Tag Archives: Diego Rossi

LAFC Advances to the Western Conference Finals in 5-3 Thriller

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club had the last laugh in an eight-goal thriller as they defeated the LA Galaxy, stamping their ticket to their first-ever Western Conference Final.

Brian Rodriguez moved the ball down the pitch, and rounded a Galaxy defender to send in the shot after a slow start from the home side. But as the script goes, the ball flew over the crossbar.

Carlos Vela scored the two opening goals in the 16th and 40th minutes to solidify LAFC’s lead. Cristian Pavon immediately answered the Golden Boot winner to put the visitors on the board and cut celebrations short before the half.

Dominating with 60.8% possession, the Galaxy quickly forced a spry Tyler Miller to save Giancarlo González’s header from the centre of the box shortly after the restart whistle. The 26-year-old keeper came up huge again in the 53rd minute to retrieve a loose ball after both sides scrambled inside the box to get a touch.

Zlatan leveled the match 2-2 in the 55th minute after the ball slipped through Miller’s legs into the net.

Bradley made a double substitution in the 59th minute that saw Adama Diomande and Walker Zimmerman enter the match in place of Rodriguez and Steven Beitashour. The pair made an immediate impact.

Just when it looked like history would repeat itself, Diego Rossi and Diomande scored back-to-back goals within a two-minute span to revive the Black & Gold’s two-goal lead just ten minutes after the Swede’s equalizing breakthrough.

Rolf Feltscher headed in the finisher off Romain Alessandrini’s free-kick to pull one back for the visitors in the 77th minute.

Three minutes later, Diomande dribbled the ball upfield, completely dismantling the Galaxy’s backline to score his second goal of the night and the club’s game winner, making it 5-3.

The final play fell to the Galaxy who continued knocking on LAFC’s door to keep their playoff hopes alive. Zlatan broke through four minutes into stoppage time to score a goal. But the ref disallowed it – sending the host to the Western Conference Finals.

The Black & Gold will face the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday, October 29 at the Banc of California Stadium. Kickoff is at 7p PST.

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Best in the West: LAFC clinches 2019 Supporters’ Shield

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club clinched the 2019 Supporters’ Shield, making history as the team with the best record of the 2019 MLS season, with a 3-1 victory against the Houston Dynamo at the Banc.

Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and Eduard Atuesta delivered all three goals to secure the team’s first trophy; ensuring New York City FC, who kept their hopes alive in a win against Atlanta United earlier, cannot surpass the club by the end of the regular season.

Head Coach Bob Bradley fielded his usual lineup with a few changes that saw Tristian Blackmon and Mohamed El-Munir starting in place of Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey – the changes made a huge improvement in LAFC’s defense. There was also another strong showing of the DP trio (Vela, Rossi, Brian Rodriguez).

Dominating the game with 70.4% possession and having created two solid chances in the opening twelve minutes, the Black & Gold set the tone of the match.

In the 23rd minute, Rodriguez took a touch off a cross from Blackmon and was taken down near the penalty spot; awarding a penalty to the home side.

The captain converted the penalty to give LAFC the lead. After scoring his 30th goal – Vela was on the cusp of tying the all-time season record. Although he did not achieve this last night, I think a nice piece of silverware made up the difference.

Houston immediately leveled the match after forcing an own goal by Tyler Miller just five minutes later. The ball slipped through traffic to El-Munir who slid to block it, but the ball then deflected off Miller and back into the net.

The drama continued as the club earned a chance to double the lead in the 31st minute after Houston’s Aijaz Struna clipped Lee Nguyen from behind near the box. Referee Ramy Touchan almost awarded a second penalty but the decision was changed to a free kick after a quick VAR review.

Vela’s left footed shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced out; LAFC and the Dynamo fought for the live ball with it ultimately falling to Segura. Unfortunately, his rebound missed just wide of the goal.

The Black & Gold continued to push forward, creating more scoring opportunities. Rodriguez received the final play before the whistle. But his missed attempt lead both sides into the half in a 1-1 stalemate.

LAFC used it’s first substitution of the night shortly after the restart as Mark-Anthony Kaye entered for a visibly disappointed Rodriguez who had only seen 57 minutes of playing time.

Rossi put the team back ahead in the 70th minute after the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and the young forward was there to head it in putting the score up 2-1.

Atuesta’s curler in the 83rd minute was the icing on the cake – securing all three points and the club’s first trophy, while simultaneously eliminating the Dynamo from playoff contention.

With two games left in the regular season, the road to the MLS Cup becomes clearer for the Black & Gold, as they will now have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

LAFC will look to continue their good fortune when they travel to Allianz Field on Sunday, September 29 to face Minnesota United.

