All posts by avaraceli

LAFC Concludes 2019 Season At Home In 3-1 Loss

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club’s record-setting season came to an end Tuesday night in a 3-1 home loss to the Seattle Sounders marking the club’s first loss to Seattle. 

In a high-energy, physical match, Eduard Atuesta gave the Black & Gold the early lead in the 17th minute with a rocket shot off a free kick.

But Seattle’s physicality, energy, and persistence would soon overpower the Supporters’ Shield winners – as they struck back in the 22nd minute. Raul Ruidiaz rounded Eddie Segura and, beating Tyler, ripped a shot inside the near post for the equalizer.

Four minutes later, an unmarked Nicolas Lodeiro took the lead when he received the ball just outside the top of the box and took his time slotting home a grounded shot inside the right post.

Latif Blessing went down with a groin injury just before halftime, forcing LAFC to make a early substitution – Mark-Anthony Kaye made his return. 

In the 53rd minute, still down a goal, Adama Diomande who helped the club advance to the next round replaced Brian Rodriguez.

Much like Lodeiro’s goal in the first half, Ruidiaz found himself unmarked at the top of the box in the 64th minute. But this time, it was Lodeiro who fed him the ball across the middle and before Segura could close the distance, Ruidiaz ripped a shot inside the left post to double Seattle’s lead, 3-1.

LAFC continued to push back against their physical opponent to find the breakthrough. However, they had trouble with converting their chances.

The club would get another opportunity to pull one back in the 54th minute when Diego Rossi picked out Diomande inside the box with a cross but could not connect with the forward. Blackmon got on the rebound to see his shot miss wide of the target.

Ruidiaz’s second goal would become the game winner eliminating LAFC from seeing the MLS Cup Final.

It’s not how we envisioned the season to end. But this club has several accomplishments to be proud of:

  • 2019 Supporters’ Shield winners
  • Carlos Vela won the Golden Boot
  • Head Coach Bob Bradley named MLS Coach of the Year

See you next season!

Featured Image:  Daisy Jimenez

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LAFC looks to silence Seattle in Tuesday’s showdown

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.

When: Tuesday, October 29th, 7:00 p.m. PT.

How to watch: ESPN, ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980


After defeating the LA Galaxy for the first time last week to advance to the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Football Club will have the chance to secure a spot in the 2019 MLS Cup in Tuesday’s night showdown against the Seattle Sounders.

LAFC is three wins and one draw in the four-game series against the Pacific Northwest opponents. The draw is at Century Link field and three victories at home in the Banc.

Photo image courtesy of the MLS’ app

The odds seem to be in LAFC’s favor. However, Seattle still proves to be a dangerous threat entering their 11th consecutive MLS playoffs finishing second in the west. And are coming off of two-straight wins against Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas.

MLS Comeback player Jordan Morris scored a hat trick on October 19 against FC Dallas. Although he did not score any goals in last weekend’s showdown against Real Salt Lake – Morris could be a pain for the Black & Gold.

Seattle may have playoffs experience but so do we.

Is Tyler Miller a concern?

Miller will likely continue to be the starting keeper for the remainder of the playoffs. Last Thursday, the young keeper produced three saves with a solid first-half performance. However, slight mistakes gave the Galaxy a chance to level the match and cut the deficit.

“I had a good two and half years at Seattle with two MLS Cup runs. Overall, it was a really good experience for me and now being here in the Western Conference Finals – it’s an exciting time,” Miller discussed about his former club during a press conference over the weekend.

Head Coach Bob Bradley had similar sentiments in giving Seattle credit for being “more solid in every way” this season and their past two playoffs competitions. And is aware the Black & Gold will need to be more prepared.

Dio is back!

The forward returned to the roster after a brief stint in the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program to bag a pair of goals late and the game-winner in the second half.

