All posts by avaraceli

Sporting KC rocks the Quakes in a dominant 5-1 road win

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Sporting KC Contributor

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Sporting Kansas City is back atop the Western Conference following a 5-1 road win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Avaya Stadium. Sporting KC earned their sixth away in a dramatic fashion thanks to a collective two-goal, two-assist from Gerso Fernandes and Felipe Gutierrez, along with goals from Ike Opara and Krisztian Nemeth.

Sporting KC opened their scoring sheet in the 18th minute when Fernandes broke away from Nick Lima and delivered a cross to Gutierrez, who snuck in front of two of San Jose’s defenders to flick the serve past Andrew Tarbell into the far-right corner.

Five minutes later, the same duo would double Sporting KC’s lead with another fantastic run. This time, the duo switched places as Gutierrez came from inside the center and sent a pass to a perfectly-timed Fernandes, who clipped a brilliant chip over a bewildered Tarbell that fell inside the far post.

Sporting KC came close to scoring a third goal but a now alert Tarbell cleared a dangerous opportunity from Yohan Croziet. Later, Tarbell would be called into action again when he stopped a perfect buildup that almost saw Gutierrez earning his second goal of the night.

Nevertheless, Sporting KC added to the score after Roger Espinoza sent one down the middle, Tarbell blocks and a quick-thinking Opara leaps at the chance to bury the rebound, securing Sporting KC’s 3-0 lead into the half.

Although San Jose had an energetic start, the Earthquakes would quickly fall back after seeing their chances hit the crossbar and denied by a spry Tim Melia. But Sporting KC went on to add two more goals to their total in the second half.

The first being in the 67th minute when Nemeth sent a screamer past Tarbell. In the 80th minute, Danny Hoesen breaks through Sporting KC’s defense and pulls one back for the Earthquakes, scoring his 11th-goal of the season. In addition to, halting Melia’s clean sheet.

However, the action continued when Gerso scored the silencer just six minutes later, giving Sporting KC the 5-1 win and propelling them back to first place in the Western Conference.

Sporting KC will remain on the road when they visit the Philadelphia Union on Sunday, September 23.

Featured image: @sportingkc Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Sporting KC reclaims second place in Western Conference after shutting out Orlando City

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Sporting KC Contributor

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Sporting Kansas City moves up to second place in the Western Conference after shutting out Orlando City SC in a 1-0 victory. The club welcomed back former players, Dom Dwyer and Oriol “Uri” Rosell. However, the reunion was cut short in the 53rd minute when Felipe Gutierrez scored the winning goal. Additionally, Andreu Fontas made his official club debut and earned his first start, playing the full 90 minutes.

In an action-packed match, Sporting KC came close to opening the scoresheet just seconds after the start. Graham Zusi and Gerso Fernandes created a pair of early chances; when Zusi sent in an early corner. In addition to Gerso running down left with plenty of space.

Kristian Nemeth almost had a clear shot in the fifth minute after Yohan Croziet sent a low pass. Alas, Carlos Ascues gets a light touch and clears it out.

Orlando was quick to respond with Dwyer racing down with a long ball forcing Tim Melia – who recorded his 12th career-high shutout – to save it in a 1v1 situation.

The Lions continued to leave gaping holes in their defense. Sporting KC took full advantage of it ending the first half with 20 crosses; the most crosses in a game since their meeting with Real Salt Lake in April of 2015.

Shortly after the restart, Sporting KC was able to maintain possession but still couldn’t convert any chances. They would finally break the stalemate in the 55th minute after Yohan Croziet found an open space and sends the cross to Gutierrez, who then slams it down the middle past Joe Bendik – marking his first goal since returning from injury.

Sporting KC was brilliant for the final 25 minutes with shared opportunities between Nemeth, Gutierrez, and Croziet. Although Bendik denied the trio, it was clear Sporting KC wasn’t giving up.

The remainder of the time also saw a desperate pack of Lions trying to feed Dwyer the ball. Dwyer would get the ball on two separate occasions but Melia was quick to deny his former teammate – delivering the Lions their ninth-straight loss.

