Category Archives: Los Angeles FC

Los Angeles FC

LAFC Weekly Roundup: Carlos Vela’s Home Run, Loans, National Team Call-Ups, Gold Links

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Vela leads LAFC to 2-2 Draw in New York

Last weekend, the luck of the Irish was on LAFC’s side as they earned a hard-fought point on the road in a 2-2 draw against New York City FC on Sunday.

Carlos Vela continues to be the most influential player by keeping the ball moving, bagging a pair of goals to extend LAFC’s undefeated streak for a remarkable start of their 2019 campaign.

Missing Lee Nyguen and Steven Beitashour due to injuries, LAFC pushed through. An uneven playing surface proved to be problematic for the first half but LAFC adjusted to regain more control in the midfield; it was less effective. But the strategy wreaked havoc for NYCFC.

Click here for the full recap

But the main story is the supporters who traveled to the match. Around 200 to 300 supporters’ chants were loud and clear on FS1’s broadcast for the full 90 minutes. It felt like I was back at the Banc.

Loans. Loans. Loans.

Last week, LAFC announced they have loaned four players to USL side, Phoenix Rising FC – defenders Tristian Blackmon and Shaft Brewer Jr., midfielder Javier Perez, and forward Josh Perez.

According to the club statement: “Per the Right of Recall incorporated in the loan agreements, LAFC retains the right to call the players at any point during the MLS regular season, subject to MLS roster compliance guidelines.”

Blackmon, Brewer Jr., and Perez have spent time with Phoenix last season. This will be Javier Perez’s first loan in the USL Championship.

International Duty

It’s a player’s dream to receive a call-up for national duty. And for LAFC, several players’ dreams became a reality as Christian Ramirez, Peter-Lee Vassell, Mark Anthony Kaye, and Mohamed El-Munir have been called in to serve their national teams, respectively.

All five players will miss this weekend’s home match against Real Salt Lake.

Here’s the breakdown:

Christian Ramirez – United States of America

The Santa Ana native is no stranger to the United States Men’s National Team after spending time in the January camp with fellow teammates, Tyler Miller and Walker Zimmerman.

His past performances, which were highlighted by scoring a goal in the 3-0 win over Panama, earned him another call-up when USMNT’s head coach Gregg Berhalter released the roster for upcoming friendlies against Ecuador and Chile.

Ramirez did not appear in the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday night in Orlando, Florida. But he could have a chance to appear as the USMNT takes on Chile on Tuesday, March 26 in Houston, Texas.

Peter-Lee Vassell – Jamaica

The 21-year-old has made two substitute appearances for the black-and-gold this season. Jamaica faces El Salvador on March 23 in Concacaf Nations League play.

The Reggae Boyz currently have three wins in the competition.

Mark-Anthony Kaye – Canada

After missing the remainder of 2018 due to an ankle injury, Kaye started in the first two LAFC matches.

Kaye will join the likes of Alphonso Davies, Jonathan Osorio, and Cyle Larin the 23-man squad. Canada faces French Guiana on March 24, needing a win to secure its place in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Mohamad El-Munir – Libya

El-Munir has appeared on the roster for the first three matches but has yet to make his club debut. Libya is set to take on South Africa on March 24 in Group E of Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

Josh Perez – US U-23 squad

The United States’ Under-23 Men’s National Team will play its first matches of the 2020 U-23 cycle with a pair of friendlies in San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain; the first under newly named manager Jason Kreis.

Included on the twenty-three man roster is LAFC forward Josh Perez, who joined LAFC in August before going on loan to Phoenix Rising FC where he remains so far this season.

The Olympic hopefuls will face Egypt on Friday, March 22 and the Netherlands on Sunday, March 24. Both matches are set to kick off at 12 p.m. ET at the Pinatar Arena in San Pedro del Pinatar.

Gold Links

Photo credit: @LAFC

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LAFC chop down the Timbers 4-1 in second straight win

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club is proving they are the club to beat this season following a 4-1 dramatic win over the Portland Timbers at the Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.

