In an odd turn of events, what should have been an easy win, backfired – as the black and gold fell to the Chicago Fire in a surprising 3-1 road loss. Diego Rossi would score the lone goal for the Los Angeles Football Club.
Looking ahead to their second-straight road match, the black-and-gold will travel to Denver to face the Colorado Rapids in search of clinching a playoff spot.
Danilo Silva has returned to training and is expected to make the trip to Colorado. However, Latif Blessing still remains on the injured list.
A win and we’re in.
LAFC needs to defeat the Colorado Rapids this Saturday to secure a spot in the club’s first-ever MLS playoffs.
Digital ManagerVince La Rosa discussed other possible scenarios, should the black-and-gold have any unexpected surprises.
MLS 22 Under 22 List
On Thursday, the league released their annual MLS 22 Under 22 List with a total of four players appearing on this year’s list, the most in any club:
#3 Diego Rubio – Forward, Age 20
#11 Latif Blessing – Forward, Age 21
#13 André Horta – Midfielder 20
#16 Eduard Atuesta – Midfielder, Age 21
Luis Lopez Called-Up
GoalkeeperLuis López has been called up to the Honduras National Team for its friendly with the United Arab Emirates on October 11 at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona.
LAFC acquired the rookie goalkeeper from Real C.D. España of the Honduran First Division on January 24, 2018. López made his LAFC debut against Sporting KC on August 11 – after a lengthy recovery from a leg injury.
The 25-year-old will join fellow MLS players Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto in the Honduran squad.
For this week’s fun links, LAFC gifted us another episode of Beita Time and a thrilling background story of Latif Blessing:
It seems Mother Nature has truly been testing Los Angeles FC lately as they faced Houston Dynamo in rainy conditions and now Orlando City SC in the midst of a Californian heatwave. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop the black-and-gold from defeating Orlando in a 4-1 victory and remain undefeated at home.
LAFC started having to sustain some pressure from Orlando and dealing with attacking threats from Dom Dwyer, Sacha Kljestan, and Josue Colman for the first ten minutes.
Latif Blessing tries to head one in but it is denied by Joe Bendik. Blessing keeps the rebound alive and kicked it back in the group with his teammates waiting – the ball falls to Mark-Anthony Kaye who kicks it so lightly to Adama Diomande who then taps it in opening the scoring sheet for the black-and-gold.
Tyler Miller deserves major props for making eight saves in the match, several of them 1v1 in crucial situations.
Diomande was close to earning the black-and-gold their third when he kicked in a loose ball, however, it was called offsides. Moments later, Kljestan found the goal in the 58th minute after Ciman forced the right-footed striker to clear one off his left-foot past Miller putting Orlando on the board 2-1.
The black-and-gold immediately was ready to respond with another goal when Blessing sent one to Kovar but the ball goes wide. Again another goal would be taken away thanks to VAR, luckily this time it was for Dom Dwyer in the 72nd minute. A frustrated Dwyer would try to score again – this time the goal would have been good – but Miller quickly rejected his chance.
In an action-filled two minutes, Diomande and Diego Rossi scored back-to-back goals near the 82nd minute. Diomande finished a rebound off of Laurent Ciman that sent Orlando scrambling to save it but the ball bounces off the crossbar over the line awarding the black-and-gold their third goal.
The first round of the group stage for the 2018 World Cup has come to a close. Three LAFC players are currently participating in the 2018 World Cup in Russia: Carlos Vella, Marco Ureña, and Omar Gaber. While, Laurent Ciman is set to return to LA after returning to Belgium from Russia.
Mexico upsets Germany in historic match
Mexico makes a historic win in a 1-0 victory over Germany in Luzhniki Stadium. Defying all odds, El Tri defeated the defending 2014 World Cup champions winning their fifth opening match at the World Cup. Hiring Lozano – otherwise known as Chucky – broke through the machine’s defense to slide in the winning goal in the 35th minute.
