Category Archives: Western Conference

Western Conference

Match Preview: LAFC vs. Montreal Impact

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club continues to cross teams off their revenge list. And FC Dallas was the latest victim.

The two clubs squared off in back-to-back matches with LAFC claiming revenge first as they handed Dallas their first loss in the series in a 2-0 win at the Banc of California Stadium. However, a few days later, the black-and-gold wrapped up another series by splitting points at Toyota Stadium.

Now the club will turn its focus onto another opponent coming in from the North, the Montreal Impact.

LAFC will host the Impact for the first time for their second meeting. The first time these clubs met was in Montreal on April 21, 2018, in which the black-and-gold claimed all three points in a 5-3 win.

Graphics courtesy of the MLS app

The Impact currently holds a 4-4-2 record on the road, while LAFC remains undefeated at home (6-0-1).

Players to look for:

Carlos Vela is not human. There, I said it.

The Mexican captain scored a single goal in both matches of the Dallas series – adding to his already rising MLS career goal account. And he is one goal away from surpassing his previous 2018 total of 14 goals.

Andre Horta and Lee Nguyen made their long-awaited return to the pitch as late substitutions on May 16. A few days later, the duo appeared in the starting lineup for Sunday’s match along with Mohamed El-Munir.

And of course, I like to take a quick moment to recognize two players who’ve reached new career milestones this week:

  • Walker Zimmerman has now played 10,000 minutes in MLS.
  • Steven Beitashour became the first defender in MLS history with 35+ assists and 20,000+ minutes played.

One player out on injury:

Bradley again will nearly have a full roster to choose from with only Steven Beitashour out due to a left hamstring strain, an injury he picked up in the last match against FC Dallas. Alejandro Guido is listed as questionable.

Projected LAFC Starting XI

(4-3-3): Tyler Miller; Jordan Harvey, Eddie Segura, Walker Zimmerman, Josh Perez; Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Latif Blessing; Diego Rossi, Christian Ramirez, Carlos Vela.

Piatti returns:

The Impact welcomed back Ignacio Piatti, after a two-month injury in a scoreless draw against the New England Revolution last weekend.

However, similar to the return of Horta and Nguyen, Piatti appeared as a second-half sub when he entered for Mathieu Choinière in the 66th minute. So I wouldn’t rule out a starting position but given Friday’s contest will be his second game back – he could start on the bench.

Montreal Impact’s Roster:

Montreal has three players out that could impact them:

Defender Clement Bayiha and midfielder Omar Browne are out due to injury.

Samuel Piette will also miss the match because of yellow card accumulation. Piette received his fifth caution in the last match against the New England Revolution snapping his club record of 51 consecutive starts. His disappearance in the midfield could give the home side an advantage.

Projected Montreal Impact Starting XI

(4-3-3): Evan Bush; Zachary Brault-Guillard, Zakaria Diallo, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz; Shamit Shome, Michael Azira, Saphir Taider; Orji Okwonkwo, Maxi Urruti, Mathieu Choinière.

What is your match prediction?

Photo credit: Daisy Jimenez/mlsfemale

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Sounders Earn Tough Point Away at Philly


Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

After only two days rest and a cross-country flight, the Seattle Sounders gritted through a tough 0-0 tie in Chester, Pennsylvania against the Philadelphia Union, earning them 7 points in 7 days.

Heavily rotated, the Sounders came in to the game vs the Union with a 5-3-1 formation, an unusual look for the Rave Green. The lineup included 3 center backs, Kim Kee-Hee, Roman Torres and Jonathan Campbell, and two wingbacks in Nouhou and Saad Abdul-Salaam. The Broldans (Alex and Cristian Roldan) made up the 3-man midfield with Jordy Delem and Nicolas Lodeiro sat behind Will Bruin offensively.

The modified lineup resulted in very little offensive threats, producing only 6 shots on the night. However, the parking of the defensive bus did help Seattle maintain a clean sheet, their fifth of the season.

Alex Roldan and Jonathan Campbell both made their first start of the regular season, each putting in decent performances, especially Campbell who helped take some of the pressure off Kim and Torres who have both played extended minutes lately.