Starting XI predictions:

LAFC: Tyler Miller; Steven Beitashour, Tristan Blackmon, Eddie Segura, Jordan Harvey; Adama Diomande, Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing; Brian Rodriguez, Carlos Vela (C), Diego Rossi

Seattle Sounders: Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres, Kim Kee-hee, Brad Smith; Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, Joevin Jones, Nicolás Lodeiro (C), Jordan Morris; Raúl Ruidíaz

Featured Image:  @LAFC

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LAFC Advances to the Western Conference Finals in 5-3 Thriller

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club had the last laugh in an eight-goal thriller as they defeated the LA Galaxy, stamping their ticket to their first-ever Western Conference Final.

Brian Rodriguez moved the ball down the pitch, and rounded a Galaxy defender to send in the shot after a slow start from the home side. But as the script goes, the ball flew over the crossbar.

Carlos Vela scored the two opening goals in the 16th and 40th minutes to solidify LAFC’s lead. Cristian Pavon immediately answered the Golden Boot winner to put the visitors on the board and cut celebrations short before the half.

Dominating with 60.8% possession, the Galaxy quickly forced a spry Tyler Miller to save Giancarlo González’s header from the centre of the box shortly after the restart whistle. The 26-year-old keeper came up huge again in the 53rd minute to retrieve a loose ball after both sides scrambled inside the box to get a touch.

Zlatan leveled the match 2-2 in the 55th minute after the ball slipped through Miller’s legs into the net.

Bradley made a double substitution in the 59th minute that saw Adama Diomande and Walker Zimmerman enter the match in place of Rodriguez and Steven Beitashour. The pair made an immediate impact.

Just when it looked like history would repeat itself, Diego Rossi and Diomande scored back-to-back goals within a two-minute span to revive the Black & Gold’s two-goal lead just ten minutes after the Swede’s equalizing breakthrough.

Rolf Feltscher headed in the finisher off Romain Alessandrini’s free-kick to pull one back for the visitors in the 77th minute.

Three minutes later, Diomande dribbled the ball upfield, completely dismantling the Galaxy’s backline to score his second goal of the night and the club’s game winner, making it 5-3.

The final play fell to the Galaxy who continued knocking on LAFC’s door to keep their playoff hopes alive. Zlatan broke through four minutes into stoppage time to score a goal. But the ref disallowed it – sending the host to the Western Conference Finals.

The Black & Gold will face the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday, October 29 at the Banc of California Stadium. Kickoff is at 7p PST.

Featured Image:  LAFC

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El Trafico: Tristan Blackmon, “It’s a great rivalry for the city.”

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

From spending three loan spells with Phoenix Rising FC to raising the Supporters’ Shield, there is no slowing down for LAFC’s right back Tristan Blackmon.

The Las Vegas native became interested in the game at an early age in part to his mother having played herself in high school and looking up to legends like Ronaldinho, “soccer came second nature” to him growing up.

“[It] was an interesting lifestyle in terms of soccer in Vegas growing up. Playing club there weren’t many teams out there so I found myself venturing to tournaments in California or other states nearby to get good competitive games in.”

Like most, the LA Galaxy was his first MLS experience. Now on the opposite side of the rivalry – Tristan is grateful to be a part of history.

“It’s a great rivalry for the city. I think there’s going to be a lot of historic moments between these two teams in the future. This is going to be a long live rivalry for soccer in America. It’s awesome to be a part of the birth of that.”

Drafted third overall in 2018 MLS SuperDraft on January 19, 2018; signing on February 22 – the 23-year-old is living the player’s dream. Crediting the club’s “family lifestyle” to helping him cope with the growing pressures and successfulness of another season.

“I think coming in – the club welcomed me with open arms which made it very easy for me to transition into this type of lifestyle. All of us are a huge family and every day we are reminded of that coming into the facility. Recognizing that I’m part of something special definitely makes being here a lot easier.”

During his rookie year, Blackmon made his professional debut in a 1-0 win over Seattle on March 4 and earned his first MLS start in a 1-1 draw vs. DC United on May 26. Including, appearing in ten regular season MLS matches, five starts, for 491 minutes played.

