the far post that was saved, but Rossi was there to bury it.
The nightmare began for the visitors as LAFC was awarded the penalty after Anibal Godoy blocked Lee Nguyen’s shot with his hand and was called for a handball. Carlos Vela stepped up to convert, and score his 25th career goal, after VAR confirmed the penalty.
In the 37th minute, Vako went to score at close range, but Jordan Harvey made a diving save in front of Miller to deny the Quakes’ player.
And then… insanity broke out.
If the match wasn’t already crazy enough, the Quakes’ head coach, Matias Almeyda, was visibly distraught as the referee rejected his request to review the play – alleging Harvey committed a hand ball. A similar call awarded LAFC a penalty moments earlier. Kevin Stott ultimately ejected both Almeyda and his translator. After four minutes of protesting, the coach agreed to leave, but not without stopping to yell back at a fan.
In the midst of the spectacle the sidelines, the captain put LAFC up 3-0 in the 41st minute, scoring his 26th career goal.
While LAFC was busy running up the score, San Jose did produce an equal amount of opportunities and Miller came up huge every time.
Early in the second half, Cristian Espinoza found space on the right side of the box and lasered a shot near the post that was firmly blocked out by Miller.
Wearing a protective mask, Mohamed El-Munir came on to replace Harvey in the 62nd minute to make his first appearance since suffering a facial fracture on July 19. The next minute, Adama Diomande subbed on for Rossi.
The Quakes desperately continued to try to get on the scoreboard but the New Jersey native kept them at bay. Miller made a fingertip save on a Quakes’ shot that clanked off the post in the 78th minute. Guram Kashia pounced on the bouncing rebound but put it over the net for a goal kick.
Josh Perez had a total of five chances throughout the match, and his moment finally came in the 80th minute when the 21-year-old scored his first ever goal for the club off a pass from Mark-Anthony Kaye.
Diomande scored late into stoppage time but the ref called him for a foul and took back the goal. Despite the call, the Black-and-Gold secured another three points, putting them up to a total of 61 points.
The win, without a doubt, gave LAFC even more confidence before they host the LA Galaxy in the second edition of this year’s El Tráfico on Sunday.
Just like how fans were chanting, “We want Carson!” following the win, LAFC is presumably ready with a lineup at full strength. But, is it enough beat Zlatan’s mental antics?
Featured Image: LAFC
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