While Raul Ruidiaz, Kelvin Leerdam and Brad Smith all made the bench of the 18 man lineup, Jordan Morris, Victor Rodriguez and Chad Marshall did not travel to Philadelphia and their timetables for return have not been specified by the club. While the signings of Joevin Jones and Xavier Arreaga will help fill the void of Rodiguez and Marshall, neither will be available to the Sounders until mid-July due to international call-ups.

The Sounders travel next to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, May 26th. While Sporting has been battling their own depth issues lately, the KC Cauldron has statistically not been a location of success for the Sounders.

After that match, the Sounders head in to another double game week with two road games at FC Dallas Saturday, June 1st and the Montreal Impact Wednesday, June 5th. Morris, Torres and Cristian Roldan will all be absent from both road games while Ruidiaz, Lodeiro and Delem will miss the Montreal match.

This will leave the Sounders missing 6 of their regular starters vs Montreal before taking a welcome break until June 29th at home against the Whitecaps.

Featured image: @SoundersFC

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Dynamo Dig Into Depth, Come Up With Three Points

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

Houston Dynamo best D.C. United, 2-1

The Honduran influence on the Houston Dynamo is undeniable. The team has leaned heavily on the camaraderie and cohesion of their Honduran recruits in the last couple of years, but Saturday night’s match against Wayne Rooney and D.C. United required Houston to mix up its lineup and call on their depth outside of the Catrachos sphere.

Maynor Figueroa, the club’s newest Honduran player, received the news at the end of Wednesday night’s match that his father had lost his battle with cancer. A veteran defender, fans expected him to be a backup in support of some of our younger center-backs, but Figueroa has been a powerful force starting in 13 matches so far this season.

The team paid tribute to Figueroa’s father with black armbands and a special team photo ahead of the match. His absence against D.C. was the first hurdle Houston’s lineup would face.

Fans were thrilled Saturday to see our two Honduran forwards – Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis – finally paired up again in the lineup. This excitement was short lived, however, as Elis took a hard knock less than a minute into the match that led to his removal. Homegrown player Memo Rodriguez replaced him in the eleventh minute.  

The Dynamo defense managed well in the first half, their offense lined up chance after chance but were not able to finish, and the first half ended with a no goal tie.

The second half started seemingly before the Dynamo defense was ready, as Wayne Rooney took advantage of too much space and scored in the 46th minute. The Houston defense woke up after that and held DC United to the single goal while the offense continued to work to find a payoff from several chances.

Searching for an answer to the finish, Coach Wilmer Cabrera pulled our remaining Honduran forward out of the match just past the hour mark. Tommy McNamara replaced Romell Quioto in the 66th minute, and the match pace changed completely.

The Dynamo found the goal they had been looking for in the 67th minute from early sub Memo Rodriguez. And just one minute later, the second substitution paid off with Tommy Mac scoring his first Dynamo goal with a show of pure will, battling United’s Hamid for a cross at the far post and joining the ball in the back of the net.

Photo Credit: Leslie Chairez

While the Dynamo are having an amazing start to 2019 and are still undefeated at home, this match is a landmark in the squad’s season. Lingering questions around their depth were answered and the men in orange proved that personnel changes in any of their lines can be mastered.

Even the unfortunate loss of our playmaker Alberth Elis was managed, which may be important as many expect to see him traded in the summer transfer window. The boost of securing three points against the top team in the Eastern Conference is just what Houston needed.

Hopefully, the Dynamo will take this confidence with them on the road as we visit Minnesota next Saturday night.   

Featured image: @Its_Leslieeeee

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Sounders grab 3 points at home from heavily rotated Orlando


Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

Seattle Sounders defeat Orlando City 2-1 at CenturyLink Field

The Seattle Sounders took 3 points in their mid-week home game against an Orlando City side who made 11 changes from their previous game.

Injuries continued to plague the Sounders this week as Chad Marshall, Gustav Svensson and Victor Rodriguez were left out of the 18, all of whom play an important role in Seattle’s ideal starting XI. The return of Raul Ruidiaz was a welcome sight for fans, as was seeing him get back in to scoring form.

Brad Smith continued to shine offensively and found great chemistry with Harry Shipp down the left wing. While Smith was credited with an assist here, his positive contributions to the Sounders offense has been more than the game score sheets show.

Whether with Victor Rodriguez or Harry Shipp in front of him, Smith has made an incredible impact down the left wing. It can’t be said enough how vital the retention of his loan from Bournemouth will be for the Sounders in the second half of the season.