While on loan to USL’s side Phoenix Rising FC, he posted eight starts across all competitions including the 2018 USL Cup final. Tristan returned to Phoenix for his third loan spell this season – making his first appearance on April 6 in a 0-0 draw over Fresno FC before returning to LA for the remainder of the season.

“I think the experience of going on loan definitely gave me confidence and getting games in. Just kind of feeling myself out again because I wasn’t playing too much last year here,” Tristan continues. “I’ve been playing a decent amount of games this year. And I feel like the team has helped me pushed to be a become a better player – which excites me.”

Tristan kicked off his second year with the Black & Gold on May 24 in the team’s 4-2 victory over Montreal Impact – posting his first career goal and assist on a memorable night. Blackmon has logged in one goal, four assists, 1377 minutes going into the postseason.

The young defender is fortunate to have veteran teammates like Carlos Vela and Walker Zimmerman to help guide him.

“I think not only on the field but off the field, these guys have really shown a humble side. [It’s] more like a brotherhood. [..] The veterans have helped me along the way in my path and my journey. And hopefully, I can shed that light on some young players in the future the same way they have on me.”

With another thrilling edition of El Trafico looming – Tristan and co. are ready. LAFC has been unsuccessful at subduing its rival in the five-game series. However, Blackmon is optimistic they will finally get the win with the team’s mentality they’ve had all year.

“We want to smash records and make history this year. In doing that we’re going to need to take down [LA Galaxy] – I feel like it was going to end up this way regardless. There’s always going to be an opponent in your way when you’re pushing to get trophies and results. At the end of the day, we want to get a win and we want to set the tone for the rest of the playoffs. But first, we have to make sure we handle business on Thursday night and I think everybody is up for the challenge.”

With a bye week and home-field advantage in hand, LAFC will face the LA Galaxy for a chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals at home on Thursday, October 24. Kickoff is at 7:30p PST.

Featured Image:  @LAFC

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Weekly Roundup: El Trafico, Dio Returns, Playoff Rally

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Playoffs Week is here!

El Trafico is coming back to the Banc for the Western Conference Semifinals.

Minnesota United fell to the LA Galaxy last night in a 2-1 loss at Allianz Stadium – advancing the Galaxy to the semifinals.

LAFC will host the much anticipated matchup on Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 PST.

Dio returns!

Major League Soccer reinstated Adama Diomande this past week. And he is eligible for selection for Thursday’s intense matchup.

Dio voluntarily entered MLS’ Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) program on September 20 and was assessed by SABH program doctors.

He has been cleared to resume all team activities, including competition. Dio was even seen training with the team last weekend during a special event for the fans.

Roster Injury Updates

  • Six minutes into Canada’s Concacaf Nations League match last Tuesday, Mark-Anthony Kaye exited with an apparent leg injury. Although it has not been determined what type of injury the midfielder has acquired – Kaye is on a day-to-day basis as he continues to receive treatment.
  • Walker Zimmerman suffered a concussion after colliding with Colorado Rapids forward Kei Kamara in LAFC’s 3-1 win over the Rapids on Decision Day. The injury kept the defender out of international duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team. According to Vince La Rosa, Zimmerman returned to full training last Wednesday and needs to get in as “many training sessions as possible to regain his fitness level” ahead of the playoffs.

The hype surrounding the playoffs is real!

LAFC players have been making numerous appearances around town all week in celebration of the upcoming playoffs.

Fans also attended a playoffs rally last night at the Banc to show their support for the Black & Gold.

Fans had the opportunity to enjoy live music, games, drink and food specials, and take photos with the Supporters’ Shield. They were also able to write a message for the players on the special “#ForLosAngeles” wall.

LAFC goes virtual

The club announced its official entry into eMLS, Major League Soccer’s competitive gaming league competing in the EA SPORTS™ FIFA franchise on October 17.

LAFC will host an “online selection qualifying tournament” in search of the club’s first-ever esports player to represent the club in eMLS competitions.

There will be three qualifying round competitions that will take place on October 26, November 1, and November 3 – top performers in the first three rounds will square off in the final on Wednesday, November 6.

