Category Archives: Los Angeles FC

Los Angeles FC

Sporting KC and LAFC battle for top spot in the West

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official Reporter: LAFC & SKC

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Decision Day is almost upon us.

Sporting Kansas City hosts the Los Angeles Football Club for the first time on Sunday, October 28 in the battle for the top spot in the Western Conference. The regular season finale will also welcome home former players Benny Feilhaber and Latif Blessing.

The last time these two clubs met was on August 11, when Sporting KC delivered LAFC their first and only home loss of the regular season in a 2-0 victory at the Banc of California stadium.

It is important to note that the black-and-gold were missing several key players due to coming off a two-game streak – with their last match being in Houston, for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals, three days prior to meeting Sporting KC. Andre Horta, Danilo Silva, and Christian Ramirez filled these empty roles while also having earned their first MLS career starts.

The black-and-gold are expected to be at full strength for Sunday’s contest with Tyler Miller back in goal and Steven Beitashour, Walker Zimmerman and Adama Diomande returning to the pitch.

Bob Bradley‘s team will be coming off the momentum they gained from their final regular season match at home where they earned a 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps and made history as the first club to reach 57 points in their inaugural season.

Sporting KC currently holds first place in the Western Conference with LAFC just two points behind – tied with FC Dallas. A win would secure the top spot for the black-and-gold, however, if the match ends in a draw or loss they could potentially remain in second place. Of course, we would need to take into account the fact FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders would both need to lose in order for this to happen. Given their current records – that’s a tall order for any team.

The top two seeds will earn knockout round byes, while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will host a single-elimination knockout round match on either Oct. 31 or Nov. 1 against the No. 6 and No. 5 seeds, respectively.

LAFC’s Digital Manager Vince La Rosa lists out all the possible scenarios for the black-and-gold. But it’s simple. A win and we’re in.

On the other side, similar to their visitors, Sporting KC will look to stay atop the standings and a first-round bye. The home side could still finish anywhere from first to fourth, having clinched their first home playoff game since the 2013 MLS Cup.

Only one question remains. Who will come out on top?

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Making History: LAFC Clinches First-Ever Playoff Spot and Breaking Records

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club continued their historic run on Saturday when they booked their ticket for their first-ever Audi MLS Cup playoffs in a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids in Commerce City – becoming the fifth MLS expansion team to reach the playoffs in their inaugural season.

LAFC has grown substantially in the past eight months. Even going back to the start of the season, the black-and-gold never found itself below the playoff line. And now sitting on 53 points, they’re poised to surpass Atlanta United’s record of 56 points from last season. Including, being in the position to overtake 1998 Chicago Fire for the best regular season by an expansion team in MLS history – by breaking their current MLS record of 57 points.

Additionally, LAFC is the first team to have three double-digit goalscorers in its inaugural season – marking them as the 12th team in MLS history to have three scorers in any season.

Adama Diomande‘s back-to-back goals in Colorado brought the Norwegian striker’s goal count for the season to 11, making him the third member of LAFC’s squad to reach that milestone and add to the club’s ongoing history – Carlos Vela (11), Dio (11), and Diego Rossi (10).

LAFC has scored 61 goals, thus far, and are tied for second-most in MLS with the LA Galaxy, so it’s not surprising the black-and-gold has been producing outstanding results for their 2018 campaign. And that’s not even acknowledging the fact Dio joined the club this May; meanwhile, Vela missed around five matches while playing in the World Cup during the summer.

The black-and-gold will have the chance to move closer to break, yet, another record with three matches to spare. They could potentially break Atlanta’s record of 70 goals by an expansion team in its first year.

Tied with Sporting Kansas City for third place in a now tighter race for the Western Conference, LAFC will host the Houston Dynamo and the Vancouver Whitecaps, concluding the regular season on the road in Kansas City searching for an opportunity to host their first playoff match.

The black-and-gold will be put up to the test when they face the Houston Dynamo this Friday, October 12. The last time these two clubs met was in the Lamar Hunt’s U.S. Open Cup semifinals – when LAFC fell in a controversial upset.

Fortunately, the black-and-gold currently has an 8-1-6 record at home and will have their dedicated fanbase to cheer them on for the full 90 minutes.

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LAFC Weekly Roundup: Playoffs Scenarios, Colorado Preview, MLS 22 Under 22 List, Gold Links

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Chicago Surprise

In an odd turn of events, what should have been an easy win, backfired – as the black and gold fell to the Chicago Fire in a surprising 3-1 road loss. Diego Rossi would score the lone goal for the Los Angeles Football Club.

Looking ahead to their second-straight road match, the black-and-gold will travel to Denver to face the Colorado Rapids in search of clinching a playoff spot.

Danilo Silva has returned to training and is expected to make the trip to Colorado. However, Latif Blessing still remains on the injured list.

Playoffs Chances

A win and we’re in.

LAFC needs to defeat the Colorado Rapids this Saturday to secure a spot in the club’s first-ever MLS playoffs.

Digital Manager Vince La Rosa discussed other possible scenarios, should the black-and-gold have any unexpected surprises.

MLS 22 Under 22 List

On Thursday, the league released their annual MLS 22 Under 22 List with a total of four players appearing on this year’s list, the most in any club:

  • #3 Diego Rubio – Forward, Age 20
  • #11 Latif Blessing – Forward, Age 21
  • #13 André Horta – Midfielder 20
  • #16 Eduard Atuesta – Midfielder, Age 21

Luis Lopez Called-Up

Goalkeeper Luis López has been called up to the Honduras National Team for its friendly with the United Arab Emirates on October 11 at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona.

LAFC acquired the rookie goalkeeper from Real C.D. España of the Honduran First Division on January 24, 2018. López made his LAFC debut against Sporting KC on August 11 – after a lengthy recovery from a leg injury.

The 25-year-old will join fellow MLS players Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto in the Honduran squad.

Gold Links

For this week’s fun links, LAFC gifted us another episode of Beita Time and a thrilling background story of Latif Blessing:

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LAFC sets sights on playoffs ahead of road match in Chicago

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club may still be sitting in third place following FC Dallas’ win this past weekend, but the black-and-gold remains in good faith as they look to secure a spot in their first-ever playoffs – following a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.

Although the match against the Earthquakes had a low-performance attacking-wise, it displayed the importance of set pieces and saw the return of Adama Diomande. Including a strong-willed Walker Zimmerman scored a pair of headers, a first in his MLS career. Regardless, the win will prove to be beneficial as the black-and-gold moves forward.

LAFC’s magic number is now six.

During the press conference on Wednesday evening, Tyler Miller expressed the team’s mentality as being determined and uses their absence from the Lamar Hunt Open Cup Championship as motivation – moving forward for the final stretch:

“I think everyone’s done a great job. Moving forward we five really important games that could set up a nice situation for us getting a first-round bye in the playoffs,” Miller stated.

According to LAFC’s Digital Content Manager Vince La Rosa, LAFC can clinch a playoff spot by taking all three points in their upcoming pair of road matches in Chicago and Colorado, regardless of what Vancouver does. In addition to, possibly earning themselves a first-round bye.

Additionally, those six points would also bring “LAFC level for the highest points total” by an expansion team in its inaugural season – the Chicago Fire currently holds that record with 56 points in 2017.

La Rosa had previously reported that head coach Bob Bradley and the team discussed a goal of 60 points, and after the match against the Earthquakes, Bradley confirmed the goal.

With just five games left in the regular season with three on the road, I’m confident Bradley’s men can finish their 2018 campaign strong.

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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:

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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