Until then, it’s time to celebrate!

Featured Image: Dejan Jakovic

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LAFC earns point at home in third straight draw

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club played Toronto FC to a 1-1 draw in a high-intensity match after returning a two-game road series on Saturday night at the Banc of California stadium.

Although it wasn’t their best performance, the match gave us a glimpse of the DP trio (Carlos Vela, Brian Rodriguez, and Diego Rossi). And we finally saw Diego Palacios on the bench for the first time since signing with the club last month.

Mark-Anthony Kaye tried a through ball just two minutes after the whistle, but Vela was caught offside – setting the tone for the match.

Moments later, Vela challenged Michael Bradley in a game of keep away. The captain defeated the younger Bradley but still couldn’t get through the backline to create a chance.

Toronto FC’s Tsubasa Endoh claimed the lead in the 19th minute after sending in a low cross into the corner off Jozy Altidore’s cross from inside the box.

The miscommunication between defenders continued when Jordan Harvey and Eddie Segura missed a chance to pass; that eventually led to Toronto getting around LAFC’s defense and opening up a dangerous scoring opportunity.  In the 30th minute, Marky Delgado took a shot from the right side of the box that was blocked by a sliding Walker Zimmerman.

Trailing by one – Rossi initially answered the young Japanese midfielder’s goal with the equalizer in the 33rd minute, burying a perfect through ball inside the near post. But as the script goes, his goal was called offsides.

Missing our normal dynamic midfield, the first half was met with a disorganized mess as LAFC struggled to dismantle Toronto FC’s tough defense.

Tristian Blackmon replaced Steven Beitashour at right back as a halftime substitute.

The substitution was a good move for the Black & Gold as they dominated possession and bumped up their shot total to 11, keeping Toronto’s keeper Quentin Westberg on high alert. However, LAFC continued to struggle to find their way around Toronto FC’s defense – that constantly adjusted to match the hosts’ combination plays.

Lee Nguyen came on to replace Zimmerman in the 75th minute moving to a three-man back line.

LAFC’s inaugural captain Laurent Ciman was greeted with applause from the crowd when he made his return to the Banc; coming on for Toronto the next minute.

In the third minute of stoppage time, Latif Blessing drew the penalty after Chris Mavinga scissored him in the chest inside the penalty area. Referee Ted Unkel initially awarded only a corner but changed this ruling after using VAR review.

The captain stepped up to convert the penalty, scoring his 29th career goal, and giving the home side a point in their third-straight draw of the season.

Despite leading the Supporters’ Shield, the Black & Gold are winless in their last five games while drawing four, and could not officially clinch the overall top seed this past weekend.

But not all hope is lost.

According to LAFC’s Digital Manager, Vince La Rosa, LAFC’s new magic number is three and they have two solid chances to secure the Supporters’ Shield on Wednesday.

Next up, the club will host former player Christian Ramirez and the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, September 25th.

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LAFC kicks off Rivalry Week with 4-0 win over San Jose

Official LAFC Reporter

fBy Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club is closing in to win their first-ever Supporters’ Shield thanks to goals from Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, and Josh Perez. Together, they have kept the club atop of the standings and undefeated at home, most recently in a 4-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.

Despite having an excellent outcome, the match did not kick off to a strong start as poor passing from the home team led the Quakes to the door of LAFC’s goal. Fortunately, the shot went wide.

A breakthrough came just six minutes in with Rossi getting the early lead off the rebound. Eduard Atuesta sent a through ball from the midfield, landing to Perez. Perez one-timed a curled shot towards the far post that was saved, but Rossi was there to bury it.

The nightmare began for the visitors as LAFC was awarded the penalty after Anibal Godoy blocked Lee Nguyen’s shot with his hand and was called for a handball. Carlos Vela stepped up to convert, and score his 25th career goal, after VAR confirmed the penalty. 

In the 37th minute, Vako went to score at close range, but Jordan Harvey made a diving save in front of Miller to deny the Quakes’ player.

And then… insanity broke out.

If the match wasn’t already crazy enough, the Quakes’ head coach, Matias Almeyda, was visibly distraught as the referee rejected his request to review the play – alleging Harvey committed a hand ball. A similar call awarded LAFC a penalty moments earlier. Kevin Stott ultimately ejected both Almeyda and his translator. After four minutes of protesting, the coach agreed to leave, but not without stopping to yell back at a fan.

In the midst of the spectacle the sidelines, the captain put LAFC up 3-0 in the 41st minute, scoring his 26th career goal.

