Tag Archives: Carlos Vela

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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LAFC vs. LA Galaxy: Match Preview

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

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

When: Thursday, July 26th, 7:30 p.m. PT.

How to watch: ESPN, ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980


After falling to Minnesota United FC this past weekend, the black-and-gold returned to training on Tuesday. Lee Nguyen – who has been dangerous in the midfield this season – is available for Thursday after serving his one-match suspension due to a red card he picked up with Portland. Eduard Atuesta and André Horta were also in full training this week.

It’s no secret, there is a deep-seeded rivalry between both clubs especially, with the second installment of “El Trafico” around the corner. To help get a deeper insight, I interviewed my fellow colleague at MLSFemale and LA Galaxy reporter, Michelle Huitink.

Araceli Villanueva: The Galaxy had a bit of a rocky start but has been winning a lot of games as of late. How have they turned things around?

Michelle Huitink: This is a good question. They were playing bad soccer up until July 14. I was amazed how they came back to win against [the New England Revolution], to be honest. We couldn’t even beat San Jose or DC United, OK those ended in draws, but they’re bottom tiered teams. But, even with all of the Galaxy’s problems with defense, they’ve got a consistent pattern of play: Concede a goal or two early and then Zlatan or Alessandrini or Kamara or even Pontius score. Bingham is fantastic at saving us, but he has to work so hard because the defense is so weak – other teams often score on deflections.

We have good players and now they’re finally learning to play together as a team rather than individual talent. [Coach Schmid] been playing three in the back, which I think there should be 4, but this formation (3-4-1-2) has been working. Set pieces are also the way we score.

AV: In addition to Carlos Vela, Latif Blessing and Diego Rossi creating dangerous plays in the box – Tyler Miller and Walker Zimmermann have been vital to our defense. And with Nguyen available for selection, it looks like LAFC could have a powerful roster again for Thursday’s matchup. What adjustments do you think the Galaxy can make to their lineup to counter set pieces?

MHWe are missing Sebastian Lletget as he recovers from an injury. Ashley Cole was out due to a red card. The Dos Santos Bros had been out because of international duty and once they were back, they didn’t make an impact. So I’d say, the lineup has been changing a lot. The thing is, the Galaxy don’t lack talent [and] I think Coach Sigi Schmid has finally figured something out.

Alessandrini has been coming in as a sub and I think that helps balance out egos and power struggles. Ibrahimovic does his thing, but the fact that now he and Kamara are played together up top and Kamara isn’t playing midfield (a position that he frankly, isn’t comfortable in nor suited for). I think those are keys.

Dave Romney has been great for defense. Dude has gotten two teeth knocked out now. I kind of see Boateng as a “closing pitcher” kind of, where he tightens up defense, makes plays, and goes for goal whenever he’s subbed in, usually pretty late in the second half.

AV: Although these two clubs have played each other once, thus far. It seems they are quite familiar with each other. Is there any player LAFC fans should learn about? Or give us a fun fact about the Galaxy we might not know!

MH: Romain Alessandrini aka “Alsessandreamy” always gives a Man of the Match performance. He’s a 7, but he always plays hard for the Galaxy. He’s usually getting yellow cards or is in the mix whenever someone gets one. He was so happy France won the Cup, of course, he was watching in-flight. He carried a big French flag with him and he and Ciani posed with it. Now, he’s bringing that winning attitude to the Galaxy. What can I say concisely? He’s hot on the pitch and off. It would just be a travesty if he got traded.

AV: Ibra. The player that likes to refer to himself in third person. LAFC was dominating the last match until he appeared late in the match. Do you think he will deliver the same, if not, similar results Thursday?

MH: I have no doubts that Zlatan will perform and score at least one; He has 9 goals in his last 6 starts. 4 assists. And total 12 goals with the Galaxy since he’s joined.

I just think the strategy can’t be to just get the ball to Zlatan because that’s when we get predictable. Now, the Galaxy on March 31st had started the comeback as Lletget had scored a consolation goal and then Pontius scored. Ibra was just the one to bring it all on for the win, which is what we hired him for, right?

LAFC are at home. They’ve got something to prove against the Galaxy more so. For all the trash talk people joke and say about LAFC, they’ve got Blessing, Vela, Rossi and Diomande and other great players that I wouldn’t underestimate. Tyler Miller is one heck of a goalkeeper. It’s definitely going to be game on. This is MLS, it’s anyone’s game.

Featured image: Erick Gonzales

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Weekly Update: Hat Trick Dio, André Horta’s Arrival, World Cup News

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Dio’s Hat-Trick

LAFC wins in a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia Union this past weekend.

Adama Diomande scored the first hat-trick in the club’s history. Then Latif Blessing put the cherry on top with a goal during stoppage time giving the black and gold a 4-1 victory.

According to Elias Sports, Dio now has seven goals in his first five MLS games, the most of any player after 5 games in the league’s 23-year history.

*Read more about the match here.

André Horta has arrived

André Horta arrived in Los Angeles on June 22 and is already donning his black and gold kit. Although he did not participate in the black and gold’s 2-0 victory over Columbus Crew the next day, Horta was cheering with the fans in the supporters’ section.

The Portuguese striker didn’t appear in Saturday’s victory.

Open Cup Blessings

LAFC advances to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals in a 3-2 victory over Sacramento Republic FC after a dramatic second half.

Sacramento proved to be a tough team having already knocked out an MLS team prior to the Round of 16 matchup and the black and gold was up to task. Elliott Hord buried a rebound giving Sacramento the lead in the first half. Benny Feilhaber was close to leveling the match when he stepped up to take the penalty but his attempt was saved by Josh Cohen going into the half trailing by one.

Feilhaber quickly made up his poor attempt when he found the equalizer in the 58th minute. However, the celebration was cut short as Villyan Bijev put Sacramento ahead just two minutes later. Diego Rossi – who had the best performance of the night – tied up the game again in the 67th minute.

Rossi nearly scored again in the 85th minute, but his shot went off the post, and it bounced back along the goal line. The game-winner came in the 89th minute, as Rossi sent a low cross to Latif Blessing who tapped it in giving LAFC their 3-2 victory.

LAFC will host the Portland Timbers for the USOC quarterfinals on Wednesday, July 18th. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PST.

Two LAFC players selected for MLS All-Star Roster

Carlos Vela and Laurent Ciman are having one heck of a year!

Vela and Ciman have been named to the 2018 MLS All-Star roster. They will join a 26-player squad as Major League Soccer’s brightest stars square off with Italian powerhouse Juventus in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

The summer showcase at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will kick off Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 4:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted on ESPN and UniMas.

World Cup Update

Carlos Vela remained the sole LAFC player to participate in this summer’s 2018 World Cup action as Mexico advanced to the Round of 16, unfortunately, El Tri was eliminated after suffering a 2-0 loss to Brazil Monday morning.

Vela played the full 90 minutes and nearly scored a goal in the 60th minute. His left-footed curl could have tied up the game giving Mexico hope, but it was pushed over by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson. Despite all efforts, El Tri fell to Brazil.

Egypt and Costa Rica were eliminated during the group stage. It is unclear when Omar Gaber, Marco Ureña and Vela will return to LA.

Watch for my LAFC at Houston recap coming soon.

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Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

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