Gold Links

Featured Image:  LAFC

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Making History: LAFC and Carlos Vela Cap Off the Regular Season On A High Note

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club closed the regular season in a 3-1 historic win over the Colorado Rapids on Sunday afternoon at Banc of California Stadium.

With the win the Black & Gold tied the all-time single-season goals record (85) and broke the all-time single-season points record (72). Plus, they finished the season with the best goal differential in league history (+48) and a 21-4-9 record.

The club controlled most of the first half with their efforts paying off as Carlos Vela scored in the 28th minute past an outstretched Tim Howard to give LAFC the lead and made history as he surpassing Josef Martinez’s record for the most goals in one season with a record-best of 34 goals.

Three minutes later, Tristian Blackmon heads in the ball to the Golden Boot winner inside the box. Vela score a stunning bicycle kick, his quick-fire brace doubling the team’s lead.

In the 40th minute, Kei Kamara’s header bounced off the post and into the back of the net putting the Rapids on the scoresheet – sending the sides into the half 2-1.

Eleven minutes after the restart, Vela capped off a historic season by scoring the hat-trick after a tapping in a goal off another cross by Blackmon.

Walker Zimmerman and Kamara clashed heads in the 70th minute. The Rapids player continued on but Walker was helped off the field after hitting the pitch face first. Steven Beitashour subbed in for the defender with twenty minutes left.

As a result, Zimmerman will not report to the United States Men’s National Team camp later this month as reported by LA Time’s Kevin Baxter:

The Black & Gold pushed forward to secure their historic win entering the playoffs on a high note.

Last week, LAFC clinched the 2019 Supporters’ Shield, securing the top spot in the Western Conference and a first-round bye in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. The Black & Gold will play the winner of Minnesota United and the Galaxy for the Western Conference Semifinal. Date and time will be announced at a later date.

Featured Image:  Imad Bolotok

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Carlos Vela: Beware of the Left Foot

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Carlos Vela continues to stun teams on a historic week with his signature left-foot curler following this past Sunday’s draw in Minnesota.

Last weekend, Vela gave the Black & Gold another opening goal for the second straight match. The goal was Vela’s 31st of the season, tying him with Josef Martinez for most in a season in MLS history.

Although the captain came dangerously close to breaking the record on the same night – he left the big moment for Decision Day.

The star striker has only missed three games this entire season. And his dedication to the team is upstanding. For example, he was seen on the sideline coaching his teammates after being taken out due to an injury. In the postmatch interview after their clash with Minnesota United – Vela continued to credit his team in aiding his success:

For the fifth time in 2019, Vela appeared on Team of the Week, and is currently leading the league in three categories: (31) goals, (154) shots, and, (67) shots on goal and ranks second in the Audi Player Index Ratings. In addition to being voted the MLS Player of the Month for March of the 2019 MLS season.

Aside from breaking league and personal records, the former Real Sociedad player is having a great year. He was named to the 2019 MLS All-Star roster and given the captain’s armband for the second year in a row this summer.

LAFC has been on yet another historic run this season – winning the 2019 Supporters’ Shield to secure the Western Conference; giving the Black & Gold home-field advantage throughout playoffs and are a win away from setting the new record for most points in a single season.

The 30-year-old has been part of the “DP Trio” with Diego Valeri and Brian Rodriguez. Sunday marked their third-straight match together. And the results looked promising – even though Rodriguez seemed to have trouble falling into place with the dynamic duo.

Earlier this season, I asked: Is he the next rising King of MLS?

Of course, it is still early to declare Vela the new MVP. But he and his left-foot have been consistently dominating the league for the past eight months.

LAFC will wrap up the regular season at home as they host the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, October 6.

Featured Image:  LAFC

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Best in the West: LAFC clinches 2019 Supporters’ Shield

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club clinched the 2019 Supporters’ Shield, making history as the team with the best record of the 2019 MLS season, with a 3-1 victory against the Houston Dynamo at the Banc.

Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and Eduard Atuesta delivered all three goals to secure the team’s first trophy; ensuring New York City FC, who kept their hopes alive in a win against Atlanta United earlier, cannot surpass the club by the end of the regular season.

