El Trafico is coming back to the Banc for the Western Conference Semifinals.
Minnesota United fell to the LA Galaxy last night in a 2-1 loss at Allianz Stadium – advancing the Galaxy to the semifinals.
LAFC will host the much anticipated matchup on Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 PST.
Major League Soccer reinstated Adama Diomande this past week. And he is eligible for selection for Thursday’s intense matchup.
Dio voluntarily entered MLS’ Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) program on September 20 and was assessed by SABH program doctors.
He has been cleared to resume all team activities, including competition. Dio was even seen training with the team last weekend during a special event for the fans.
Roster Injury Updates
Six minutes into Canada’s Concacaf Nations League match last Tuesday, Mark-Anthony Kaye exited with an apparent leg injury. Although it has not been determined what type of injury the midfielder has acquired – Kaye is on a day-to-day basis as he continues to receive treatment.
Walker Zimmerman suffered a concussion after colliding with Colorado Rapids forward Kei Kamara in LAFC’s 3-1 win over the Rapids on Decision Day. The injury kept the defender out of international duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team. According to Vince La Rosa, Zimmerman returned to full training last Wednesday and needs to get in as “many training sessions as possible to regain his fitness level” ahead of the playoffs.
The hype surrounding the playoffs is real!
LAFC players have been making numerous appearances around town all week in celebration of the upcoming playoffs.
Fans also attended a playoffs rally last night at the Banc to show their support for the Black & Gold.
Fans had the opportunity to enjoy live music, games, drink and food specials, and take photos with the Supporters’ Shield. They were also able to write a message for the players on the special “#ForLosAngeles” wall.
LAFC goes virtual
The club announced its official entry into eMLS, Major League Soccer’s competitive gaming league competing in the EA SPORTS™ FIFA franchise on October 17.
LAFC will host an “online selection qualifying tournament” in search of the club’s first-ever esports player to represent the club in eMLS competitions.
There will be three qualifying round competitions that will take place on October 26, November 1, and November 3 – top performers in the first three rounds will square off in the final on Wednesday, November 6.
Carlos Vela continues to stun teams on a historic week with his signature left-foot curler following this past Sunday’s draw in Minnesota.
Last weekend, Vela gave the Black & Gold another opening goal for the second straight match. The goal was Vela’s 31st of the season, tying him with Josef Martinez for most in a season in MLS history.
Although the captain came dangerously close to breaking the record on the same night – he left the big moment for Decision Day.
The star striker has only missed three games this entire season. And his dedication to the team is upstanding. For example, he was seen on the sideline coaching his teammates after being taken out due to an injury. In the postmatch interview after their clash with Minnesota United – Vela continued to credit his team in aiding his success:
For the fifth time in 2019, Vela appeared on Team of the Week, and is currently leading the league in three categories: (31) goals, (154) shots, and, (67) shots on goal and ranks second in the Audi Player Index Ratings. In addition to being voted the MLS Player of the Month for March of the 2019 MLS season.
Aside from breaking league and personal records, the former Real Sociedad player is having a great year. He was named to the 2019 MLS All-Star roster and given the captain’s armband for the second year in a row this summer.
LAFC has been on yet another historic run this season – winning the 2019 Supporters’ Shield to secure the Western Conference; giving the Black & Gold home-field advantage throughout playoffs and are a win away from setting the new record for most points in a single season.
The 30-year-old has been part of the “DP Trio” with Diego Valeri and Brian Rodriguez. Sunday marked their third-straight match together. And the results looked promising – even though Rodriguez seemed to have trouble falling into place with the dynamic duo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The Los Angeles Football Club is becoming every club’s nightmare.
Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande’s goals helped the club to become the first MLS team to secure a spot in the 2019 playoffs this past weekend as they won on the road, 2-0, over Real Salt Lake.
Now leading the league with 52 points and a 42 goal differential, the Black-and-Gold return home to host the San Jose Earthquakes as part of MLS Heineken Rivalry Week.
LAFC has dominated the series against the Quakes; causing an earthquake in San Jose during their first meeting this year in March by winning 5-0.
Walker Zimmerman will miss the action after being ejected from the last match against Real Salt Lake. Tristian Blackmon will likely fill the role again. Additionally, Mark-Anthony Kaye will face suspension due to yellow card accumulation if carded in tomorrow’s match.