The Sounders went in to halftime leading 1-0, but coach Brian Schmetzer stated to the sideline reporter he believed they should be leading “at least 2-0.” Both Nico Lodeiro and Harry Shipp missed sitters, but the lead was still maintained heading to the locker room.

In the 53rd minute, Jordan Morris went down with a non-contact injury and his physical and facial reactions indicated all was not well with the homegrown player. Handwalla Bawana substituted in for Morris, who was filmed in tears on the sideline bench. In post-match comments, Schmetzer stated the injury was a hamstring and would be followed up with an MRI.

While there is no indication this injury was due to the aging turf, it cannot be said enough that continuing to play on turf will negatively impact the team and the city. Any hope at a city selection for the probable North America World Cup bid would hinge on playing surface quality. Also, the United States National Teams both issued recent statements saying they would not play on any turf surfaces or with grass laid over turf. This eliminates Seattle from any future National Team games.

Turf rant over. Back to game notes. In the 67th minute after replacing Jordan Morris, Bwana finished off a BEAUTIFUL (and powerful) cross from Nicolas Lodeiro and extended the Sounder’s lead to 2-0.

While Orlando would grab a goal of their own in in the 75th minute thanks to Chris Mueller, the Sounders held off further efforts by Orlando and finished the game with a 2-1 victory.

The Rave Green travel to Philadelphia on a quick turn around for their next match on Saturday with a kickoff of 4:30 PM PST. This road game begins a month of away games for the Sounders who will travel to Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas and Montreal Impact before returning home on June 29th for a Cascadia match against Vancouver Whitecaps.

Featured image: @SoundersFC

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Dynamo and Timbers Draw, 1-1, In Houston

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

The Houston Dynamo and the Portland Timbers are two of the most intense clubs currently playing in MLS. Houston is an underrated squad on a hot-streak with a lot to prove, while Portland is an MLS late model flagship that had a rough start to the 2019 season, frantic to regain status.

When two groups like this meet, especially in the steamy humidity of a late spring Houston evening, tempers rise with the temperature and teams often play powderkeg matches just waiting for a spark.

The match was predictably physical, and the Dynamo once again showed off their offensive dominance in the first half. Portland’s defenders were pushing hard, but the Dynamo were relentless. The incessant Dynamo offense paid off in the 40th minute when Mauro Manotas scored his sixth goal of the season.

The Timbers’s number 4 defender, Jorge Villafaña, stuck to Houston’s Alberth Elis in the early part of the match with aggressive tactics I haven’t seen since the dance floor at my last college party. His handsy defense moved on to cover Boniek Garcia later in the half which would be the spark that this match was waiting for.

Of all of the players on the Dynamo roster, Oscar Boniek Garcia is known for his likability and consistently happy demeanor. The Honduran native is known to play with a smile on his face, so the early signs of hostility toward the Timbers were apparent to most fans around the stadium.

His usual sportsmanlike play was replaced with rough challenges and post-drop stare-downs. As the captain’s patience faded, the rest of the team seemed to match his mood and the play on the field began to show lots of strain.

Even the halftime break was not enough to cool tempers for the Portland or Houston players as the rough play continued with the start of the second half whistle.

At 50 minutes, after a tough challenge in the midfield left Dynamo player Tomas Martinez on the pitch, Portland denied to play the ball out while he recovered. This led to lots of words and more than a few shoves exchanged between several of the players, but no cards were issued as a result of the dust up.

Contentious matches like this one should be controlled by the officials, who can maintain fairness and hold players to a reasonable standard. In this match, the players and the match were in the hands of well-known referee Ted Unkel.

The eccentric officiating favored both and neither teams at different points in the match, and Unkel ultimately concluded the match with no radio after tossing it to the sideline late in the second half.

Portland leveled the match shortly after a 65th minute substitution brought on their recent Argentinian acquisition Brian Fernández, and the match concluded with the 1-1 draw. While both teams played desperately for all three points, I consider the match to be a lucky draw – the real win being both teams walking away with no serious injuries and no disciplinary suspensions.

The Dynamo’s depth will be tested again at their third match in eight days against D.C. United on Saturday at home.

Featured image: @HoustonDynamo

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FC Dallas’ game-changing result after playing New York Red Bulls

Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Abigail Kistner// @abruhcadabruhh

With FC Dallas back at home, I was ready to get back to Toyota Stadium and witness another win for the team. Since I’ve only began following this team for the 2019 season, and FC Dallas had been undefeated at home, I hadn’t seen Dallas lose in person, and I didn’t expect that to change.