After nabbing their first victory of 2019 against Sporting Kansas City last weekend, LAFC extended their winning streak – with goals by Mark-Anthony Kaye, Christian Ramirez, Adama Diomande and Carlos Vela.

LAFC had a chance to take the early lead in the 10th minute when Kaye intercepted Portland’s ball at the top of their box. He quickly chipped it over Portland’s back line to Ramirez, but it was just out of Ramirez’s reach – sending it over the net.

Just four minutes later, Kaye gets another chance to score and headed one home off a corner kick from the captain Vela, leaving a stunned Jeff Attinella in place. It was Kaye’s first goal since suffering a season-ending ankle injury last year.

After some back and forth, LAFC’s early lead wouldn’t last long. The Timbers’ first real threat came after a corner swung into the top of the six-yard line – Tyler Miller was quick to catch it. But the danger wasn’t over yet. Jeremy Ebobisse managed to break through off a free kick for the equalizer in the 29th minute.

LAFC had to adjust fast again after Latif Blessing – that played right back for the first time – entered for Steven Beitashour, who was subbed off in the 32nd minute due to injury. Beitashour had suffered a blow to the head while defending LAFC’s box before either team opened the scoring, and evaluated for a possible concussion on the sideline. But no further information has been released.

After an intricate sequence of plays starting in the back – Carlos Vela, passed two or three defenders to Jordan Harvey that sent it to Christian Ramirez; who gets the low cross and doubled the lead, 2-1.

The Timbers’ came close to closing the deficit with Ebobisse looking to level the match again. He ran up the middle and before the ball left his foot; Walker Zimmerman stopped him in his tracks with a goal-saving tackle.

Fresh off the bench, Diomande slides one home off of a cross from Vela in the 65th minute. He also delivered the game-winning goal last Sunday.

Carlos Vela secured LAFC’s win with his first goal of the season after curling his shot around Attinella and nestled the ball into the side of the net – Vela also earned three assists that evening.

Moments after Vela’s goal, LAFC gained an advantage as Diego Chara received a straight red on a second caution for a foul on Diego Rossi. Portland would go on to play with ten men.

The black-and-gold stayed focused for the remainder of the half, ending the match 4-1 – earning their second consecutive win at home.

LAFC will look to stay undefeated on the road as they travel to New York City to face NYCFC on Sunday, March 17.

Photo credit: Daisy Jimenez/mlsfemale

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LAFC Opens 2019 With a Stunning 2-1 Comeback

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club kicked off their 2019 campaign in a thrilling 2-1 comeback over Sporting Kansas City at the Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.

After falling to SKC twice last year, LAFC found redemption Sunday night thanks to a pair of goals by Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande. Jordan Harvey who made the game-winning assist – celebrated his 300th MLS appearance. And Peter-Lee Vassell made his official club debut.

With an unchanged lineup following two Concacaf Champions League matches to advance to the quarterfinals – a vibrant atmosphere at the Banc did little to deter Kansas City from focusing on the task at hand. However, LAFC displayed a determination they lacked last season and held down the pressure on Sporting KC.

In the 16th minute, Krisztian Nemeth took the early lead for the visitors. Nemeth got the ball from outside the box and passed it to Johnny Russell, who returned it to his Hungarian teammate near the penalty spot. Nemeth then sent a low shot past Tyler Miller – scoring his third-straight goal in three consecutive matches.

Sporting would go on to press LAFC’s defense for a chance to double their lead involving a sequence of intricate exchanges between Gerso Fernandes and Johnny Russell; resulted in strikes from Nemeth and Felipe Gutierrez that were all saved by Miller.

LAFC countered with a few passes from Rossi and Carlos Vela. A dramatic first half saw five Sporting KC players receive yellow cards.

Shortly after the restart, Rossi leveled the match. The Uruguayan slid past Graham Zusi and Fernandes to cut inside and curl a shot just inside the far post past Tim Melia.

