After the first 33 minutes, it looked as if it would be a very long night for Los Angeles Football Club. But, Carlos Vela would have something to say about that.
A monsoon, and four goals later, and LAFC came away with a 4-2 win over Houston Dynamo at Banc of California Stadium Friday night.
Here are five takeaways from the rain-soaked win.
No. 2 seed
Despite already becoming the fifth expansion team in Major League Soccer history to clinch a playoff spot in its inaugural season, LAFC wasn’t really done there.
With the win over Houston Friday, LAFC moved into second place for the moment, and continue to put pressure on FC Dallas in first place and Sporting Kansas City, who they surpassed for the moment. It will go down to the final day of the season, almost certainly, but LAFC did their part to stake a claim on a Knockout Round bye.
But, they aren’t finished yet. Getting to 60 points is still possible as LAFC sit on 56 with two matches remaining. They have already tied Bob Bradley’s Chicago Fire team of 1998 with the most points by an expansion club — oh what happened to that Fire team in 1998?
Vela, Vela and more Vela
The Mexican international certainly made a case for a postseason award with his performance Saturday. After being tripped in the area by Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric, Vela tied the match with a penalty kick.
⚽️ ️ @11carlosV with the equalizer!!!!#LAFCvHOU pic.twitter.com/7vEr7X3Tpw— LAFC (@LAFC) October 13, 2018
He also assisted Adama Diomande and Walker Zimmerman with goals in the 53rd and 58th minutes, respectively, then added one himself for a brace in the 78th.
⚽️ ️ Another goal from @11carlosV! His team-leading 13th on the season!!#LAFCvHOU pic.twitter.com/M8oFM6YaBi— LAFC (@LAFC) October 13, 2018
Needless to say, LAFC are going to continue to need that kind of play from Vela as they get into the playoffs.
Nor rain, nor sleet, nor hail
Trust me, as a former athlete and sports journalist, weather delays truly suck. They can take the wind right out of your sails if you are riding a high, or just make you lose momentum, no matter where you are in the match.
35' | ⚡ Weather Delay ⚡— LAFC (@LAFC) October 13, 2018
Play has been temporarily suspended. #LAFCvHOU 0-1
After a 104-minute delay Friday due to the rain and Houston with a 1-0 lead, we really weren’t sure what to expect. But, just minutes after the teams were let back on the field, Deric had little choice but to bring Vela down in the area and force the penalty kick — which Vela had little trouble delivering on.
While Vela stole the show Friday night, Walker Zimmerman was a beast himself.
His goal in the 58th minute was a thing of beauty after the corner kick delivery from Vela.
⚽️ ️ @thewalkerzim does it again, his fourth goal of the season!!#LAFCvHOU pic.twitter.com/FVV5W8JCTO— LAFC (@LAFC) October 13, 2018
Like I said before, I don’t know what the plans for Zimmerman are after the end of the season, but he is certainly making a case for a larger contract.
Vela to Dio
Some may have questioned whether the combination of Vela and Diomande would be effective.
⚽️ ️ @11carlosV ➡️ Dio— LAFC (@LAFC) October 13, 2018
Make that three goals for Dio in our last two games!!#LAFCvHOU pic.twitter.com/ntbvYtx3xK
Well, after some time, methinks the question has been answered.
Vela’s delivery to Diomande in the 53rd minute was great, but Dio’s right-footer was just sick. As time progresses, this combination seems to get better and better.
What do you think? Post your comment below!