While LAFC was busy running up the score, San Jose did produce an equal amount of opportunities and Miller came up huge every time.

Early in the second half, Cristian Espinoza found space on the right side of the box and lasered a shot near the post that was firmly blocked out by Miller.

Wearing a protective mask, Mohamed El-Munir came on to replace Harvey in the 62nd minute to make his first appearance since suffering a facial fracture on July 19. The next minute, Adama Diomande subbed on for Rossi. 

The Quakes desperately continued to try to get on the scoreboard but the New Jersey native kept them at bay. Miller made a fingertip save on a Quakes’ shot that clanked off the post in the 78th minute. Guram Kashia pounced on the bouncing rebound but put it over the net for a goal kick.

Josh Perez had a total of five chances throughout the match, and his moment finally came in the 80th minute when the 21-year-old scored his first ever goal for the club off a pass from Mark-Anthony Kaye.

Diomande scored late into stoppage time but the ref called him for a foul and took back the goal. Despite the call, the Black-and-Gold secured another three points, putting them up to a total of 61 points.

The win, without a doubt, gave LAFC even more confidence before they host the LA Galaxy in the second edition of this year’s El Tráfico on Sunday.

Just like how fans were chanting, “We want Carson!” following the win, LAFC is presumably ready with a lineup at full strength. But, is it enough beat Zlatan’s mental antics?

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San Sisniega: LAFC advances to U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals in 3-1 Win over San Jose Earthquakes

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club returns to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals after knocking out the San Jose Earthquakes in a 3-1 victory at the Banc of California stadium on Thursday night.

Why change what’s not broken? Head Coach Bob Bradley fielded the same lineup as last week with only one change – that being Adama Diomande and Christian Ramirez switching places in the starting XI. But it was a move that would greatly benefit the team during the second half.

With Tyler Miller away on international duty, Pablo Sisniega made eight saves, including a key stop on a close-range shot in the 63rd minute to keep San Jose out. The keeper earned his second-straight start and put his Olympian lineage on full display with another stellar performance for his first appearance at the Banc.

The match kicked off to a rocky start for the black-and-gold as the Quakes outran Jordan Harvey to break through the defense and find a solo Vako who beat Danilo Silva for the early lead for the visitors in the 7th minute.

LAFC continued to struggle to break down the Quakes giving Cristian Espinoza the chance to run the ball down clear to the opposite end of the field to find Chris Wondolowski at the box – Wondo sent the strike off the cross into the net. But the goal was ruled offside.

Trailing by one, the black-and-gold rushed to find the equalizer. Lee Nguyen played the ball ahead to Diego Rossi, who slipped in behind Andrew Tarbell for a cheeky finish – leveling the match in the 35th minute.

LAFC was quick to knock on San Jose’s door after the restart keeping Tarbell alert as they searched for the third goal of the night. From Latif Blessing‘s chance hitting the crossbar to Vela’s shot going wide – the club produced several chances but still had trouble converting.

Just as the ref put Diomande’s number on the board to sub him out for Ramirez, the striker took Rossi’s through ball, got past Tarbell and doubled the score with a perfect strike on an open net in the 60th minute.

The Mexican captain tried to connect with Ramirez just inside the penalty area. But the ball deflected off San Jose’s player to miss the forward by inches.

San Jose proved they are a different team this year as the match intensified with Espinoza and Wondolowski attacking the goal. However, Sisniega, the Mexico City native, came up huge to deny the Quakes twice.

Rossi sent in a screamer in the 84th minute but it deflected just off the inside of the crossbar. But within seconds, LAFC would find themselves back on San Jose’s doorstep after a Marcos Lopez free-kick went back to the black-and-gold.

Eduard Atuesta worked the ball in the midfield and passed it to Tristian Blackmon through traffic. Blackmon ran it down the center connecting with Vela, who cut around San Jose’s defense and slid it home past Tarbell in the 85th minute; securing the 3-1 victory for the black-and-gold.

The club will host the Portland Timbers in the next round on July 10. But first. LAFC returns to MLS action in a two-game road trip next week as they travel to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to face the Colorado Rapids. And then east to face Sporting Kansas City five days later.

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A new rivarly begins: LAFC crashes party in Portland, 3-2

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club ignites new rivalry with a 3-2 win on the road against the Portland Timbers during the grand re-opening of renovated Providence Park.

Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and Latif Blessing helped christen the newly renovated stadium before two of Timbers’ own added to the goal count. Around 750-1,000 traveling supporters made the trek to Portland to support LAFC.

And the Mexican captain didn’t disappoint as he got the early lead for the visitors in the 6th minute thanks to an error from Jeff Attinella – scoring his 16th MLS-career goal.