Clearly, I was incorrect…

With an upsetting 3-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls, Dallas takes their first loss at home. However, FC Dallas’ game is a work in progress, and we’re going to go in depth with play analysis, statistics, and what’s to come for the next game against Los Angeles FC.

To begin the game, FC Dallas had an interesting lineup for their team. With a 4-3-3, Dallas replaced Carlos Gruezo with Jacori Hayes in the midfield, and this replacement was actually pretty well prepared. However, Ryan Hollingshead replaced Michael Barrios as a right wing, and this showed many issues for FC Dallas.  

Within 12 minutes of the game, New York scores a goal by Cristian Casseres Jr. Some issues in the front in midfield led to this goal, as Jacori Hayes assisted defense with Reggie Cannon to cover Andreas Ivan from NYRB. Unfortunately, Ivan passes to Casseres and gets the first goal of the game, leading New York 1-0.

By the thirty minute mark, Dom Badji (up top) became injured, and (thankfully) Jesus Ferreira subbed in. Two minutes after the 45 minute mark, Hayes assists Jesus Ferreira in a goal that ties up the game by halftime.

Starting back up after halftime, New York scores by the 58th minute. With Reto Ziegler’s late attempt to close down New York’s Michael Murillo, the ball gets shot and goes in with the help of Sean Nealis, allowing the Red Bulls to lead 2-1. And, to end the game, New York scores again as Matt Hedges is unable to hold the ball before New York comes and takes it back. As Bryan Acosta and Thomas Roberts (subbed for Jacori Hayes) help out Reto Ziegler with a failed attempt to get the ball back. New York scores the final goal by Brian White, making the ending score 3-1.

Some noticeably crucial findings as I viewed this game was the lack of eagerness within FC Dallas. Perhaps, with New York changing 10 out of their original starting 11, Dallas assumed they would have an easy win. The most hungry I saw the team was when Zdenek Ondrasek subbed in for Ryan Hollingshead. ‘The Cobra’ came out with an intense attitude, and with 16 touches and 2 shots (one on goal) within 26 minutes, this is probably the best we’ve seen him play, and his outcomes solely reflect his eager attitude in the game.

Overall, seeing Ryan  Hollingshead up top as a wing was a very disappointing position for him. With the idea for Hollingshead to drop back, the temporary right wing was shut down almost every single time by his defender, Kyle Duncan. As well as missing a shot on goal, Hollingshead provided little to no support for Dallas in this game.

One more thing to point out was Thomas Robert’s play as he was brought in. As I personally viewed his performance from the Dallas Beer Guardians supporter section, I could see intentionally physical play from Roberts, and not in the professional way. With several remarks to players, as well as pushing and throwing elbows, it’s clear that the 18 year old Roberts has a lot of growing up to do as he continues his career.

As the next game comes up against LAFC, Dallas has a lot to work on before playing the current best team in MLS. With a 21+ goal difference and only losing one game so far, LAFC has a clear advantage to FC Dallas. However, Luchi Gonzalez definitely has some tricks up his sleeve, and seeing Dallas take LAFC head on will be an enjoyable game nonetheless.

Featured image: @FCDallas

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Sounders hold off Dynamo with 1-0 victory and roster rumbles


Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

Take a bow, Cristian! The Seattle Sounders rode the wave of Roldan’s 5th minute golazo all the way to the 90th minute to a 1-0 win over the Houston Dyanmo.

The Sounders were strong defensively as Houston had Sounders fans holding their breath and sighing with relief several times in both halves. Chad Marshall was left out of the team 18 for the second consecutive game, but Roman Torres gave a solid performance.

As always, Stefen Frei came up big in goal and kept the all-important shutout, helping the Sounders claim 3 more points and gain traction in the Western Conference standings.

Both sides had offensive chances throughout the game, although the score remained unchanged after Roldan’s 5th minute rocket. The only other notable event was Victor Rodriguez being substituted in the 15th minute with a hamstring injury. Rodriguez just recently returned from concussion protocol, so picking up a new injury is not something Sounders fans were happy to see.

