Well, now we can get that pesky first losing streak out of the way, as goals from Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi propelled Los Angeles Football Club to a 2-0 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.
And, considering what we all watched last weekend in Atlanta, I think it is safe to say we are all glad that is over.
With that, here are five takeaways from our first win north of the border:
A little change never hurt anyone
Following last weekend’s 5-0 loss at Atlanta, you could just feel change in the air during post-game news conferences.
And, LAFC coach Bob Bradley didn’t disappoint by shifting Steven Beitashour wide, bringing Jordan Harvey in for a start against his old team and getting Mark-Anthony Kaye motivated (we will touch on that in a bit).
The shake-up, while perhaps not permanent, did provide better attacking options for the Black-and-Gold. Beitashour impressed on the corner and the 3-4-2-1 was a creative move by the coach.
Interesting move by Bob Bradley to deploy a 3-4-2-1 tonight against #VWFC, with Jakovic coming in as the 3rd CB and Blessing to the bench. Entirely logical to try to shore up #LAFC's struggling defense, while Vela and Rossi will still be dangerous underneath Ureña. #VANvLAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/dVC4DJ3NnJ— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) April 14, 2018
A keeper perhaps?
Now, about Mark-Anthony Kaye …
Now, Kaye has done some good things over the first four games of the season, but some (myself included) have been waiting for him to give-way to a healthy Omar Gaber in the midfield.
However, against Vancouver, Kaye played like a man on a mission. Perhaps that mission was to keep his job, as Gaber seems to be on the mend.
Ureña did well to regain his feet and beat Davies with a nice move, then Kaye created space for a shot with a quick move, but Marinovic pushed it over. #LAFC on the front foot. #VWFC #VANvLAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/PRTzZ3Fo5G— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) April 14, 2018
Kaye was creative in offense and hustled on defense. He was strong all game long. We could have an interesting midfield situation in the coming weeks as Gaber continues to improve his fitness after coming off the bench late to make his MLS debut.
Back to that new formation
Putting Vela and Rossi behind Marcos Ureña was a great move. And it paid off.
Ureña was involved in both goals scored and both Vela and Rossi were active the entire game …
Que #Golazo de Carlos Vela!!! #LAFC lead 1-0 away to #VWFC! Great work by Ureña, and then Vela curled a beautiful strike into the top corner! Sensational by the #ElTri star. #VANvLAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/VEMk77WiVw— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) April 14, 2018
Diego Rossi doubles the lead for #LAFC! Awful errors by #VWFC, with Marinovic and his defenders getting in the way of each other, and Rossi finished through Marinovic's legs. 2-0. #VANvLAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/OwkylUlfU5— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) April 14, 2018
Classic Felipe there. Vela gave him a slight push, and he went down as if he'd been shot in the chest, trying to get Vela sent off. The referee has really managed this game poorly overall. #VWFC #LAFC #VANvLAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/gqsF3XxY6r— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) April 14, 2018
Okay, that last one was not the active I was talking about.
In all seriousness, the new formation really seemed to open up LAFC on offense while not exploiting the defense in any way. While Vancouver did have some chances at goal, they were very limited.
Speaking of the defense
Alright, so Tyler Miller gave up nine goals in the last two games … big deal right.
Well, he atoned for it against the Whitecaps pushing away the few shots he actually faced – three shots, only one on target.
#VANvLAFC 0-2 | 48.8%-51.2% possession, 437-452 passes, 81%-81% pass accuracy, 19-17 crosses, 3-6 corners, 8-16 shots, 3-3 shots on target, 1-3 saves, 53-75 duels won, 22-19 clearances, 10-10 fouls, 2-2 yellow cards.#VWFC #LAFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/3cbdkXKO47— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) April 14, 2018
But, I think the entire defense deserves a pat on the back. Yes, Vancouver was without Kai Kamara, but that didn’t stop the Whitecaps from pressing, especially in the start of the second half.
However, Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman and Dejan Jakovic provided a nice defensive face in the new formation.
How about a little momentum?
Nothing speaks to momentum than a win. What’s more is a win on the road.
Yes, they had a couple of tough losses but anyone who thought LAFC would go through this road schedule to start an inaugural season untouched needs to share whatever they are taking because, while it might have been a hope, it certainly was not the expectation.
To be in the upper echelon of the Western Conference in the first five games of the season without stepping foot on your own home grass is not a common feat. Toss in the fact LAFC are in their first year of play and these wins on the road mean more and more.
What do you think? Post your comment below!