All posts by avaraceli

Stalemate at the Banc: LAFC 0, Portland Timbers 0

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Sunday, July 15: 0-0 Draw

Los Angeles FC shares points in their first-ever scoreless draw against the Portland Timbers at Banc of California Stadium.

Tyler Miller was pressed early in the match with the Timbers maintaining possession for the first twenty minutes. It was a battle of the “Diego’s” beginning with Diego Valeri being denied by Miller from close range in the fifth minute. Diego Rossi would, in turn, watch his chance fall short as the ball fell too close to Jeff Attinella.

Adama Diomande came close to scoring the opening goal in the 30th minute – but his shot was knocked over the net by Attinella. Dio would get another chance just moments later, however, this time his attempt flew just over the crossbar.

The black-and-gold would get another chance before the half when Walker Zimmerman sent a header from the center of the box off a cross from Carlos Vela – unfortunately, it was too high sending both sides into the half scoreless.

While still looking for a breakthrough, the black-and-gold would endure a new challenge late in the match after Lee Nguyen is shown a red in the 84th minute for a challenge with Sebastián Blanco.

With an absent Nguyen, Valeri sought to get one past Miller off a set piece but Miller was quick to secure the ball before it could leave Valeri’s foot.

The final moment came during stoppage time when Vela had a header right in front of the goal, but his shot flew straight at Attinella, who caught it giving the 10-man team their first-ever scoreless draw.

LAFC will host the Timbers again on Wednesday for the Open Cup quarterfinals. The match is set kickoff at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Featured image: Erick Gonzales

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Battle in the Heatwave: LAFC 4, Orlando 1

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

July 7, 2018

It seems Mother Nature has truly been testing Los Angeles FC lately as they faced Houston Dynamo in rainy conditions and now Orlando City SC in the midst of a Californian heatwave. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop the black-and-gold from defeating Orlando in a 4-1 victory and remain undefeated at home.

LAFC started having to sustain some pressure from Orlando and dealing with attacking threats from Dom Dwyer, Sacha Kljestan, and Josue Colman for the first ten minutes.

Latif Blessing tries to head one in but it is denied by Joe Bendik. Blessing keeps the rebound alive and kicked it back in the group with his teammates waiting – the ball falls to Mark-Anthony Kaye who kicks it so lightly to Adama Diomande who then taps it in opening the scoring sheet for the black-and-gold.

In the 32nd minute, Aaron Kovar finds Blessing who slams it into the back of the net. LAFC leading 2-0 into the half.

The second half was filled with action as an energetic LAFC looked to add to their score. Kljestan looked to pull one for Orlando but Tyler Miller made a diving save to deny.

Tyler Miller deserves major props for making eight saves in the match, several of them 1v1 in crucial situations.

Diomande was close to earning the black-and-gold their third when he kicked in a loose ball, however, it was called offsides. Moments later, Kljestan found the goal in the 58th minute after Ciman forced the right-footed striker to clear one off his left-foot past Miller putting Orlando on the board 2-1.

The black-and-gold immediately was ready to respond with another goal when Blessing sent one to Kovar but the ball goes wide. Again another goal would be taken away thanks to VAR, luckily this time it was for Dom Dwyer in the 72nd minute. A frustrated Dwyer would try to score again – this time the goal would have been good – but Miller quickly rejected his chance.

In an action-filled two minutes, Diomande and Diego Rossi scored back-to-back goals near the 82nd minute. Diomande finished a rebound off of Laurent Ciman that sent Orlando scrambling to save it but the ball bounces off the crossbar over the line awarding the black-and-gold their third goal.

The dramatic play sparked an energy in the team as Diego Rossi slides one past Joe Bendik off a cross from Blessing securing LAFC’s 4-1 victory.

Additionally, Carlos Vela and Marco Ureña returned to Los Angeles from the 2018 World Cup to help their team win. Welcome back!

Now sitting in third place in the Western Conference, LAFC will host the Portland Timbers – the first of their two back-to-back meetings – on Sunday, July 15th. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. PT.

Featured image: @LAFC

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Rainy Comeback: LAFC 2, Houston 2

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Even mother nature couldn’t stop the comeback that was going to happen. LAFC earns one point in a 2-2 draw against Houston.

After the hour and a half rain delay, the black-and-gold kicked things off with an early goal in the first five minutes. Lee Nguyen, in his 200th MLS appearance, fed the ball from outside the box to Adama Diomande – whom then connected with Latif Blessing, who slotted the ball home giving LAFC their early lead.

The black-and-gold continued to dominate possession in the second half and was close to adding another to their lead in the 52nd minute. Benny Feilhaber started the strong play when he got the ball from Nguyen and passed it to Blessing.