Head Coach Bob Bradley fielded his usual lineup with a few changes that saw Tristian Blackmon and Mohamed El-Munir starting in place of Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey – the changes made a huge improvement in LAFC’s defense. There was also another strong showing of the DP trio (Vela, Rossi, Brian Rodriguez).

Dominating the game with 70.4% possession and having created two solid chances in the opening twelve minutes, the Black & Gold set the tone of the match.

In the 23rd minute, Rodriguez took a touch off a cross from Blackmon and was taken down near the penalty spot; awarding a penalty to the home side.

The captain converted the penalty to give LAFC the lead. After scoring his 30th goal – Vela was on the cusp of tying the all-time season record. Although he did not achieve this last night, I think a nice piece of silverware made up the difference.

Houston immediately leveled the match after forcing an own goal by Tyler Miller just five minutes later. The ball slipped through traffic to El-Munir who slid to block it, but the ball then deflected off Miller and back into the net.

The drama continued as the club earned a chance to double the lead in the 31st minute after Houston’s Aijaz Struna clipped Lee Nguyen from behind near the box. Referee Ramy Touchan almost awarded a second penalty but the decision was changed to a free kick after a quick VAR review.

Vela’s left footed shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced out; LAFC and the Dynamo fought for the live ball with it ultimately falling to Segura. Unfortunately, his rebound missed just wide of the goal.

The Black & Gold continued to push forward, creating more scoring opportunities. Rodriguez received the final play before the whistle. But his missed attempt lead both sides into the half in a 1-1 stalemate.

LAFC used it’s first substitution of the night shortly after the restart as Mark-Anthony Kaye entered for a visibly disappointed Rodriguez who had only seen 57 minutes of playing time.

Rossi put the team back ahead in the 70th minute after the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and the young forward was there to head it in putting the score up 2-1.

Atuesta’s curler in the 83rd minute was the icing on the cake – securing all three points and the club’s first trophy, while simultaneously eliminating the Dynamo from playoff contention.

With two games left in the regular season, the road to the MLS Cup becomes clearer for the Black & Gold, as they will now have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

LAFC will look to continue their good fortune when they travel to Allianz Field on Sunday, September 29 to face Minnesota United.

Until then, it’s time to celebrate!

Featured Image: Dejan Jakovic

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Sporting KC’s playoffs hopes dashed in 3-2 loss at home; have chance at redemption wednesday

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

To say this season has been stressful for Sporting Kansas City is an understatement. The club has yet see the top of standings; do they still have a chance to make the playoffs?

Maybe, but not likely.

Sporting KC suffered yet another devastating lost at Children’s Mercy Park at the hands of two former players, falling to the Colorado Rapids 3-2; dashing SKC’s playoffs hopes.

Hopes seemed high for the home side as they kicked off the match with Gerso scoring an early goal in the 3rd minute.

But things turned sour fast.

Matt Besler received two cautions resulting in a red card in the first twenty minutes and was ejected from the match. The captain’s ejection was the third of his career and arguably his quickest thus far.

Down a man, Sporting KC carried on to double their score with Roger Espinoza now donning the captain’s armband.

Johnny Russell created a scoring opportunity in the 13th minute when he passed a through ball to Krisztian Nemeth inside the box. But Nemeth’s right footed shot from the centre of the box was blocked.

Nemeth doubled Sporting KC’s lead after forcing the ball past Clint Irwin a minute later. However, the goal was later recorded as an own goal by Tommy Smith.

Kei Kamara’s bicycle kick put the Rapids on the scoreboard in the 42nd minute pushing the game to 2-1 into the half.

The Rapids continued to dominate possession, even though SKC remained dangerous on the counter attack. But the home side was again thwarted by a former player.

Diego Rubio found the equalizer in the 76th minute following a sequence ignited by Sam Nicholson’s powerful cross into a crowded box. The ball fell to the feet of Smith, and although Ilie was there to block the initial attempt, Smith tapped the ball to Rubio who blasted the strike over Tim Melia’s head into the roof of the net.

