By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
The Best in the West
The Los Angeles Football Club is the best in the West thanks to Minnesota United’s 2-0 road loss in Houston on September 11.
So what does this mean for the Black & Gold?
The MLS Cup playoffs are coming to the Banc!
As the No. 1 seed – LAFC has secured a first-round bye, home field advantage, and will begin their quest for MLS Cup on Oct. 23 or 24 in the Western Conference semifinals, as other teams kick off their journey on Oct. 19-20.
And should they secure the Supporters’ Shield – the Banc could host its first final.
But there’s more!
The world’s stage is calling LAFC. Along with obtaining the top spot, the Black & Gold qualified for the 2020 Concacaf Champions League; giving the club a chance to compete against world football giants like Real Madrid, Liverpool, Boca Juniors, or Barcelona in the FIFA Club World Cup.
East Coast Rivals
The Black & Gold returns home after earning two points in back-to-back draws on the East Coast.
- Orlando City
The club kicked off their East Coast road series in Orlando on September 7th and played Orlando City to a 2-2 draw.
Missing seven players due to international duty – Adrien Perez earned his first start and Alejandro Guido made his first appearance on the bench.
In the 12th minute, Lee Nguyen sent the ball inside the box, a deflection off Orlando’s backline gave it to Perez, who then tapped it in to score his first goal; giving LAFC the lead.
Nani got in behind LAFC’s defense to chip in the equalizer just moments later. Benji Michael doubled the score in the 20th minute after Ruan cut back a pass to him inside the box.
Down by one, the Black & Gold rallied in the latter part of the half to level the match. Dio played in a ball to Diego Rossi, who, like Perez, beat the keeper in the 78th minute to earn the club their first road point on the East Coast.
LAFC remained on the East Coast to train ahead of their match against the Philadelphia Union.
- Philadelphia Union
MLS Cup final preview? Maybe.
The two playoff bound teams matched each other in a 1-1 draw at Talen Energy Stadium. Despite conceding a goal each, Tyler Miller and Andre Blake kept their teams in the game.
The Union’s Kacper Przybylko opened the scoring early with a header over Miller in the 3rd minute. Carlos Vela returned to action – scoring his 28th goal in the 43rd minute to level the match.
Both sides exchanged scoring opportunities in a chippy second half with the final play falling to the home side. Fortunately, Fabrice-Jean Pinault’s shot went wide – seeing LAFC leave Philadelphia with four cautions and a point.
Carlos Vela Update
The captain is back!
Carlos has missed a total of three matches this season and with Ibrahimovic closing in on the golden boot race – things are beginning to look more challenging for the winger.
Vela rejoined the group in Philadelphia last week to participate in full training. And even though it was great to see the captain back in action, he did not seem to be at full strength – only seeing 66 minutes of playing time in Philadelphia.
I can only assume Bob Bradley saw this too; leading to his decision to switch Vela out with Brian Rodriguez.
Staying atop of the standings for 24 weeks straight and holding 64 points, LAFC will look to close out the regular season on a high note with four games left and the Supporters’ Shield in sight.
The Black & Gold still own the best home record this MLS season (11-1-2) and on Sept. 21, the club will look to restart it’s winning streak at home when they host fourth-place, Toronto FC.
Featured Image: LAFC
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