Sporting again would receive two additional cards with one resulting in a straight red for Roger Espinoza – before sharing a few with LAFC.

Even when down to 10 men, Sporting KC would continue to exchange blows with LAFC. Neither team was willing to compromise and were resilient in the defense. However, a persistent LAFC took back control.

Just when it seemed both teams would settle on a 1-1 draw – Diomande strikes a goal deep into stoppage time giving LAFC their first win of the new season and defeating SKC for the first time.

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Match Preview: LAFC Hosts Sporting KC for Season Opener

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.

When: Sunday, March 3rd, 5:30 p.m. PT.

How to watch: ESPN, ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980

LAFC is back!

With the first team roster set and tensions on the rise, the Los Angeles Football Club will host Sporting Kansas City in a thrilling matchup for the 2019 Season Opener at Banc of California Stadium.

After completing a prolific 2018 campaign, LAFC is looking to start the new season on a high note – defeating Sporting KC at home.

The club lost twice to Sporting KC last season – resulting in LAFC’s first home loss during the regular season and again on Decision Day in Kansas City, Kan., with SKC staying atop the western conference, leaving LAFC second seed going into the 2018 playoffs. All things considered, the black-and-gold isn’t taking Sunday’s contest too lightly:

“They’re a good team and that last game on the road was a difficult one in that it would have decided our place in the standings that very last day,” Jordan Harvey told reporters. “KC is a difficult team. We just have to go at them and be more aggressive.”

Goalkeeper Tyler Miller shared similar sentiments:

“Last year we were a different team. They were a different team. So we’re looking at this game as a completely separate thing from that series,” Miller said. “We know they’re coming off of two Concacaf Champions League games – so we know they’re going to have a little bit of an edge in playing those two games early. But we think we have a strong team and we know it’s going to be a tough matchup – I think we’re all confident in our team.”

Sporting KC will be coming into LA hot off a historic defeat of Deportivo Toluca FC in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16, advancing to the next stage.

Roster rotation? Possibly. Physically, Sporting KC can continue on the road and will “move the team around a little bit.” But the team understands Sunday’s marquee match will be a difficult task and are looking to take things up a notch.

Manager Peter Vermes has fielded the same starting XI for both matches. Kelyn Rowe and Erik Hurtado made their club debuts in Kansas City during the first leg – then appearing again as late substitutions in Mexico. There is a chance one of them could earn a start on Sunday. But if we have to be honest, I feel Vermes will start the same lineup – using early substitutions given Sporting KC will immediately continue their globe-trotting adventures to Panama for the next round just days after the MLS opener.

After last weekend’s brief scare, Carlos Vela has been seen back in full training this week. The captain is still listed as “day to day” with a knee injury and has yet to be ruled out for Sunday.

The return of Mark-Anthony Kaye: Coming back after suffering a season-ending injury, Kaye is ready to return to the pitch and he displayed that same determination during the preseason.

Debuts? Although I do not see Peter-Lee Vassell starting, I predict he could make his club debut that evening, along with Shaft Brewer Jr. or Mohamed El-Munir.

LAFC Projected Starting XI

(4-3-3): Tyler Miller; Jordan Harvey, Eddie Segura, Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour; Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Lee Nguyen; Diego Rossi, Christian Ramirez, Carlos Vela.

Sporting KC Projected Starting XI

(4-3-3): Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Andreu Fontas, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Ille Sanchez, Roger Espinoza, Felipe Guiterrez, Johnny Russell, Krisztian Nemeth, Gerso Fernandes

Photo credit: Erick Gonzales

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LAFC Preseason Finale: Kit Launch and 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

While sporting new threads, the Los Angeles Football Club wrapped up their 2019 preseason with a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium. Carlos Vela scored the lone goal of the evening.

Prior to kickoff, LAFC officially launched the new 2019 secondary kit. The clean white-and-grey kit made its debut on the field, and fans seemed pleased with this year’s design.