After 11 games played, Seattle sit in third place in the Western Conference tied on points with the second place Galaxy and 5 points behind first place LAFC. However, the Sounders go in to the upcoming week with a game-in-hand that they will play at home on Wednesday against Orlando City.

The upcoming week is important for the Sounders to claim points. Taking at least 4 points from both games would move the Sounders to second place. With the Galaxy hitting a run of bad form lately behind injuries to Romain Alessandrini and Jonathan Dos Santos, the upcoming week is a vital time to pass them in the Western Conference Standings.

League leaders LAFC are on a hot streak that doesn’t seem to be burning out and with rumors that Carlos Vela might not be called up for international summer duty, the Sounders need to grab points while they can to catch the Black-and-Gold.

Injuries are still plaguing the Sounders starting XI that played so dominantly at the start of the season. Gustav Svensson is out for an undisclosed amount of time, Victor Rodriguez has picked up his third injury of the season, and Chad Marshall missed his second game in a row with a knee injury. On the positive, Raul Ruidiaz returned from a month long injury and Will Bruin substituted in for Ruidiaz, marking his return after several weeks injured as well.

Reinforcements in former Sounders wingback, Joevin Jones, and Ecuadorian centerback, Xavier Arreaga, will arrive some time in the next few weeks. Sounders fans were notably surprised to see Arreaga receive a DP tag, especially as the team currently has 4 centerbacks on their roster (Torres, Marshall, Kim and Campbell).

How and when Arreaga will be utilized is unclear, but some fans have speculated on Chad’s retirement coming earlier than the end of the season. Spending the money on a DP caliber defender seems ridiculous if he isn’t in Seattle’s immediate plans, but no clear statement has been made from the front office.

Jones played predominantly as a left-back for the Sounders and occasionally as a left wing, but played almost exclusively the latter during his time in Germany. It’s likely the Sounders will use him as a variation for Rodriguez or if Brad Smith‘s loan from Bournemouth can’t be extended this summer as the Sounders have vocally said they would like to see happen.

Featured image: @SoundersFC

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Sporting KC falls in tough 1-0 loss on the road

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Sporting Kansas City fell to D.C. United in a steep 1-0 loss on a rainy afternoon at Audi Field on Sunday night.

The injury list continues to grow with Graham Zusi now joining the ranks due to an oblique injury. Although both veterans (Matt Besler and Zusi) were listed as questionable, neither one appeared in the eighteen – giving Ilie Sanchez the opportunity to wear the captain’s band for the first time. The match also marked Seth Sinovic‘s 200th career MLS start. As well, introduced an old friend back to the lineup, Benny Feilhaber.

English captain Wayne Rooney was the first to test Tim Melia in the 14th minute – when he fired a strike from 25 yards out. Fortunately, the 31-year-old keeper made a full-stretch save to punch the ball away from the danger. Melia would go on to make a total of three saves.

Given ten players were out due to injury and only four players, including the goalkeeper, available on the bench, Sporting KC did well to hold the host scoreless into the second half.

Paul Arriola would finally break the goalless drought in the 78th minute when Wayne Rooney passed a perfect ball to Arriola, who then tucked it in the net by mere inches.

The goal gave the visitors an energy boost as they went on to create two solid opportunities in the final twelve minutes. But it wouldn’t be enough. Krisztian Nemeth instantly received a chance to equalize when he jumped on a giveaway and carried the ball toward goal, but his near-post shot goes wide.

A final chance at redemption saw late-half substitute Kelyn Rowe curl in a ball into a crowded box to find Graham Smith, but his header goes wide ending the match in a 1-0 loss.

Sporting KC’s winless skid continues. Now the club will have a three-game stretch at home, so hopefully, they can pick up some points at CMP before heading on the road for four-straight matches. First up, the club will host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, May 18.

Featured image: @sportingkc

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Houston Dynamo Fall to the Sounders: A Different Perspective

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

I joined Houston Dynamo fans at a local restaurant chain to watch our team take on the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night. The simultaneous UFC fight audio was appropriate for the match, as the Dynamo and Sounders played an intensely physical game full of big hits and rough play.

My step-son, who was watching the match elsewhere, shared his initial thought on the match after the Sounders’ Roldan made an amazing volley at 5’, giving them the early lead.

He is an amazing 12 year old, a defender on his U14 team, and a recreational referee, so his opinions on matches are always interesting. I’ll let his commentary help me tell the story of the match.

