Tag Archives: Daisy Jimenez

Making History: LAFC Defends The Banc in 4-2 Victory

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club continues to shake up the league in a 4-2 win over the New York Red Bulls and remains the only team in the MLS undefeated at home.

Normally, defenders don’t make the highlight reel or some recaps but last night was a special occasion. Defenders Jordan Harvey and Eddie Segura scored their first LAFC goals off of set-pieces – coming off balls played towards the middle of the penalty area by non-other Carlos Vela.

Harvey’s header opened up the scoring sheet in the 23rd minute. And less than two minutes later, a sequence of passes by Eduard Atuesta and Steven Beitashour helped Latif Blessing notch one home to double the score.

However, celebrations would be cut short in the 42nd minute. Blessing made a tackle outside the top of the left side of the box, but the ball rolled to Red Bull’s Cristian Casseres Jr., who sent a low shot near post – pulling one back for the visitors cutting the lead in half.

Tyler Miller was quick to make a diving save in the 44th minute to deny Daniel Royer securing the lead a little longer – just before the Red Bulls made another run at LAFC’s defense to force an own goal by the keeper – leveling the match just before the half.

Mark-Anthony Kaye regained the lead in the 50th minute when he sent a through ball down the middle into the back of the net. But the referee Drew Fischer later disallowed it for a foul outside the box after consulting VAR.

Six minutes later, Blessing almost gave us serious deja vu with another goal by dribbling past two defenders, but an outstretched Luis Robles blocked his attempt.

LAFC proceeded to push on the counters – soon receiving another scoring opportunity when Rece Buckmaster, recently signed from Red Bulls II, got tangled up with Eduard Atuesta who went down inside the box – awarding LAFC the penalty. Vela successfully converted the shot putting the black-and-gold back in front, scoring his 23rd-career goal.

The Mexican captain continues to make history, now tied with the record for most combined goals and assists in a single MLS season.

And just when you thought Bob Bradley would go the full 90 with all starters – he made a double substitution late in the second half sending in Lee Nguyen and Josh Perez replacing Kaye and Diego Rossi.

Segura, who was recently acquired from Colombian side Atletico Huila on a permanent, multi-year deal, notched his first career goal and the game-winner off a free kick from the captain in the 72nd minute.

Perez and Adama Diomande kept knocking on the Red Bulls door for the duration of the match but had difficulty finding the fifth goal. Ultimately, LAFC ended the match by claiming all three points and solidifying their lead at the top of the table even further.

Now with 55 points, a +40 goal differential, and leading the Supporters’ Shield race by 10 points – LAFC will travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to face rivals Real Salt Lake on Saturday, August 17.

Featured Image:  Daisy Jimenez

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Player Spotlight: Steven Beitashour blends sport and culture in Los Angeles

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Once a ball boy for the San Jose Earthquakes, LAFC’s defender Steven Beitashour is thankful to now be a part of a club in his home state that continuously supports him not only as a player, but also supports his connection to his Iranian heritage.

The San Jose native dreamed of becoming a soccer player after his father – a former San Francisco State University player – introduced him to the game and took him to his first practice at four years old.

Beitashour, born to Iranian parents, is an Iranian international and strongly identifies with his heritage. While there have been a handful of Iranian players in MLS over the history of the league, Beitashour has had the longest and most successful career to date, winning the MLS Cup with Toronto FC in 2017, and the Supporters’ Shield with San Jose in 2012. Additionally, he played in the 2014 World Cup with the Iranian National Football Team and made an appearance at the 2012 MLS All-Stars.

In 2010, Beitashour received the opportunity to play for his childhood team – after the Quakes selected him in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. His family supported him fully by attending all his games.

He would go on to spend three years with the Quakes before being traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2014. Following a short stint in British Columbia, Steven was then traded to Toronto FC in 2015 for two years, before having the chance to return to his home state as a free agent.

“LAFC seemed the best fit as far as the coach. I think Bob Bradley is one of the best coaches, in not only the U.S., but the world. LAFC had a lot of promise by how they were creating this club with the stadium, the fans, the name, the logo, etc., it seemed they were doing it right. Being from California, I had a lot of other offers, so it wasn’t an easy decision. But it made the decision a little easier.”

On January 24, 2018, the 32-year-old defender signed with the Los Angeles Football Club. Beitashour hit two major career milestones during his first year with the expansion club:

  • Beitashour made his 200th start in the 2-0 win against the Columbus Crew SC on June 23rd, becoming the 100th MLS player in league history to reach the mark. 
  • Beitashour also started in all 30 of his MLS Regular Season appearances, his sixth season surpassing the 2000 minute mark. 

Since then, Beitashour has been fortunate to find a club that not only supports him as a player but highly respects his Iranian heritage.

“[There’s] a huge soccer culture in the Iranian culture. If you ask them, ‘what is your favorite sport?’ I think 99% of them would say soccer. […] So the fact that you can bring awareness that there is an Iranian-American player playing in the MLS – in their own backyard. I think a lot of them stick well to it and are LAFC fans.”

There is a significant population of Iranians and Iranian-Americans in and around Los Angeles, with some estimates stating there are between 300,000 and half a million people of Iranian heritage residing in the greater Los Angeles area. It is considered to be the largest group of Iranians outside of Iran in the world.

“There are a lot of young kids that are in a similar position where they’re Iranian-American – they want to play for the MLS, they want to play for the Iranian National Team and they look at my story for hope and belief.”

LAFC have been groundbreakers in cultural acceptance by recognizing and respecting each player’s background. Omar Gaber, former defender and Egyptian native kicked off the tradition last year of having the first player t-shirt in Arabic before departing the club in July of 2018.