Sporting KC will go back on the road when they travel to Avaya Stadium to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 9:30 p.m. CT.

Featured image: @SportingKC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

LAFC Weekly Roundup: bye week, National Team call ups, two players loaned to Phoenix Rising FC and links of the week

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

This past weekend was a bye week for the black-and-gold, so let’s take a look back at Los Angeles Football Club‘s victorious win in Toronto:

Over Labor Day weekend, LAFC traveled north and defeated reigning MLS Cup Champions Toronto FC in an incredible 4-2 victory. The win also marks the club’s sixth road win, a first in any club’s inaugural season. In addition to enjoying the best start for an MLS expansion team since 1998.

An early lead, a comeback, this match had it all. The contest in Toronto also saw the family reunion of Coach Bradley with his son, Michael Bradley.

  • Check out the full recap here

The black-and-gold will play again on Sept. 15, when they host New England Revolution. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm PDT.

National Team Call up(s)

André Horta and Shaft Brewer Jr. received call ups to their youth national teams, respectively.

Horta has been called up to Portugal’s U-21 squad for two 2019 Euro U-21 qualifiers, against Romania on Sept. 7 and Wales on Sept. 11.

Portugal is currently in third place in Group H, after falling to Romania on Sept. 7 in a 2-1 loss – two points behind leaders Bosnia and Herzegovina and Romania. Portugal looks to bounce back when they face Wales – who is currently below them in the standings. Horta has played three games for the Portuguese U-21s to date.

Meanwhile, Brewer Jr. has been called up to the U.S. Men’s U-20 National Team for the 2018 U-20 Men’s Invitational, a new tournament U.S. Soccer is hosting that will include the USMNT U-20s, the USMNT U-19s, the Venezuela U-20s, and Jamaica U-20s.

The tournament kicked off on Friday, Sept. 7 in Bradenton, Fla. and will conclude on Sept. 11. The U-20s are currently in third place with the U-19s leading the group.

Brewer has been getting fairly regular U-20 USMNT calls this year, and the CONCACAF U-20 Championship (which also doubles as U-20 World Cup qualification) is coming up in November, so it’s a chance for him to stay in the mix for those big games.

With the benefit of a bye this past weekend, neither player should miss any games for their club. And should return to LA in good health to play on Sept. 15.

Blackmon and Pérez joins Blackmon at Phoenix Rising FC

LAFC has loaned Tristan Blackmon and Josh Pérez to Phoenix Rising FC for the remainder of the 2018 season, the club announced on Tuesday.

Blackmon returns to Phoenix after a previous loan spell last month, where he played two games for the USL outfit, both big wins. The 21-year-old rookie was recalled by LAFC ahead of the team’s road match against Toronto FC, in which he played the last three minutes of the 4-2 victory.

Pérez joins Phoenix for the first time, having signed with LAFC during the summer transfer window from Serie A outfit Fiorentina. The Southern California native has yet to play for LAFC, but the 20-year-old is likely one for the future with the black-and-gold.

Per the Right of Recall, LAFC has the right to recall both players at any time. Blackmon and Pérez are eligible to play for Phoenix in their next game, on Wednesday in USL regular season play against Rio Grande Valley FC in Arizona.

Rescheduled Match

The club’s home match against the Houston Dynamo, originally scheduled for Thursday, October 18 has been moved up to Friday, October 12.

Kickoff will remain at 7:00pm PDT.

Links of the Week:

Featured image: @lafc Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Sporting KC’s Goalkeeper Tim Melia continues to raise the bar

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Sporting KC Contributor

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

From denying big-name players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Diego Valeri, the buzz surrounding Tim Melia continues to grow with each game. And this upcoming Saturday’s match against Orlando City SC will be no different.

This past weekend, Sporting Kansas City fell to the Seattle Sounders 3-1, but the team will not let the loss deter them from facing Orlando City:

“There’s going to be wins, losses, and ties throughout what we’re trying to build. And coming back home to play against Orlando is just another opportunity to continue to build off of our goal and making sure we’re playing our best soccer coming into the season,” Melia said.