Inspired by the “materials and textures that make up the city of Los Angeles,” the new kit gives those urban vibes by featuring thin white stripes in gray hoops. But the pattern is inconsistent, with darker spots and sharp cuts in the pattern. Additionally, the new jock tag has the stylized wing featuring the slogan “Street X Street, Block X Block, One X One,” a nod to the mantra the club has used to build its fanbase.

With new kits in hand, season ticket holders were ready to watch their team finish preseason in a favorable fashion.

The match started off as expected as head coach Bob Bradley fielded a full-strength lineup. Including the trio of Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta and Lee Nguyen, who collectively found ways to help each other move the ball up the pitch.

Carlos Vela scored the opener in the 13th minute, as Christian Ramirez – who was a constant source of pressure for the defense – sent a pass to Vela, who then dribbled upfield and finished calmly with his right foot to beat Zac MacMath.

There was a concerning sight shortly after the restart, as Vela picked up a knock and was forced to exit the match in the 52nd minute.

“It’s the knee; he was protecting the ball,and he sort of got hit a bit from the side,” Bradley told reporters. “He’s sore, and we just need to see how he looks tomorrow and get it looked at tomorrow.”

LAFC saw plenty of chances to double the score during the second half but failed to convert. Fortunately, the black and gold successfully kept their former assistant coach’s team from equalizing—ending in a 1-0 win.

Although scores don’t matter much during the preseason, Saturday’s performance provided a glimpse of what to expect ahead of the season opener against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, March 3.

Photo credit: @LAFC

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LAFC Weekly Roundup: Preseason, Vissel Kobe, USMNT update, Gold Links

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club kicked off their six-match preseason with a 3-1 victory against Toronto FC on Sunday evening.

Andre Horta, Diego Rossi, and newcomer, Peter-Lee Vassell scored all three goals for the home side, while Toronto’s Drew Moor pulled one back for the visitors late in the match.

Baggio Husidic, former LA Galaxy midfielder, who is on trial with the club – made his debut for LAFC after entering for Eduard Atuesta before halftime. If given a contract, he can provide some depth in the midfield area.

Although it was only the first match and the results don’t benefit much, it was nice to see a win from the Black and Gold after a string of losses that ended their season early last year.

LAFC will host Columbus Crew, Atlanta United, San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver in Banc of California stadium for the remainder of preseason.

Supporters and the public are invited to attend the second-ever international friendly and season ticket members will have an opportunity to attend the final preseason match on Saturday, Feb. 23.

USMNT Update: Zimmerman and Ramirez scores in Sunday’s win

The United States Men’s National Team kicked off a new era under new head coach Gregg Berhalter on Sunday, opening their 2019 campaign with a 3-0 shutout against Panama at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Following the opening goal from Chicago Fire’s Djordje Mihailovic in the 40th minute, LAFC’s favorite duo Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez scored a pair of goals back-to-back – securing the 3-0 shutout. 

January has been a busy month for Zimmerman. After much speculation, Zimmerman and LAFC agreed to a new four-year contract. The center back returns as an elite defender in his prime years – having six years of MLS experience and has been a regular for the U.S. Men’s National Team over the last year.

But Zimmerman wasn’t the only player from the Black and Gold to contribute – Ramirez, 27, earned his first international cap and marked the special occasion with a goal in the 89th minute.

Zimmerman and Ramirez will get another chance to shine on Saturday, Feb. 2, as the USMNT take on Costa Rica in San Jose, California.

Tyler Miller Returns to LAFC

Walker Zimmerman, Christian Ramirez, and Tyler Miller recently completed three weeks of USMNT camp in Chula Vista, California. Unfortunately, the team would leave behind four players, including Miller, before departing to Arizona.

The 25-year-old goalkeeper immediately returned to training with LAFC and played a vital role in Sunday’s contest.