Even though Carlos Vela only saw 60 minutes of action during this remarkable match – he played a crucial role in El Tri’s counterattack. Starting in a central attacking role behind Chicharito, Vela orchestrated multiple dangerous counterattacks from Mexico. Vela came close to adding to Mexico’s score in the 56th minute when he missed a perfect chance off a cross due to some sloppy footwork from Chicharito in a 2v1 advantage. With this style of play and Osorio’s praises, I predict we will see Vela starting for the other two remaining group matches.
El Tri will face South Korea on Saturday, June 23.
Costa Rica falls to Serbia 1-0
Marco Ureña received his first World Cup start and became the first player in LAFC history to participate in a World Cup. Unfortunately, Costa Rica dropped its opener 1-0.
The Ticos was close to creating the best opening before break when Ureña sent a left footed shot from outside the box, however, it flew over the bar in the 39th minute. Moments later, Francisco Calvo‘s attempt misses to the left of the goal going into halftime scoreless. Ureña played 67 minutes before being substituted off for Joel Campbell.
Aleksandar Kolorav finally broke the deadlock when he sent a free-kick into the top corner in the 56th minute giving Serbia the lead. The Ticos quickly searched for an equalizer but despite all efforts couldn’t do so resulting in their first loss of the tournament.
Costa Rica will continue to fight for points as they go up against Brazil in their next match. Nevertheless, Brazil tied with Switzerland on Sunday, so I don’t think it will be too much of a problem.
Egypt falls without Gaber
Egypt fell to the Uruguay 1-0 for their opening match and first appearance since 1990.
The match remained a stalemate until the 89th minute when José Giménez headed in the last minute goal off a free-kick from Carlos Sanchez securing Uruguay’s three points.
Omar Gaber shared the bench with famed player Mohamed “Mo” Salah as a substitute for the opener.
Ciman on standby
Laurent Ciman was put on standby ahead of Sunday’s match against Panama – in case of an injury. Ultimately, the LAFC captain left Russia and returned to Belgium.
⚽️ @LaurentCiman23 left the group this morning. Laurent returned to 🇧🇪 and will now remain one of our stand-by players, until Sunday evening 5pm. R. Martínez thanks him for his professionalism and contribution to the team during our #WorldCup preparation. #REDTOGETHER
It is unclear if Ciman will be able to help the black and gold advance to the next round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when they host Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, June 20. But if he is not back nor available for that match, he’ll likely return to LA just in time for next Saturday’s game against Columbus Crew SC.
Los Angeles Football Club advances to the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history in a 2-0 victory over Fresno FC at Banc at California Stadium on Wednesday. Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing scored the lone goals of the night.
The first half saw a battle of strong defense from both sides, however LAFC managed to create multiple chances around the 27th minute with chances from Calum Mallace and Walker Zimmerman. Despite their attempts, the game went into halftime scoreless.
The Foxes were close to opening up the scoring in the 49th minute when Danny Barrera whips a cross into the box, however, the ball landed in front of Agustin Cazarez who could not convert the chance.
Moments after Rossi replaced Adama Diomande, after leaving in extra time for a blow to the head – he gets the final touch and it trickles across the goal line to open the scoring in the 53rd minute. Just four minutes later, Blessing secured LAFC’s ticket to the Round of 16 after burying a loose ball in the box and doubling the score.
The Foxes continued to look for their first goal throughout the remainder of the half. In the 84th minute, Barrera sent a strike from 30 yards out but Tyler Miller was quick to deny Barrera giving the black and gold their first-ever U.S. Open Cup victory.
LAFC will host Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, June 20.
Monday was a busy day for LAFC as the club announced four players named to their national team’s provisional squads, respectively. In addition to, Los Angeles will serve as one of the host cities for the Gold Cup in 2019.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is starting to heat up as managers of all 32 countries competing in the 2018 tournament officially released the provisional squad rosters on Monday. Each country’s coach selected between 30-35 players for their provisional squads.