Melia even shared a similar sentiment regarding the team’s mentality with playoffs just around the corner:

“I think we’re all mature enough not to get roped into the game-to-game, these games at the end of the season are so important, especially with how tight the western conference is. And just making sure we’re getting points and keeping ourselves in a position that we want to be in.”

Going into his fourth season with the club, Melia is currently the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and is leading the league with a career-high 11 shutouts. Including, having earned various accolades such as MLS Best XI 2017, an ESPY nomination for Best MLS player, Player of the Week, etc.

“Accolades are great. You always trade them in for an MLS Cup or a Supporters Shield, CONCACAF, Open Cup because the individual rewards are reflective of the team and the effort of the whole group,” Melia continued. “I’m fortunate to be on a team that concentrates first on defense and it builds from the back and looks to really have that anchor in the back – that we’re going to be a good defensive team first.”

It’s tough to believe this Great River native was once traveling across the county visiting various teams working as a League Pool Goalkeeper before landing in Kansas City.

The 32-year-old has paid his dues with Real Salt Lake (2010-2011) and Chivas USA (2012-2014), serving as back-up for MLS All-Stars Nick Rimando and Dan Kennedy.

Aside from creating a high-profile career in KC, Melia has also dabbled in design – and inspired a line of gloves and athletic gear for West Coast Goalkeeping company.

Prior to joining Sporting KC, Melia reached out to West Coast Goalkeeping’s owner, Sean Norris, after being dropped from a previous glove company.

“[Sean] took me in right away [and] offered me the opportunity to design my own glove. I wasn’t even a starter at the time – that’s the type of company they are. They are big believers in developing those kinds of relationships early on.”

Even though, Melia doesn’t have any interest in pursuing design as a postgame career option. I think Melia will have plenty to look forward to in the near future. Earning recognition isn’t the only thing changing in Melia’s life, last year Melia and his wife, welcomed their first child, Rowan.

Most players look to certain family members or a particular goal for motivation, for Melia his daughter is his biggest motivator.

“It gives you more to really want to succeed for you; you’re not doing things just for you or your wife, you’re doing things for your family,” Melia said.

Along with finding new inspiration, parenthood has also taught him the importance of balancing work life:

“Having [a] strong family bond to concentrate on is beneficial in a sense – your mind is not solely focused on soccer. You need to be able to step back from things, give yourself a mental break because if it’s only this all day long [or] all night, it can wear you down.”

When asked if he has plans to train his daughter to become a keeper in the near future, Melia jokingly replied: “Absolutely not.”

While Melia continues to navigate parenthood, his goal for the club remains the same, as the team looks to secure a playoff spot in a tight race for the Western Conference.

Featured image of Tim Melia: @SportingKC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Sporting KC’s winning streak snapped by Cascadia foe

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Sporting KC Contributor

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Saturday, Sept 1: 3-1 Loss

After having a perfect August, Sporting Kansas City started the new month off on the wrong foot by falling to the Seattle Sounders 3-1. The win is their eighth straight – the most in a single season in the post-shootout era.

Sporting KC had a perfect start when Diego Rubio scored his eighth goal of the season after knocking in a half-volley to give his team the early lead in the second minute.

Unfortunately, the lead wouldn’t last long as Raul Ruidiaz found the equalizer in the 12th minute. He snuck in behind Sporting KC’s backline and tapped the ball home from close range.

Just shortly after the restart, Seattle got a lucky break. While the Ruidiaz’s goal gave Seattle life after a tough start, the game turned when the ball caromed off of Graham Zusi at an impossible angle and over Tim Melia into the net. This own-goal would later become the winning goal for the visitors later in the match.

Moments later, Seattle continued to pressure as Brad Smith’s cross ricocheted off of Ike Opara‘s upper arm from point-blank range, and Toledo awarded Seattle the penalty. Nicolas Lodeiro stepped up and tucked the ball into the corner, increasing the score 3-1.

Sporting KC received a chance to redeem themselves in the 80th minute after a straight red card was issued to Chad Marshall for a foul on Johnny Russell. Initially missed by Toledo, VAR confirmed the foul and Russell gave Nemeth the ball, but his chance quickly diminished as the attempt went straight to Frei.