LAFC’s friendly against Vissel Kobe

With the re-signing of Walker Zimmerman and the subsequent return of defenders Danilo Silva and Dejan Jakovic a day later, LAFC is bringing back 18 members of its inaugural squad. And in returning that core, a season after setting the standard for first-year teams in MLS, the club and its fans are asking: What can this group of players achieve with a full season under their belts?

The Black and Gold will have a chance to answer that question as they host Vissel Kobe for a preseason friendly this Thursday.

Vassell, Perez, and Mendoza are Black and Gold

LAFC surprised fans when they traded their first-round pick to FC Cincinnati during the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago.

But head coach Bob Bradley isn’t to be underestimated and the club didn’t leave empty handed as LAFC selected Peter-Lee Vassell, Javi Perez, and Kevin Mendoza.

Here’s what we know about these three draftees:

  • Peter-Lee Vassell – 40th overall pick

Before hitting the pitch, Vassell is already an interesting case.

The 19-year-old is one the few players who did not get selected out of college. Instead, the midfielder found his route to the SuperDraft via the 2018 Caribbean Combine, being selected MVP and earning an invite to the main MLS Combine. Additionally, he is on the senior international with Jamaica – having recorded eight caps and five goals, thus far.

  • Javi Perez – 64th overall pick

At just 20-years-old, the Spanish midfielder wanted a change of scenery after playing for Spain’s La Liga club Valencia CF – serving as the team’s captain for twelve years.

Perez spent the last two years at the University of Pittsburgh, having started in all 35 games he played. As a senior in 2018, he ranked second on the team with eleven points, four goals, and three assists.

A junior transfer from Spain, Perez was a two-time captain for the Panthers, earning USC All-South Region Third Team honors in 2018 and Second Team All-ACC in 2017-18.

  • Kevin Mendoza – 73rd overall pick

Mendoza spent the past four years at Liberty University, earning all-conference honors all four seasons, including first team accolades from 2016-18. A two-year captain for the Flames, Mendoza finished his collegiate career with 32 goals and 15 assists.

The 25-year-old midfielder graduated from Colegio de Bachilleres in his hometown of Mexico City, while also playing for Cruz Azul’s U-17 and U-20 squads.

Gold Links

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New Year. New season: LAFC gears up for 2019 following roster moves and match announcements.

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

In 55 days, the Los Angeles Football Club will kick off their 2019 campaign at the Banc of California Stadium – looking to repeat a historic inaugural season.

Major League Soccer released a list of the 2019 home openers on Thursday, December 20 and listed LAFC’s match for First Kick on Sunday, March 3 against Sporting Kansas City. Sporting KC delivered the black-and-gold’s first home loss on August 11 and suffered a 2-1 defeat at Children’s Mercy Park on Decision Day.

Before entering this marquee match, LAFC will host Japanese club Vissel Kobe in a preseason friendly match on Thursday, January 31. The star-studded team from the J-Leauge features world football legends Lukas Podolski, Andres Iniesta, and David Villa – whom recently left New York City FC to join the top division team.

With the friendly fast-approaching, the club continues to strengthen their roster. Shortly before the holiday break, the week of December 12 proved to be challenging for the club, as the black-and-gold found themselves on the other side of trades.

LAFC was spared in the expansion draft though not everyone had a chance to relax when Chicago Fire selected Marco Ureña during the waiver draft shortly after, including, having to endure a trade and two new signings all within 24 hours of each other.

João Moutinho goes to Orlando via trade for Mohamed El-Munir 

Last season, LAFC was suffering from their lack of defenders. Could El-Munir be the solution?

The 26-year-old defender appeared in 26 regular season contests (23 starts) for Orlando City SC, registering two assists in 2,089 minutes during the 2018 season. El-Munir also played in all three of Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup contests, playing all 300 minutes of the competition.

LAFC selects Ricky Lopez-Espin in Waiver Draft

Lopez-Espín’s signing comes as a surprise since the young forward only appeared in one game for Real Salt Lake last season. However, he did appear in eight matches for Salt Lake’s USL side, Real Monarchs – logging just two assists.