Teams have until June 4 to announce their official 23-man tournament roster. However, some coaches have already announced their final rosters before the deadline. Including, Costa Rica’s head coach Óscar Ramírez.
The month-long tournament will kick off on June 15 with the group stage running till the 28th before going on a two-day break for the knockout phase. The final will take place on July 15 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
LAFC is the only MLS club with the most potential participants in this year’s tournament and is expected to have multiple players called up by their respective national teams:
For the first time since 2014, defender Steven Beitashour has been called up by the Iranian National Team and has the opportunity to make his second appearance for the squad in the 2018 World Cup.
The San Jose native first featured for the Iranian National Team in 2013 and appeared in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He notched an assist in Iran’s 3-0 win over Thailand in Asian Cup qualifications in 2013 and was on the bench for the national team’s three group matches in Brazil.
Iran is the first team from the Asian Football Confederation to stamp their ticket to Russia. Iran was drawn into group B with Morocco, Spain, and Portugal – arguably the toughest group in the tournament. If selected, Beitashour could face Ronaldo.
Despite, the controversial call-ups of Masoud Shojaei and Ehsah Haji Safi – both players who were initially banned for life last year after playing for their Greek club Panionios against an Israeli team – Beitashour remains on the 35-man provisional roster. There is a chance he will not make the trip as head coach still has less than a month to whittle down his squad to 23 players for the tournament.
So thankful for being on the 35 man preliminary roster for the 2018 World Cup! Still a lot of work to be done but I’m so appreciative of this opportunity! 🇮🇷 ❤️ https://t.co/VxKskDiNUQ
Omar Gaber was named to Egypt’s 29-man provisional squad as The Pharaohs prepares for their first World Cup appearance since 1990. The 26-year-old defender is a veteran of World Cups in youth tournaments for Egypt and now has a chance to make his first appearance for the senior competition led by head coach Hector Cuper.
Egypt was selected to play in Group A with Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and the host country, Russia. Although Egypt won’t play the host country until June 19, Gaber’s presence can be huge for the team. Gaber has played 18 times for Egypt, appearing in five games in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
Vela has been vital to the black and gold’s current success having scored his sixth MLS career goal this past Sunday in a dramatic 2-2 draw against New York City FC. Named to the 28-man preliminary roster by the boss Juan Carlos Osorio, Vela has a chance to bring his talent back to the world stage.
A veteran of the 2010 World Cup, Vela has been a consistent starter during Mexico’s qualifying campaign and helped his team stamp their ticket to Russia. Vela skipped the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to a long-standing dispute with the national team. However, he returned to the roster later that year. The forward has recorded 67 appearances and 18 goals for El Tri and is now on the verge of his second World Cup appearance.
Mexico was drawn into Group F consisting of Germany, Sweden, Korea Republic. Mexico is set to start their run on June 17 against the current World Cup champions and will need Vela’s help to hold off the German powerhouse.
Marco Ureña – Costa Rica
The 28-year-old LAFC forward Marco Ureña is part of the squad that will represent Costa Rica this summer and has been a key player for both club and country. Costa Rica’s head coach Óscar Ramírez announced his final roster the same day before the deadline, making it Ureña’s second World Cup selection.
The forward recently underwent surgery to repair a facial fracture injury he acquired in LAFC’s home opener against Seattle on April 29. As he continues to heal, it is expected Ureña will make the trip to Russia, and likely to play, too.
Although it is an honor to be called up for national duty, this means Ureña could possibly miss five games including the friendly against Borussia Dortmund, and potentially longer depending on how far Costa Rica advances.
This week has been a busy week for the black and gold. Following their historical first home win with a late goal from Laurent Ciman, the club adds Lee Nguyen and Adama Diomande to the roster. Including, returning to late night TV for some soccer practice with James Corden.