Bob Bradley has done very little to change the starting lineup this season, given the club has made some major roster moves in the recent weeks – with recently loaning three players to two USL teams, respectively: Dejan Jakovic and Rodolfo Zelaya to Las Vegas Lights FC, and Peter-Lee Vassell to Phoenix Rising FC.
Vela continues his historic season by setting a new single-season record of 39 combined goals and assists. The captain has made MLS history with 24 goals and 15 assists, with nine games remaining.
The Quakes will visit the Banc after suffering back-to-back losses, and will have a full roster to choose from as no players are on the injury report. LAFC remains the only team in the league to go undefeated at home and will look to retain that record tomorrow.
The Black-and-Gold will conclude their mini Californian tournament as they host the LA Galaxy on Sunday, August 25 – for the fifth installment of El Tráfico.
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.
It has been a very busy few weeks for the Los Angeles Football Club as the MLS secondary transfer window officially closed last night. The club wasted no time in making some serious roster moves with unanswered rumors still floating around.
LAFC released both Shaft Brewer, Jr. and Christian Ramirez; securing Eddie Segura from loan and offering him and Latif Blessing a contract extension. LAFC also added forward Brian Rodriguez and defender Diego Palacios to the already powerful roster – where he will join Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and Adama Diomande.
Here’s the full breakdown:
Shaft Brewer Jr.
The first roster move came as Shaft Brewer Jr. and the club mutually agreed to part ways on July 28.
Brewer Jr., 19, was initially acquired by LAFC in March of 2018, in a trade with FC Dallas. He would go on to make four appearances, with one start for the black-and-gold, the loss against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Shaft spent most of his time on loan with USL side, Phoenix Rising FC. During preseason, it looked like he would take on more of a role with the senior team but never broke through.
LAFC secured defender Eddie Segura from Colombian side Atletico Huila on a permanent basis following a six-month loan. He is on a multi-year deal.
Segura has proven to be a great defensive fixture for the club; as he remains only one of three players on the roster to appear in every game across all competitions in 2019. Partnered with Walker Zimmerman, Segura is also the only new starter to the roster this season.
This is very exciting news as the 22-year-old continues to develop and looks to be a foundational piece for the club moving forward.
Latif Blessing is staying in LA. Earlier this week, the 22-year-old attacker signed a new multi-year contract extension until 2022.
Similar to Segura, Blessing is also one of three LAFC players that has seen action in every contest across all competitions this season and has been vital to the midfield. In his second campaign with the black-and-gold, Blessing has logged in 23 appearances, with 19 starts, tallying three goals and five assists in 1,792 minutes.
“I know I speak for fans and staff alike that Latif has won everyone over with his infectious energy play, and he is well-deserving of his new contract,” said EVP & general manager John Thorrington in a team statement. “His game continues to grow, and we know he will play an integral part in the club’s success on and off the field moving forward.”
It’s no secret there was some doubt surrounding Blessing after he posted a few cryptic messages. Hopefully, this new deal will satisfy him and the fans.
In true deja vu form, the club agreed to trade forward Christian Ramirez to the Houston Dynamo. Ramirez joined LAFC on a deadline-day trade last year during the 2018 summer transfer window from Minnesota United FC.
According to the official statement from LAFC:
“The club acquired $250,000 in Allocation Money ($175,000 in General Allocation Money and $75,000 in Targeted Allocation Money) from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for the forward. Additionally, the club could receive $75,000 in GAM if Ramirez meets certain performance metrics with the Dynamo. LAFC also retains considerations for a percentage of future sell-on fees for Ramirez.”
The 28-year-old logged in 16 starts making a total of 24 appearances during his tenure with the club – recording six goals and two assists.
It’s a shame to see a promising player like Ramirez be released. He is a very hard-working player and was a great answer when Diomande was out with an injury, however, he missed huge scoring opportunities earlier this season.
After much speculation and several hints given – thank you Embassy of Uruguay – Brian Rodriguez is officially black-and-gold.
In a record-breaking sale of $11.5 million, Rodriguez is the third most expensive signing in MLS history.
The club agreed to terms with forward Brian Rodriguez as a Young Designated Player. Rodriquez arrives from Club Atlético Peñarol of Uruguay’s Primera División and will be added to LAFC’s roster “pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P1 Visa.”
LAFC’s digital manager, Vince La Rosa described Rodriguez as a “willing presser,” “playmaker” and someone who is very energetic on the ball containing the ability to play off with either foot – making it very difficult for defenders to catch him.