Last October, the LAFC released the first Farsi t-shirt in MLS history; a shirt in black-and-gold, that reads: ‘Los Angeles Football Club’ to show solidarity with the defender.

“I think they’re taking advantage of the fact that’s there so many Iranians, Persians, in the greater Los Angeles area. And the fact they support me in that way, and they show that they support all their players. Not just me. [It] really speaks volumes of the club and how they’re doing things,” Beitashour continues. “LA has a lot of different cultures [and] ethnicities here. Soccer is the world game. So anytime you can get into those areas; it’s really smart and beneficial for both the club and the player.”

In addition to having personalized player apparel added to LAFC HQ’s cultural collection, alongside Lee Nguyen’s player tee in Vietnamese, Beitashour had the opportunity to share his culture through food on an episode of “Taste of LAFC” hosted by Max Bretos. He took LAFC’s play-by-play announcer to Shamshiri Grill just outside of Westwood to enjoy a traditional Persian meal while discussing his experiences with the club.

Off the field, the new father balances spending time with his family, filming his “Beita Time” series on LAFC’s youtube channel, and recording episodes of the ‘Back-To-Back’ podcast with fellow teammate Jordan Harvey.

LAFC continues to be a trailblazer in MLS by displaying player support on both personal and athletic levels. And Steven Beitashour is proof of that.

Featured Image:  Daisy Jimenez

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Player Spotlight: Tyler Miller, ‘It’s a dream come true’

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

From playing with Seattle’s USL side, Seattle Sounders 2, to traveling cross-country with the U.S. Men’s National Team – the journey has been a dream come true for LAFC’s goalkeeper Tyler Miller.

Inspired by his brothers, the Woodbury native found his passion for the game through some friendly brotherly rivalry:

“I got into soccer because my brothers […] played soccer as well as we were growing up. So for me, it was an opportunity to kinda be like them and I always looked up them growing up. I wanted to do everything that they were doing. So soccer was the big thing. That was my main thing, we were able to bond – have fun together.”

After tending goal at Northwestern and a short stint in the German fourth division, Miller arrived in Seattle to support the established starter, Stefan Frei.

Miller was selected with the first pick of the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft on December 12, 2017. He made his club debut on March 4 – along with his first clean sheet against his former team.

“{When] I moved out to LA last year, it was a good transition. I got my first opportunity to play. It’s been good so far.”

And that it has.

Life for Miller in Los Angeles has been different. He lives in Santa Monica now and enjoys hanging out with fellow teammate and neighbor, Walker Zimmerman. There are fewer rainy days and less uncertainty about his preparation every week.

Earlier this year, he inked his first keeper glove deal with West Coast Goalkeeping – a Seattle-based company Miller developed a “bond” with while with the Sounders – receiving the opportunity to take part in designing his own keeper glove, the Quantum Miller Pro – with a small keychain version to match.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working on a pair of gloves for myself. And to be able to launch that is exciting – I see all these little kids now; its like they’re wearing my gloves which is just awesome.”

So far this season, Tyler has recorded: 18 matches. 1,620 minutes. 47 saves. 12 victories. Six shutouts – to be exact.

And his work with the Black-and-Gold hasn’t gone unnoticed as the 26-year-old keeper received his first senior team camp call-up in January – though he wasn’t selected for a game-day roster.

Six months later, he was called up once again. This time, Miller would jet off to training and appear on the bench for both of the USMNT’s friendlies against Venezuela and Jamaica – then earned a spot on the final 2019 Gold Cup roster.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I mean to think about where I was a year and a half ago, wasn’t even playing for Seattle and now I’m starting for LA. To be here now with this amazing team, part of this Gold Cup roster is something I’ve always dreamt about. So it’s a dream come true to be a part of this team.”

Even though Miller remained on the bench throughout the tournament, it was an experience he’ll never forget – telling reporters upon returning to LAFC, he is “grateful” for the opportunity.

Since returning to the club from international duty, Miller appeared back in goal in the 3-1 win over Houston Dynamo on July 12. And again, seven days later for the fourth installment of El Tráfico.

Motivated by his family, Miller is also known for his philanthropic events as he hosted the second annual ‘Tyler Miller’s Beach Soccer Tournament Fundraiser’ this year to benefit the Austin Everett Foundation – an organization that aims to empower kids in their fight against cancer through the strength and support of athletic teams.

“[It] runs in my family and so that was something that motivated me to really just try and take that initiative and do whatever I can. Because I know how difficult it is for families that have cancer. And so being able to help them in any way I can; in any way possible is really important to me.”

Over 100 fans attended the event where Miller, along with teammates Dejan Jaković, Tristan Blackmon, and Walker Zimmerman, coached four teams in a beach soccer tournament. Along with the tournament, the event also hosted a silent auction with autographed items donated by Miller’s friends and teammates – to help raise additional funds for the foundation.

Aside from planning future fundraisers – Miller has appeared on LAFC’s podcasts and various shows on Youtube, two of which were started by his teammates: Steven Beitashour, Jordan Harvey and Zimmerman. When asked if he has considered joining the podcast community; Miller expressed his interest to be on TV: “I’m hoping to get on TV one day. But I’m taking my time.”

I have no doubt Miller will be on television one day, but for now, LAFC has captured the nation and fans nationwide will have a chance to watch Tyler and his teammates this Friday night, as they host Atlanta United at the Banc of California stadium. The match will air on ESPN at 7 pm PST.

Featured Image: Daisy Jimenez

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

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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

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

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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.

Photo credit: Daisy Jimenez/mlsfemale

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