It was a night for the books filled with moments like Will Ferrell holding a falcon and the crowd singing the national anthem in perfect harmony. The best moment of all came when Ciman scored the lone goal during stoppage time delivering LAFC their first home victory.
Banc of California Stadium is ready to do it all again this Saturday as the club hosts FC Dallas. Kickoff is at 12:55 pm PT.
LAFC is currently in 2nd place in the Western Conference just behind Sporting Kansas City by two points.
Nguyen, a 6-year MLS Veteran and US international, joins LAFC after a long career with the New England Revolution. Last season, Nguyen put up 11 goals and 15 assists, his third straight campaign with double-digit assists. Overall, he’s logged 51 goals and 49 assists in six MLS seasons. The 31-year-old requested a trade during the offseason and reported to camp in the latter part of the preseason after a rumored standoff with the club.
It seems he finally got the trade he’s always wanted as he enters Bradley’s team – who gave Nguyen his debut on the US national team in 2007 – this week. Nguyen joined the team for his first practice Thursday evening and could debut Saturday.
LAFC then completed their deal with the Norwegian striker before the primary transfer window closed. The 28-year-old moves to Los Angeles after Hull City canceled his contract allowing him to join the MLS expansion side.
Diomandé spent most of his career in his native country and most notably played for Stabaek when Bob Bradley was the coach there. His scoring rate hasn’t been favorable as he only scored 82 goals in 222 club appearances during his career.
However, under the supervision of Bradley, he scored 25 goals in 26 games for Stabaek. So there is hope. Of course, his signing does raise some eyebrows since this addition now puts LAFC over the international slot allotment.
Late Late Soccer Practice
Owner Will Ferrell and LAFC players Tyler Miller, Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour, Jordan Harvey, and Mark-Anthony Kaye appeared on the Late Late Night Show with James Corden for the second time in a row Thursday night. Sadly, the team did not have a rematch – with Corden and LLS FC – but instead opted to play games as the host spun on a wheel donning a soccer ball on his chest. One by one the players took turns at trying to kick the ball through the hole on the wheel.
The Heart of LA comes to life Sunday night as the Los Angeles Football Club hosts their inaugural home opener in the brand new Banc of California stadium.
The 22,000 seat-stadium is nicknamed the “Heart of LA” as it sits in the historical Exposition Park – which encompasses infamous sites like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California African American Museum, California Science Center museum, and the upcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
Decked out in the club’s signature black and gold, this stadium strives to break the mold of a traditional soccer venue. It offers a diverse selection of spaces like the Field Level Club, Founders Club, Sunset Deck, Figueroa Club and the Directors Lounge. All of which can be rented for events. Personally, I would rent the Sunset Deck. It has a swimming pool.
Hidden inside the Director’s Lounge is a room specially designed for the owners and their guests. According to Alex Dwyer from MLSSoccer.com, he states this room is “so exclusive, it’s hidden to the naked eye.” With an ownership group comprised of sports legends, company founders, video game creators, and actors, they had plenty of input in the stadium’s design.
Finally, my personal favorite feature is the breathtaking view of the downtown Los Angeles’ skyline and the San Gabriel Mountains.
The team has had endless support from its fan base since day one. Fans hosted watch parties across Los Angeles in addition to an official watch party held by LAFC, during the club’s six-game road campaign.
Earlier this week, The 3252 had a chance to test out the new safe standing space. Banc of California stadium is the first stadium in the MLS to have safe space rail seating and is also the steepest in MLS with 34 degrees.
Although season tickets are already sold out, tickets for the supporters’ section are $20.
LA traffic is the worst. Luckily, LAFC took this issue into consideration and provides a wide variety of transportation options.
Banc of California is located across the street from USC and is accessible by the Metro Expo Line and the 110 freeway. Including, bicycle parking with a bike valet capability for up to 440 bicycles. LAFC has partnered with Lyft and has a pick-up and drop-off designated location. Like the StubHub Center, they have also implemented the clear bag policy. So plan accordingly.