20 minutes into Los Angeles Football Club’s second-ever game on Saturday, a new, negative kind of history was made.
The expansion team, playing Real Salt Lake on the road, conceded their first goal ever, after Tyler Miller came up big to block a penalty kick by Joao Plata, only for the Ecuadorian to tap in the rebound.
In that situation, what will a brand new team do? Fold like a house of cards? Get right back into the game? You never quite know with these kind of firsts.
But LAFC head coach Bob Bradley was pleased with his team’s fight back, en route to a 5-1 blowout win.
“The first 10 minutes were good,” Bradley told reporters after the match. “The next 10 minutes we got pushed deep and gave up the penalty, but I think we responded really well, started to make some really good passes and finished the game in a really good way.”
LAFC tied up the game 10 minutes after Plata’s goal, courtesy of Diego Rossi, who had a whopping two goals and three assists in the game, before the floodgates opened, starting with Latif Blessing’s controversial goal that clearly appeared to be offside but was allowed anyway.
Bradley was happy to see his side stay in the game after their first deficit.
“I think a lot of guys played well. That when we went down, was no frustration. It was just the confidence to get back to playing our game and try to let our football get us going again.”
Defender Steven Beitashour agreed, praising the team’s ability to not get distracted by the game state.
“The mindset that we have to continue to play football, we’re a good team and we can’t get nervous or panic because there’s still a lot of time after that first goal for RSL. When we got the first goal we knew we were back in it and we wanted to keep our foot on the gas.”
Beitashour indicated the team learned from their first game, in which they took an early lead against the Seattle Sounders, but rode their luck in a major way to a narrow 1-0 win.
“If you go back to that game against Seattle we scored the first goal and we stopped playing football,” he said. “We took our foot off the gas a little too much. That’s something Bob expressed during the week that if we get an opportunity like last week we have to continue to push and be aggressive in a smart manner.”
With two wins in two weeks to start their history, LAFC are the talk of MLS right now. It sounds like they are up for the attention.
“We work in a good way and we think that we have good players and every week we try to make our football better, so look it’s two weeks in and we’re not going to go crazy, but we’re happy today that we could follow up the win in Seattle with a different kind of win today,” said Bradley. “So that part we’re pleased with. Now there’s weeks off with a [bye] and international break and we keep trying to push ourselves.”
“We were talking about starting the game well outside of our home because we know this league is competitive if you don’t fight hard and not get good results [away] you’ll stay at the bottom but I think this moment, I think the team is very happy,” said forward Carlos Vela, who had a goal and an assist in the game.
“But we know there’s much to get better at. We’re a new team and have to stay on this path,” he added.
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