By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
After a stunning road loss in Colorado, the Los Angeles Football Club bounced back in a big fashion with a 5-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park in a midweek matchup on Wednesday night.
After falling to Sporting KC twice last season and reclaiming revenge in a 2-1 season opener win in March – the match saw the return of Mark-Anthony Kaye following Canada’s elimination from the 2019 Gold Cup. And Bob Bradley wasted no time in putting him back in his usual midfield position.
Kaye almost earned the black-and-gold the early lead off a header from a Carlos Vela free kick in the ninth minute, but his attempt went straight to Tim Melia and eventually cleared out.
Stricken with an injured roster once again, Sporting KC dominated possession and kept Pablo Sisniega alert early in the match. However, most strikes from Gerso were deflected from Jordan Harvey and Steven Beitashour before reaching thenblack-and-gold’s net.
In the 28th minute, Christian Ramirez set the tone for the match after he drew blood first with a cheeky move off a set piece. The 28-year-old opted to send the ball underneath the wall, flying under the feet of Ilie Sanchez and Nicolas Hasler straight into the back of the net.
The trio (Gerso Fernandes, Felipe Gutierrez, and Krisztián Németh) were close to finding the response by developing a sequence of passes to get in the penalty box but had trouble connecting – ultimately sending the game into halftime trailing by one.
Moments after the restart, Diego Rossi doubles the score by sending a rocket past Melia into the right post.
Beware of the left foot. In the 63rd minute, Vela scored his 17th-MLS career goal so seamlessly with his signature left-footed curler.
Pablo Sisniega continues to be a standout with an incredible performance recording five saves. In true Miller-esque form, the 23-year-old keeper commanded the goal to thwart SKC’s efforts, including making a double-save within seconds of each other in the 71st minute.
With LAFC leading 3-0 – Sporting KC caught a break as Beitashour was called for a controversial handball in the 78th minute; after the ball ricocheted off his leg up to his hand on a sliding tackle – awarding the host a penalty kick. Daniel Salloi stepped up to convert. But Sisniega saved it from the Hungarian keeping a clean sheet.
In the 85th minute, Yohan Croizet pulls one back for Sporting KC in an attempt to spark hope back into the team. But it wouldn’t last long.
Just four minutes later, the Mexican captain gave Fito Zelaya the best birthday gift as he sends him a pass inside the penalty area to slide home, earning his first goal of the season.
Mohammad El-Munir finished a perfect night as he scored his first MLS-career goal during stoppage time – securing all three points for the black-and-gold.
Now sitting atop of the Western Conference standings with a nice cushion of 40 points – LAFC continues a congested schedule with a quick turnaround to host the Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend.
Featured Image: Peaty Romano
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