Blessing tried to pass off to Diomande, but his pass was intercepted and deflected back to him. He then tried to pass again to Dio, although he may have been able to slot the ball home, and that pass was also deflected and then cleared.

The black-and-gold would create another dangerous play in the 72nd minute when Tyler Miller came out of his box to clear a through ball, which Walker Zimmerman then volleyed up the field. The ball then landed to Mark-Anthony Kaye, who looped the ball around to Diomande. Diomande sent the ball forward back to Kaye, who dribbled it past Senderos and slotted the ball into the back of the net extending the lead 2-0.

Just when you thought LAFC was going to return to the west coast with all three points, the host breathes life into the comeback quest after Mauro Manotas and Philippe Senderos leveled the match during stoppage time. Fortunately, time ran out before the host could put away a third – splitting points between both teams.

LAFC will host Orlando City on Saturday, July 7. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. PT.

Featured image of Nguyen: @LAFC

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Weekly Update: Hat Trick Dio, André Horta’s Arrival, World Cup News

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Dio’s Hat-Trick

LAFC wins in a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia Union this past weekend.

Adama Diomande scored the first hat-trick in the club’s history. Then Latif Blessing put the cherry on top with a goal during stoppage time giving the black and gold a 4-1 victory.

According to Elias Sports, Dio now has seven goals in his first five MLS games, the most of any player after 5 games in the league’s 23-year history.

*Read more about the match here.

André Horta has arrived

André Horta arrived in Los Angeles on June 22 and is already donning his black and gold kit. Although he did not participate in the black and gold’s 2-0 victory over Columbus Crew the next day, Horta was cheering with the fans in the supporters’ section.

The Portuguese striker didn’t appear in Saturday’s victory.

Open Cup Blessings

LAFC advances to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals in a 3-2 victory over Sacramento Republic FC after a dramatic second half.

Sacramento proved to be a tough team having already knocked out an MLS team prior to the Round of 16 matchup and the black and gold was up to task. Elliott Hord buried a rebound giving Sacramento the lead in the first half. Benny Feilhaber was close to leveling the match when he stepped up to take the penalty but his attempt was saved by Josh Cohen going into the half trailing by one.

Feilhaber quickly made up his poor attempt when he found the equalizer in the 58th minute. However, the celebration was cut short as Villyan Bijev put Sacramento ahead just two minutes later. Diego Rossi – who had the best performance of the night – tied up the game again in the 67th minute.

Rossi nearly scored again in the 85th minute, but his shot went off the post, and it bounced back along the goal line. The game-winner came in the 89th minute, as Rossi sent a low cross to Latif Blessing who tapped it in giving LAFC their 3-2 victory.

LAFC will host the Portland Timbers for the USOC quarterfinals on Wednesday, July 18th. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PST.

Two LAFC players selected for MLS All-Star Roster

Carlos Vela and Laurent Ciman are having one heck of a year!

Vela and Ciman have been named to the 2018 MLS All-Star roster. They will join a 26-player squad as Major League Soccer’s brightest stars square off with Italian powerhouse Juventus in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

The summer showcase at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will kick off Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 4:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted on ESPN and UniMas.

World Cup Update

Carlos Vela remained the sole LAFC player to participate in this summer’s 2018 World Cup action as Mexico advanced to the Round of 16, unfortunately, El Tri was eliminated after suffering a 2-0 loss to Brazil Monday morning.

Vela played the full 90 minutes and nearly scored a goal in the 60th minute. His left-footed curl could have tied up the game giving Mexico hope, but it was pushed over by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson. Despite all efforts, El Tri fell to Brazil.

Egypt and Costa Rica were eliminated during the group stage. It is unclear when Omar Gaber, Marco Ureña and Vela will return to LA.

Watch for my LAFC at Houston recap coming soon.

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LAFC’s Carlos Vela plays vital role in final stages of El Tri’s group run

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Despite dropping their last match to Sweden, Mexico advances to the Round of the 16 with the help of a former opponent.

Mexico won back-to-back matches at the 2018 World Cup following a 2-1 victory over South Korea marking the first time since winning their first two matches at the 2002 World Cup. However, El Tri fell short of making history after falling 3-0 to Sweden for their final group match.

