Despite some defensive mishaps over the course of 90 minutes, a second-half goal by No. 1 SuperDraft pick Joao Moutinho was enough to lift Los Angeles Football Club to its first win in club history, 1-0 at Sacramento Republic FC on Sunday afternoon.
The final preseason game gave head coach Bob Bradley plenty to work on before the season opener March 4 at Seattle Sounders FC.
One bit of concern was an apparent injury to striker and Mexican international Carlos Vela. He appeared to tweak something when battling with a Republic midfielder in the 78th minute.
Carlos Vela has to be subbed out in the 79th minute with a potential injury. He pulled up and was reaching for his hamstring. That would be disastrous for #LAFC if he misses next week's opening match. #SACvLAFC #MLS #ElTri pic.twitter.com/g2Fx9AJAxP— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) February 25, 2018
In the meantime, Moutinho and the Black-and-Gold can celebrate his inaugural goal which came in the 60th minute of the game.
Prior to that, Sacramento Republic FC goalkeeper Josh Cohen was tested almost as soon as the teams came out of the halftime locker room.
In the 52nd minute, a combination of shots from Vela, Marcos Urena and Mark-Anthony Kaye were stonewalled by Cohen and the Republic defense.
Diego Rossi nearly doubled the lead in the 85th minute after breaking free with the ball, but his shot went wide of the net.
Clever backheel by Rossi to play a 1-2 with Pacheco at the top of the box, but then he couldn't put his shot on target. Rossi has been bright and dangerous today, but his finishing hasn't been good enough. #LAFC #SACvLAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/czQddvCxWy— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) February 25, 2018
LAFC maintained the offensive pressure late in the game, giving Sacramento nearly no chance at making a run.
In the first half, the Republic defense managed to keep the LAFC attack in check by marking and double-teaming Vela, Latif Blessing and Rossi to keep them from creating anything positive.
“We always try and do our homework before games,” said Sacramento head coach Simon Elliot in his post-game interview. “We watch video and see if we can find tendencies. You aren’t going to pick everything up that way but I think we picked up a few bits and pieces.”
In the 30th minute, it was Ureña who had a nice attempt at goal after nice ball-handling from Blessing. Ureña’s shot, however, went wide of the net.
#LAFC should've gone up 1-0, but Ureña put his shot wide after great work by Blessing to set him up. Blessing has been the best player on the pitch, constant threat running at the #RepublicFC defense. #SACvLAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/akKTFWhGJv— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) February 25, 2018
LAFC struggled in the first half with maintaining defensive possession. The team seemingly gave the ball away at least four times in the first half with potentially dangerous consequences. Fortunately, Republic players were unable to capitalize.
#LAFC struggle to build out of the back at times. Tyler Miller and their centerbacks aren't that comfortable on the ball, and especially because they don't have a true defensive midfielder to run things through. #SACvLAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/gOt71Kyxij— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) February 25, 2018
For now, however, Bradley and LAFC have six days to work out the kinks before the season opener at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
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