The loss pushed Seattle above the line into fifth place and moved Sporting KC down to third place – just below LAFC and above Real Salt Lake by one point.

Sporting KC returns home to host Orlando City SC at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday, Sept. 8. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT.

Featured image of watch party: @SportingKC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Stalemate at StubHub: LAFC 1, LA Galaxy 1

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Los Angeles Football Club drew their second of three matches this season against the Los Angeles Galaxy, drawing 1-1 to their LA neighbors at the StubHub Center. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela scored both goals of the night.

LAFC started the third edition of El Trafico in a tense twenty minutes, as Danilo Silva most notably started alongside Walker Zimmerman in defense in lieu of Laurent Ciman. The pair hadn’t played alongside each other since June but seemed to mesh well. However, Silva was quick to grab his hamstring just a few seconds into the match, showing signs of an apparent injury. Silva would push through until the 23rd minute when he was substituted out early for Dejan Jakovic.

Ciman was notably absent from the 18-man squad and not listed on the injury report. ESPN’s Taylor Twellman reported during the match that Ciman may have offers from elsewhere and was not deemed to be focused enough to play.

The home side would draw first in the 16th minute when Zlatan’s shot rolled over the line before LAFC could clear it out. It appeared Silva cleared it out. VAR confirmed this and awarded the Galaxy the goal after the play was reviewed.

Tyler Miller constantly found himself in a 1v1 situation against Zlatan and did well to prevent the Swede from earning his 500th career goal.

The black-and-gold leveled early the second half in the 50th minute, when Diego Rossi found Vela in the left side of the box. Perry Kitchen clipped Vela inside the box, and gave LAFC the chance to equalize with a penalty. Vela converted the penalty and got LAFC back on track.

The remainder of the half proved to be frustrating for both sides, as they created multiple opportunities but failed to capitalize. Shortly after the penalty, Eduard Atuesta found Benny Feilhaber and Feilhaber decided to try to go around Bingham, instead of scoring head on in a 1v1 situation. This would cost Feilhaber as Bradley subbed him out for André Horta soon after.

Although LAFC had periods where they seemed to dominate possession and get more dangerous chances, the whistle blew before LAFC could put one more goal in the back of the net, concluding the third edition in yet, another draw.

LAFC will continue their run on the road when they travel to BMO Field to face Toronto FC on Saturday, September 1.

Featured image: Tyler Miller Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

LAFC vs. LA Galaxy: Match Preview

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Where: StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.

When: Friday, August 24, 7:30 p.m. PT.

How to watch: ESPN, ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980


The final installment of “El Trafico” is upon us!

The Los Angeles Football Club will return to the StubHub Center to face the LA Galaxy in the final battle – to see who is the best team in LA.

LAFC is currently on a two-game winning streak following their 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids this past weekend. And they’ll hopefully carry that momentum into Friday looking for their first win of the series.

The second meeting of both teams saw some conflict at the Banc of California stadium, causing the already deep-seeded rivalry between both clubs – to intensify. Even though the match ended in a 2-2 draw, fans weren’t satisfied.

For this final historic meeting of the season, I interviewed my fellow colleague at MLSFemale and LA Galaxy reporter, Michelle Huitink.

Araceli Villanueva: The Galaxy hasn’t been performing well lately having back-to-back draws prior to falling to Seattle this past weekend, how is the Galaxy expecting to turn things around for Friday’s rally?

Michelle Huitink: The Galaxy will have most of their starters, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic back, but there’s still going to be some tinkering for the line up as Giovani Dos Santos is still out and [Romain] Alessandrini is a question mark. They are due for a win. The players take it personally.  I think the [goals] are definitely in the heads of LAFC and just need one goal to cement. They’ll start having flashbacks of the first game and how they tied at Banc. 

AV: How do things sit as far as the Galaxy’s ambitions this season? Are there nerves about their playoff prospects?

MH: Right now, the Western Conference is so close that someone might miss the slot and I’m hoping it’s not the Galaxy. If they keep playing this bad (our defense is awful; it is the dead horse we keep beating) then they don’t deserve to make the playoffs. 