It’s been an emotional tournament for Carlos Vela after his grandfather passed away following their opening match win over Germany, nevertheless, he remained focused on the task at hand. Vela has been a key player in all three matches as he continuously created dangerous plays. As well, becoming LAFC’s first player to score a goal in the World Cup when he converted a penalty breaking a scoreless drought during their scuffle with South Korea on June 23.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez added to the score in the 66th minute when he drilled a clipped ball from Lozano into the right corner past South Korea’s keeper becoming the first player to score 50 goals for Mexico. After going scoreless for 180 minutes in the tournament, South Korea’s Son Heung-min found the net during stoppage time with a screamer from 20 yards. Mexico rushed into action to prevent the Tigers from leveling the match for the remaining time securing their 2-1 victory.

The Swedish match was a whole different story. After getting hit by a multitude of controversial calls – and receiving nightmarish penalty call flashbacks – El Tri fought hard looking for their third-straight victory. But despite all efforts, they ultimately fell 3-0. Mexico was given hope after South Korea defeated Germany in a shocking 2-0 victory eliminating the reigning World Cup champions.

El Tri will go on to face Brazil in the Round of 16 on Monday, July 2. Kickoff is set for 9 a.m. CT.

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World Cup Update: LAFC players shine in the first round of Group Stage

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The first round of the group stage for the 2018 World Cup has come to a close. Three LAFC players are currently participating in the 2018 World Cup in Russia: Carlos Vella, Marco Ureña, and Omar Gaber. While, Laurent Ciman is set to return to LA after returning to Belgium from Russia.

Mexico upsets Germany in historic match

Mexico makes a historic win in a 1-0 victory over Germany in Luzhniki Stadium. Defying all odds, El Tri defeated the defending 2014 World Cup champions winning their fifth opening match at the World Cup. Hiring Lozano – otherwise known as Chucky – broke through the machine’s defense to slide in the winning goal in the 35th minute.

Even though Carlos Vela only saw 60 minutes of action during this remarkable match – he played a crucial role in El Tri’s counterattack. Starting in a central attacking role behind Chicharito, Vela orchestrated multiple dangerous counterattacks from Mexico. Vela came close to adding to Mexico’s score in the 56th minute when he missed a perfect chance off a cross due to some sloppy footwork from Chicharito in a 2v1 advantage. With this style of play and Osorio’s praises, I predict we will see Vela starting for the other two remaining group matches.

El Tri will face South Korea on Saturday, June 23.

Costa Rica falls to Serbia 1-0

Marco Ureña received his first World Cup start and became the first player in LAFC history to participate in a World Cup. Unfortunately, Costa Rica dropped its opener 1-0.

The Ticos was close to creating the best opening before break when Ureña sent a left footed shot from outside the box, however, it flew over the bar in the 39th minute. Moments later, Francisco Calvo‘s attempt misses to the left of the goal going into halftime scoreless. Ureña played 67 minutes before being substituted off for Joel Campbell.

Aleksandar Kolorav finally broke the deadlock when he sent a free-kick into the top corner in the 56th minute giving Serbia the lead. The Ticos quickly searched for an equalizer but despite all efforts couldn’t do so resulting in their first loss of the tournament.

Costa Rica will continue to fight for points as they go up against Brazil in their next match. Nevertheless, Brazil tied with Switzerland on Sunday, so I don’t think it will be too much of a problem.

Egypt falls without Gaber

Egypt fell to the Uruguay 1-0 for their opening match and first appearance since 1990.

The match remained a stalemate until the 89th minute when José Giménez headed in the last minute goal off a free-kick from Carlos Sanchez securing Uruguay’s three points.

Omar Gaber shared the bench with famed player Mohamed “Mo” Salah as a substitute for the opener.

Ciman on standby

Laurent Ciman was put on standby ahead of Sunday’s match against Panama – in case of an injury. Ultimately, the LAFC captain left Russia and returned to Belgium.

It is unclear if Ciman will be able to help the black and gold advance to the next round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when they host Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, June 20. But if he is not back nor available for that match, he’ll likely return to LA just in time for next Saturday’s game against Columbus Crew SC.

Featured image: mlsfemale

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LAFC advances to the Round of 16 in 2-0 victory over Fresno

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Wednesday, June 6: 2-0 Win

Los Angeles Football Club advances to the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history in a 2-0 victory over Fresno FC at Banc at California Stadium on Wednesday. Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing scored the lone goals of the night.

The first half saw a battle of strong defense from both sides, however LAFC managed to create multiple chances around the 27th minute with chances from Calum Mallace and Walker Zimmerman. Despite their attempts, the game went into halftime scoreless.

The Foxes were close to opening up the scoring in the 49th minute when Danny Barrera whips a cross into the box, however, the ball landed in front of Agustin Cazarez who could not convert the chance.

Moments after Rossi replaced Adama Diomande, after leaving in extra time for a blow to the head – he gets the final touch and it trickles across the goal line to open the scoring in the 53rd minute. Just four minutes later, Blessing secured LAFC’s ticket to the Round of 16 after burying a loose ball in the box and doubling the score.