For a brief period of time, both teams kept slipping on the fresh new artificial turf but the black-and-gold used that to their advantage to stop Portland from finding the equalizer.

In the 20th minute, Eduard Atuesta – who has been a formidable player – was quick to block Diego Valeri in a crowded box; sending the ball to Blessing – who ran it down to the opposite end and was blocked.

Blessing would later find Tristian Blackmon from the sideline with a through ball. The Las Vegas native wasted little time to pass it to Rossi for his first assist – who then tucked it away in the right corner of the net to double the score in the 34th minute.

The Timbers immediately cut the lead in half off the rebound right after the restart. Miller saved the first attempt but then Cristhian Paredes opened up the home side’s goal account with the header.

Blessing, who has been dangerous in the midfield lately, was quick to answer Paredes by scoring the third and final goal of the night for LAFC in the 54th minute off a perfect run from Jordan Harvey.

In a six-minute stretch, Miller made two critical saves to deny both Brian Fernandez and Valeri to preserve the two-goal lead.

However, Miller’s efforts did not last long as Fernandez pulled one back in the 84th minute with a bicycle kick to up the score 3-2.

The drama spilled into stoppage time quickly as there were no signs of either team slowing down. Prior to the extra eight minutes given, Vela kept getting chopped down from behind. But alas, the Timbers received little to no punishment from referee Robert Sibiga. And second-half substitution Adama Diomande became the new subject of conversation during the dramatic final moments. He and Timbers’ Fernandez both received a caution following a brawl that broke out between the two.

With tensions high, the match ended in a 3-2 win keeping LAFC’s winning streak alive and cushioning their lead atop of the western conference even more with 37 points.

Before resuming regular MLS action, LAFC will travel to Rino Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake on June 11 in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

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Hat Trick Hero: LAFC Tops D.C. United 4-0

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The Los Angeles Football Club downs D.C. United 4-0 in a battle between the two best teams in each conference on Saturday afternoon at Audi Field. Diego Rossi‘s hat trick led to the statement shutout victory to stay atop the Western Conference (and league standings) with a now 5-0-1 record.

Head Coach Bob Bradley fielded the same lineup from the thunderous 5-0 shoutout in San Jose last week. Perhaps, this lineup is finally clicking? It must be. Because LAFC would earn a comfortable 3-0 lead just before the half.

In the 10th minute, Jordan Harvey chased down a long ball in the left wing and tried to send the cross. D.C. United’s Leonardo Jara blocked the cross on a sliding effort, awarding LAFC the penalty.

What would seem like a magical moment for Carlos Vela, who scored his first hat trick last week, saw his chance be thwarted by Bill Hamid, who dove left to save the penalty.

Five minutes later, Adama Diomande pressured the backline forcing a giveaway. Diomande gave the ball to the Mexican captain who ran it up, cut inside with his dangerous left foot into the upper left corner past Hamid – giving the black and gold the lead they were looking for earlier.

In the 52nd minute, D.C. United’s captain, Wayne Rooney was shown a red after digging his cleat into Rossi’s right leg in a sliding tackle for the ball. Rooney was originally given a caution but upgraded to red after the play underwent review. Rooney’s departure gave LAFC some relief as the captain had logged three free kicks that evening.

Now playing with ten men, D.C. United would find one opportunity but Lucas Rodriguez’s attempt found the side of the netting.

Steven Beitashour and Tyler Miller are the keeper duo we didn’t know we needed. A free kick conceded by Beitashour in the 57th minute resulted in a dangerous opportunity for D.C. The resulting cross was mishandled by a jumping Miller. D.C. put the loose ball on net twice: the first saved by Miller and the second redirected off the goal line by Beitashour.

With 20 minutes left and a solid 3-0 lead, Bradley started making substitutions. His first was replacing Harvey with Mohamed El-Munir to make his LAFC debut.

Rossi scored the hat trick in the 76th minute after finding himself alone with Hamid and finishes low to left corner – securing the black-and-gold’s 4-0 victory, as well marking history for the club.

A brief scare came in the 80th minute when Miller landed hard on his right side. The 26-year-old keeper was down briefly but managed to collect himself back up and quickly jumped back into action. Unlike Diomande’s injury he acquired earlier, Miller appeared to be fine.

The rest of the match saw both sides go back and forth with LAFC controlling more than half of the possession, ultimately extending their undefeated run in a 4-0 win.

LAFC will return to the Banc to host FC Cincinnati for the first time on Saturday, April 13.

Photo credit: LAFC

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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.

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