AV: LAFC signed three new players including Christian Ramirez and Danilo Silva – who have already seen playing time – during the transfer window. Has the Galaxy made any signings? How will Joao Pedro’s loan affect the roster?

MH: It won’t affect the roster as he usually plays with the Galaxy II. The first team’s midfield is crowded anyway. There’s no space. And even financially, our backline is too highly paid to put in a fresh out of college Tomas Hilliard-Arce, for example. 

They got TAM money from Portland for first spot allocation, but they can’t make any moves the rest of this season and can’t use that money in 2019. 

AV: Friday marks the third meeting between both rivals. Do fans believe in the rivalry? What precautions has the club made for the StubHub Center?

MH: I encourage Galaxy fans to especially be classy and not do any vandalism of any kind and obviously not escalating to physical assault. Supporters do have privileges back and security will definitely be heightened, I just don’t know to what extent. 

AV: Bonus question: What are your predictions for the score?

MH: 3-2. LA Galaxy win.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Featured image: Araceli Villanueva/in LA

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Weekly Roundup: Christian Ramirez, Loan updates, Mark-Anthony Kaye Is Back (Kinda)

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Welcome Home, Christian Ramirez!

Christian Ramirez may have just joined the black-and-gold last week but didn’t take long for the Garden Grove native, to fit right in – earning his first start and scoring two goals in the midweek game against Real Salt Lake.

The 27-year-old forward made his official club debut in a 2-0 loss against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, August 11. Ramirez most notably came close to opening his scoring account with an attempted flying header but saw his chance trickle past the goal. Though, it seemed he learned from it as he would go on to quickly add two goals to his account days later.

Can he repeat the same success as the black-and-gold host the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, August 19?

Shaft Brewer Jr. joins Tristan Blackmon at Phoenix Rising FC

The Los Angeles Football Club announced on Thursday that attacker Shaft Brewer Jr. has been loaned to the USL side, Phoenix Rising FC.

Similar to the loan of Tristan Blackmon earlier this week, the club retains the right to recall Brewer Jr. at any point during the remainder of the MLS regular season per Right of Recall incorporated in the loan agreement.

Blackmon and Brewer Jr. are the latest players LAFC has loaned out, with James Murphy on loan to the Las Vegas Lights FC and Nico Czornamaz is currently on loan to USL affiliate, Orange County Soccer Club.

Old Friends, New Rivalries

Last weekend, the Los Angeles Football Club hosted Sporting Kansas City for the first time and reunited some familiar faces. Benny Feilhaber and Latif Blessing played against their former team in a dramatic 2-0 loss.

LAFC had a chance in the 78th minute to shorten the deficit as Horta ran up the ball and it fell in place to newly signed, Christian Ramirez who attempted to head it in but ultimately the ball went wide.

With several starters appearing on the bench, the black-and-gold fought to keep the visitors subdued but Tim Melia was quick to deny them. In back-to-back attempts, Feilhaber and Blessing tried to up one on their former teammate but Melia blocked every chance in an emotional end.

Mark-Anthony Kaye Update

Mark-Anthony underwent surgery for his ankle on August 6 and it seems the surgery was successful. Kaye even took to Twitter that evening to welcome Ramirez to the club:

Kaye was selected to be “Honorary Falconer” for the match against Sporting KC. A tradition LAFC started at the beginning of the season. At the beginning of every match a celebrity or a fan is selected to release Olly. Entering the pitch to loud applause, Kaye released Olly the falcon.

Kaye is expected to make a full recovery and will take three to four months before seeing the pitch again.

Featured image: Araceli Villanueva

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Old Friends, New Rivalries: LAFC 0, Sporting KC 2

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Los Angeles Football Club‘s 13-game unbeaten streak at home finally came to an end, as they fell to Sporting Kansas City, in a dramatic 2-0 loss on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium. The match proved to be an emotional match, as it reunited some familiar faces with Benny Feilhaber and Latif Blessing playing against their former team. And I’m sure emotions were high as Feilhaber took over the captain’s role for the night.