The Foxes continued to look for their first goal throughout the remainder of the half. In the 84th minute, Barrera sent a strike from 30 yards out but Tyler Miller was quick to deny Barrera giving the black and gold their first-ever U.S. Open Cup victory.

LAFC will host Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, June 20.

Featured image: @LAFC

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Weekly Update: Double Draw, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, MLS All-Star Fan Voting, World Cup News

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

LAFC shares points with D.C. United

Los Angeles Football Club played more than a half with a man down but could not hold on for a win – as they tied 1-1 with D.C. United.

Diego Rossi opened the scoring sheet with a ball off a cross and led the black and gold in the first half, but Dejan Jakovic‘s red card in first-half stoppage time – for a sliding challenge on Paul Arriola – eventually took its toll on LAFC. Darren Mattocks ensured D.C. would not return to the east coast empty-handed by leveling the match in the 84th minute. Moments after, newcomer Adama Diomande made his club debut.

LAFC will be back on the road when they visit FC Dallas on Saturday, June 2.

 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

On Thursday, the fourth round draw of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup took place in Chicago. Appearing in their first-ever tournament in club history, LAFC will host Fresno FC in the fourth round on June 6 at 7 PM at Banc of California Stadium.

Sporting Kansas City is the current reigning champions.

MLS All-Star Fan Voting

The 2018 MLS All-Star Game Fan XI voting is officially open!

Major League Soccer unveiled the fan ballot for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, featuring eight players from all 23 clubs as nominated by national media.

Fans can vote for their favorite player once per day on the MLS App and the EA Sports “More Than A Vote” Challenge. Fans can continue to vote for their favorite players online at MLSsoccer.com starting on June 8 at 9 a.m. CT. Fan voting will run until June 20.

You can vote once per day and every submission will be entered to win a VIP trip to the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. Also, you can earn a bonus contest entry if you share your picks after voting. Fans can vote for 10 players – a goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and two forwards. The third forward will be selected within the FIFA 17 with players every time you score a goal using a forward on the ballot that player will receive a vote.

The following LAFC players are eligible for fan voting:

  • Goalkeeper: Tyler Miller
  • Defenders: Steven Beitashour, Laurent Ciman, and Walker Zimmerman
  • Midfielder: Benny Feilhaber
  • Forwards: Diego Rossi, Marco Ureña, and Carlos Vela

The MLS All-Stars will face seven-time defending Italian Serie A champions Juventus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Aug. 1 in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. The summer showcase will air at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN, UniMás, TSN and TVA Sports domestically as well as across 170 countries globally.

The Road to Russia

LAFC now has five potential players going to Russia this summer.

On Monday, Belgium announced their 23-man provisional roster for the World Cup giving captain Laurent Ciman his second selection. Although, he did not play in Brazil, he could finally get his chance to play in the world’s biggest tournament this summer.

The 32-year-old has started every LAFC game thus far. If Ciman makes the trip, he could potentially miss six games or more for the black and gold.

Friendly Fun

On Tuesday, the Black and Gold hosted their first international friendly against Borussia Dortmund. The game showcased young talent like Aaron Kovar, Nicolas Czornomaz, James Murray, Charlie Lyon, and Shaft Brewer also saw the pitch as new faces.

Although, this match didn’t mean anything it has opened up doors for future international match ups.

*Read here the full recap

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Los Angeles FC surpasses Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund in friendly draw

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Los Angeles Football Club marked history in a 1-1 friendly draw against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. USMNT star, Christian Pulisic played his first ever club game for Dortmund on U.S. soil and only appeared on the pitch for 56 minutes.

The hosts dominated for the first twenty minutes with Laurent Ciman testing Roman Weidenfeller with a free-kick and Diego Rossi firing just wide after an excellent run from Eduard Atuesta. The black and gold continued to fight hard in order to hold off Dortmund scoreless into halftime.

Both sides made several substitutions, which disrupted the flow a bit, however, the match came back to life again for the remainder of the second half. LAFC finally got the breakthrough when Aaron Kovar flicked in a shot at the near post from the left-wing cross in the 77th minute. Just ten minutes later, Maximilian Philipp delivered a strike from the edge of the box zipping pass Charlie Lyon – who entered for Tyler Miller in the 46th minute – leveling the match for the Bundesliga club.

Although this match didn’t mean much, Bradley practically used his entire bench displaying young talent. James Murphy and Nico Czornomaz made their debuts.

LAFC will host D.C. United on Saturday, May 26th. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PT.

Featured image courtesy: Los Angeles Football Club facebook

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