The 23rd minute brought the first of many off-frame shot attempts from the Dynamo, this one by Alberth Elis. While the first half was largely dominated by excellent offensive efforts by the Dynamo, they were simply unable to target effectively.

As we neared the end of the first half, the Dynamo’s offense began to struggle and started giving away a lot in the midfield. The Dynamo have an oft-lethal counterattack so I was hopeful,  but the kid was pragmatic. Neither team was bashful about full-contact play, but late in the first half, Seattle’s Kim used a bear hug to slow down Alberth Elis.

While Elis was able to maintain control despite being manhandled, the referee’s claim of advantage left Elis angry. Equally frustrated, the kid declares the foul:

(He’s 12…forgive the spelling)

We traded strategy as Houston’s poor shot calibration continued, and the first half closed with another wasted shot from Manotas that rose to the heavens instead of the occasion.

Things really began to go off the rails in the second half. The Dynamo’s frustrations blossom into poor organization and worse judgment. The referee began to answer Houston’s calls for better officiating by bringing it down on their efforts. AJ Delagarza was booked for a silly foul in the 59th minute and I consulted my favorite ref on the call.

Houston’s Wilmer Cabrera began subbing at the 70th minute, but the new blood on the pitch fell prey to the same issues. Tommy McNamara came in at 72’ and quickly loosed another off-target shot.

While I won’t lay all of the blame of this loss on the officiating, the referee continued to have a lot of influence and intrusion on the play as the match reached its final moments. At one point, Seattle’s Bruin found himself having to shimmy around the referee during a drive.

Houston finished the night with only one shot on target for all of their efforts, and their loss was held to 1-0 through the luck of the crossbar.

Houston faces its busiest schedule this week since finishing up their CCL run, and the decision to rest some of its regular defensive starters most certainly affected the results of the match. However, Houston’s depth must be able to stand up to these tests. The Dynamo will have a chance to prove themselves again at home this Wednesday against Portland and then head out to the east coast to battle DC next Saturday.

Thanks so much to my step-son for permission to use his texts in today’s retelling.

Featured image: @HoustonDynamo

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The Kings of the West: LAFC bounces back in 3-0 win over Columbus Crew

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club returned to its winning ways in a 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew at MAPFRE stadium on Saturday. Mark-Anthony Kaye, Adama Diomande and Carlos Vela scored all three winning goals of the night.

With a full roster available, there were no changes in the lineup. Tristian Blackmon was among the players who returned to the bench. In what was arguably a must-win situation for the Crew, I’m not sure if the pressure from LAFC but the home side made a lot of mistakes. And the Black-and-Gold was able to capitalize on those easy opportunities.

LAFC had two solid chances to open the scoring with Kaye and Diego Rossi after the whistle blew. Kaye tried to sneak one in past Joe Bendik, unfortunately, his low shot whizzed past the post. In the 31st minute, Rossi hit a curler off of a cross from the Mexican international. But it glided just slightly over the crossbar.

However, the club earned another chance to score in the 37th minute, as Latif Blessing served the 24-year-old midfielder the ball from the top of the box and Kaye flawlessly kicked the ball home.

The Crew was in pursuit of the equalizer and nearly got their opportunity as Robinho sent a pass to Pedro Santos, who fired a rocket down the center. Fortunately, Tyler Miller was in the right place at the right time and came up huge to deny Santos in the 59th minute – earning his fifth clean sheet.

In the 74th minute, the Crew almost pull level but former LA Galaxy forward, Gyasi Zardes saw his goal called back after being called offsides.

The latter part of the half saw all the action with back-to-back goals by Diomande and Vela. First up, a crucial error and a substitution hot off the bench secured the lead for the Black-and-Gold. Josh Perez ran the ball outside the net deflecting off the post, and miscommunication between Bendik and Jonathan Mensah – gave Diomande the opening he needed to hit the rebound to double the score.

Moments later, it was the captain’s turn. It came off of Vela’s dangerous left foot into the back of the net – scoring his 12th goal of the season.

The boys rallied in the final minutes of stoppage time to secure the 3-0 victory and remain atop of the Western Conference standings.

The club will return to LA with all three points and gear up for another two-game series with FC Dallas. LAFC will host them on Thursday, May 16 and then travel to Dallas for the second leg just three days later.

Photo credit: Columbus Crew

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