Smith smashed home the header off Jack Price’s corner kick in the 85th minute to complete the visitors’ comeback, giving SKC their third-straight heartbreaking loss.

Thanks to two draws from the Portland Timbers and FC Dallas over the weekend, Sporting KC’s playoff hopes continues to hang by a thread. Sitting in eleventh place with 37 points, the club faces two scenarios heading into the League’s midweek fixtures:

  • Sporting KC will be eliminated if they lose or tie
  • Sporting KC win. But will be eliminated with a win from Portland and FC Dallas

And facing Minnesota United at Allianz Field will be no easy task.

It is important to note that Graham Smith was seen warming up on the sidelines for a significant amount of time following Besler’s ejection. But he was never called into action. With Besler gone for the next game – maybe he will appear in the starting XI.

Furthermore, the club officially announced this morning that it has mutually agreed to part ways with midfielder Yohan Croizet, a player who has been an integral part of the roster.

So will Sporting KC make the playoffs? Stranger things have happened so I wouldn’t rule it out just yet. But it’s tough to be positive these days.

Featured image: Peaty Romano

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LAFC earns point at home in third straight draw

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club played Toronto FC to a 1-1 draw in a high-intensity match after returning a two-game road series on Saturday night at the Banc of California stadium.

Although it wasn’t their best performance, the match gave us a glimpse of the DP trio (Carlos Vela, Brian Rodriguez, and Diego Rossi). And we finally saw Diego Palacios on the bench for the first time since signing with the club last month.

Mark-Anthony Kaye tried a through ball just two minutes after the whistle, but Vela was caught offside – setting the tone for the match.

Moments later, Vela challenged Michael Bradley in a game of keep away. The captain defeated the younger Bradley but still couldn’t get through the backline to create a chance.

Toronto FC’s Tsubasa Endoh claimed the lead in the 19th minute after sending in a low cross into the corner off Jozy Altidore’s cross from inside the box.

The miscommunication between defenders continued when Jordan Harvey and Eddie Segura missed a chance to pass; that eventually led to Toronto getting around LAFC’s defense and opening up a dangerous scoring opportunity.  In the 30th minute, Marky Delgado took a shot from the right side of the box that was blocked by a sliding Walker Zimmerman.

Trailing by one – Rossi initially answered the young Japanese midfielder’s goal with the equalizer in the 33rd minute, burying a perfect through ball inside the near post. But as the script goes, his goal was called offsides.

Missing our normal dynamic midfield, the first half was met with a disorganized mess as LAFC struggled to dismantle Toronto FC’s tough defense.

Tristian Blackmon replaced Steven Beitashour at right back as a halftime substitute.

The substitution was a good move for the Black & Gold as they dominated possession and bumped up their shot total to 11, keeping Toronto’s keeper Quentin Westberg on high alert. However, LAFC continued to struggle to find their way around Toronto FC’s defense – that constantly adjusted to match the hosts’ combination plays.

Lee Nguyen came on to replace Zimmerman in the 75th minute moving to a three-man back line.

LAFC’s inaugural captain Laurent Ciman was greeted with applause from the crowd when he made his return to the Banc; coming on for Toronto the next minute.

In the third minute of stoppage time, Latif Blessing drew the penalty after Chris Mavinga scissored him in the chest inside the penalty area. Referee Ted Unkel initially awarded only a corner but changed this ruling after using VAR review.

The captain stepped up to convert the penalty, scoring his 29th career goal, and giving the home side a point in their third-straight draw of the season.

Despite leading the Supporters’ Shield, the Black & Gold are winless in their last five games while drawing four, and could not officially clinch the overall top seed this past weekend.

But not all hope is lost.

According to LAFC’s Digital Manager, Vince La Rosa, LAFC’s new magic number is three and they have two solid chances to secure the Supporters’ Shield on Wednesday.

Next up, the club will host former player Christian Ramirez and the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, September 25th.

Featured Image: LAFC

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