Still inexperienced, he could have the potential to develop. Even though an official contract has not been offered yet, all things considering, I think Lopez-Espin will be offered one following January’s camp. And he could possibly be loaned to a USL team – although the club recently severed ties with the USL side, Orange County SC who hosted a wide range of players.

New Contracts

Thus far, three players have inked new deals with the club for the 2019 season. Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta and Jordan Harvey are all staying put in Los Angeles.

Kaye and Harvey took to social media to express their gratitude and excitement for the new season:

*Atuesta is not very active on social media and expressed his gratitude via statement.

Miller remains the lone keeper

No goalkeepers have yet been added to the roster, still leaving Tyler Miller the lone keeper. I assume LAFC will make more moves before the draft, if not find a few keepers in Chicago.

LAFC is rumored to be seeking to bring back Luis Lopez on loan from Real Espana and could be interested in keeper Cody Cropper from the New England Revolution. The 25-year-old has earned nine clean sheets in 29 appearances. But it seems the club is good at keeping secrets. Anything can happen at this point.

I would hope another keeper is signed soon, since Miller, along with Christian Ramirez and Walker Zimmerman, all received call-ups to the USMNT’s January camp. The camp will begin on January 6 in Chula Vista, California. Miller and Ramirez will be seeking their first cap when the USMNT compete in two friendlies against Panama on January 27 in Glendale, Arizona, and Costa Rica on February 2 in San Jose, California.

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LAFC Weekly Roundup: Kaye Returns, Eddie Segura joins LAFC, Gold Links

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Los Angeles Football Club had a remarkable inaugural season and after setting the bar – the black-and-gold looks ahead to the 2019 season.

Kaye Returns

Mark-Anthony Kaye received a late-birthday gift from the club of a three-year contract extension through 2021 with a club option in 2022.

The 24-year-old Canadian International started in 20 regular season matches, recording two goals and five assists before acquiring a season-ending injury on July 26.

Kaye has a made a full recovery since then and is expected to return to training in 2019.

New Player Signing

Just days before officially announcing their offseason moves, LAFC signed Colombian defender Eddie Segura from Atletico Huila on a six-month loan beginning in January, with a purchase option.

“At such a young age, Eddie has accumulated a wealth of experience in Colombia, and we believe he has the requisite potential and qualities to make an immediate impact to our backline next season.” said general manager and EVP of soccer operations John Thorrington in a team statement. “Eddie is a strong, dynamic defender who fits well with how we play, and, similar to our other players, will continue his progress as a player here in Los Angeles.”

The 21-year-old center back is set to occupy an international spot and will fill a much-needed role, should Walker Zimmerman and Dejan Jaković leave LAFC. But even if they remain on the roster, two CBs could always use reinforcements.

The club’s loan agreement for Danilo Silva has expired. As a result, he will return to Internacional of Brazil after LAFC did not exercise their purchase options.

Segura marks the black-and-gold’s first offseason signing ahead of the preseason camp in January.

Roster Moves

Offseason moves are fast approaching. The good news is it seems we’re keeping our main core of guys. The bad news is we have to say goodbye to a few good players.

The club declined contract options on goalkeepers Charlie Lyon and Quillan Roberts, midfielders Nico Czornomaz, Calum Mallace and James Murphy, and forwards Steeve Saint-Duc and Marco Ureña.

Additionally, defenders Jordan Harvey, Dejan Jaković, and Walker Zimmerman, and midfielder Benny Feilhaber will be out of contract on December 31.

Jaković, Mallace, and Roberts are eligible to participate in the MLS Re-Entry Draft on December 15.

Zimmerman received a Bona Fide Offer and will not be eligible for the Re-Entry Draft. However, rumors have been flooding around Zimmerman since October that he could potentially be leaving LAFC for overseas.

*Click here to view the full list of roster moves

Gold Links: 

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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.

Featured image: @lafc Instagram

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