In addition to acquiring Rodriguez, LAFC confirmed they have entered a significant partnership with Peñarol. Including, an exhibition match between the teams in 2020, and an exchange of coaching, academy and player resources.
Diego “El Chiqui” Palacios is black-and-gold!
The club announced on Monday they acquired the 20-year-old defender using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) beating out Spanish giant FC Barcelona before the transfer window closed.
Diego joins LAFC from SD Aucas of Primera Categoría Serie A in Ecuador after spending the 2018 season on loan to Willem II of the Eredivisie, the top league in Holland.
“Diego is an impressive young player who has drawn interest from some of the top clubs in the world,” LAFC EVP & General Manager John Thorrington said. “We are excited that Diego has chosen to come to Los Angeles to develop and grow in the next stage of his career.”
If Palacios is match ready in time, we could see him as a potential substitution for Jordan Harvey with Mohamed El-Munir still out on injury.
“Diego is a young, talented left back and we’re really excited because we think he’s another player that fits well with everything we try to do,” said LAFC head coach Bob Bradley.
Diego Rossi (Rumor)
So far, so good. Rossi is staying in Los Angeles. Reports have surfaced that Italian side Fiorentina is pushing hard for the 21-year-old attacker offering around $16.8 million.
Rossi is a very significant player for the black-and-gold. He is currently fourth in the league with 13 goals and second for 35 shots on goal. In addition to five assists and 1971 minutes, thus far.
The Los Angeles Football Club returns to its old winning ways in a close 4-3 victory; defeating the reigning MLS Cup Champions Atlanta United for the first time in franchise history at the Banc of California stadium.
The win is great. But it was a close call.
A slight change in the starting XI saw Pablo Sisniega in goal. And with Tristian Blackmon on the injury list, Steven Beitashour returned to the full back position on the right. Head Coach Bob Bradley was vague in the reasoning of why Tyler Miller was on the bench – we can only assume he’s testing both keepers at this point.
The match kicked off with LAFC watching hopelessly as Atlanta scored the opening goal within minutes of the whistle. Mo Adams struck in the rebound – marking his first goal in his first MLS appearance for the visitors.
The black-and-gold answered in a big way by scoring three goals in a 12-minute action-packed period.
Mark-Antony Kaye sent the through ball to Adama Diomande who tapped it home past Brad Guzan for the equalizer in the 33rd minute. And then things got fun.
In the 38th minute, Diego Rossi passed the ball through traffic from the middle to Carlos Vela, who then sent it back to him at the top of the box – Rossi sent it home with one touch to double the lead.
Four minutes later, Carlos Vela drew the penalty. The captain stepped up to convert – scoring his 22nd MLS-career goal.
The captain found Diomande in the penalty area. He sent it to a waiting Atuesta near the goal – who in true Eduard Atuesta style, smoothly turned and shot it home for the club’s fourth goal of the night.
Then here comes Atlanta’s Josef Martinez to kill the party doubling the visitor’s total just before the half. How rude.
Shortly after the restart, Atlanta was quick to put the pressure on a possession-dominating home side – forcing an unfortunate own goal by Eddie Segura that gave Atlanta the push they needed in the 51st minute increasing the score 4-3.
Ten minutes later, it seemed Atlanta would level the match when Martinez attempted to recreate the “Atuesta” and spin around Beitashour. But as the script says, the ball went wide of the net.
Lee Nguyen entered the pitch as a substitute for Beitashour in the 63rd minute and got straight to work with moves like these:
In the 84th minute, the MLS All-Star Walker Zimmerman was close to adding one of his own goals to the total with the header but Guzan was there to save it.
Defenders are expected to sacrifice their bodies for the club and Jordan Harvey did just that in the 89th minute. The 30-year-old made a diving block to deny Julian Gressel who had a clear shot on target.
Atlanta had five chances to equalize and escape with a point during the latter part of the half. But thankfully an energetic team and Sisniega saved the day – leading the black-and-gold to another victory and staying undefeated at home with a 9-0-1 record.
Still sitting atop of the table of the Western Conference, the black-and-gold cushioned their lead even more with 49 points. But it is clear the team still needs to work on defending as the road gets harder.
Next up. LAFC will travel to the east coast to visit the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium next Saturday, August 3.