Bob Bradley made many changes to the lineup after his team went 120 minutes on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup, and it showed. Andre Horta, Danilo Silva and Luis Lopez all had their first starts for the club, with the entire backline subbed out from the last game.

The first ten minutes both sides go back and forth, putting Tim Melia and Lopez – who made his first appearance tonight – into action early. Sporting KC came close to opening the scoring sheet when Gerso shot down the middle – but it went straight into Lopez’s arms.

Though, luck would ultimately run out when the black-and-gold gave Sporting KC their first goal of the night. Diego Rubio sent a pass around the corner straight through the defense to Gerso Fernandes, who hit a quick strike to the far post giving Sporting KC the lead in the 17th minute.

The home side watched as the visitors doubled their lead when Dejan Jakovic was called for a penalty after kicking Felipe Gutierrez in the head on a challenge in the 66th minute. Dejan Jakovic was called for a penalty after kicking Felipe Gutierrez in the head on a challenge. Although it didn’t look intentional, VAR confirmed the ruling and awarded Sporting KC the penalty. Ilie stepped up and converted the penalty increasing Sporting KC’s score 2-0.

Now trailing by two, Bradley didn’t hesitate to bring out the big guns as he substituted in Carlos Vela, Christian Ramirez, and Blessing. LAFC came close to finding a glimpse of hope as Horta nearly set up a goal, but his redirect pass across was narrowly missed by Ramirez’s diving header attempt, but alas, it trickled wide.

During the final minutes, LAFC was pressuring Sporting KC’s defense with Feilhaber and Blessing attempting to up one on their former team. However, despite their effort, Melia ensured the hosts couldn’t break through and delivered LAFC’s third-straight loss of the week.

Unfortunately, LAFC will not have much to reflect on this loss, as they quickly turn around to host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, August 15.

Featured image: @BancStadium

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Heartbreak in Houston: LAFC eliminated from U.S. Open Cup

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Wednesday, August 8: 3(7) – 3(6) Loss

Los Angeles Football Club‘s U.S. Open Cup run came to a devastating end in Houston on Wednesday. Diego Rossi’s hat trick would give the push the club needed but despite all efforts – their luck would run out during the penalty shootout.

Diego Rossi kicked things off to an exciting start with the opening goal putting the black-and-gold ahead just six minutes into the match. Though, it wouldn’t take long for Houston’s Andrew Wenger to answer Rossi with the equalizer when he chests a ball home before the stream started working.

Even after having scored an early goal, the black-and-gold continued to play sloppy defense, including having a difficult time maintaining possession giving Houston multiple chances to turn over. The lack of urgency would become costly in the 26th minute when Mauro Manotas breaks through the black-and-gold’s defense to give Houston the 2-1 lead. LAFC would struggle to level it by going into the half down by one.

In the 76th minute, Memo Rodriguez would increase the Dynamo’s lead by 3-1. Coming hot off of the bench, Rodriguez gets around Steven Beitashour and slams it into the lower left corner. Fortunately, Rossi is quick to respond and pulls one back when he lightly taps one in past Joe Willis making the score 3-2.

Just when all hope seemed lost, something miraculous happened during stoppage time. Rossi sparked life back into the match by scoring his hat trick forcing Houston into extra time.

Aaron Kovar and Latif Blessing came close to scoring early shortly after the restart. Having already used all substitutes during regular play, the remaining of extra time saw both sides going back-and-forth – clearly struggling to keep up.

Going into their first-ever penalty shootout, a limping Tyler Miller fought through the pain to attempt to save the penalties. Miller was victorious in the fourth round when he denied Boniek Garica. LAFC’s chances looked good as Carlos Vela converted his pk, however, danger came again when Laurent Ciman‘s chance was saved. Again a steady stream of pks continued until it came down to Latif Blessing, unfortunately, his missed snapping LAFC’s historic run; LAFC (6) – Houston Dynamo (7).

Although it would have been great to watch the black-and-gold advance to the finals, I commend LAFC for getting this far during their inaugural season.

Featured image: @LAFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x