Yes, it was the home opener for Los Angeles Football Club and, yes, it lived up to the hype.
A late winner by Laurent Ciman capped all the fanfare and excitement surrounding Sunday’s official open of Banc of California Stadium with a stunning set piece delivery that inspired a celebration worthy of replay.
Lots of things to discuss, so without further ado, here are five takeaways from the 1-0 win:
Will Ferrell didn’t do too bad with that starting lineup
Of course, the part-owner of LAFC draws a crowd with his slapstick humor and Fox had no issue playing that up with Ferrell reading the starting lineup for LAFC during its broadcast Sunday.
Maybe a little much, but it wasn’t all bad.
The falcon, on the other hand, just a tad much?
Set piece Ciman
Wow! That is about the only word to describe Ciman’s set piece winner in the 93rd minute.
The strike went around a wall and bounced just right at Stefan Frei, off his hand and into the back of the net.
It was an absolutely brilliant shot that should be Goal of the Week.
A good idea here: Let Ciman take all the set pieces within 30 yards of the goal.
What a crowd!
It was a stadium opening that any club anywhere in the world would be proud of.
The LAFC faithful packed Banc of California Stadium in front of a national television audience and neither were disappointed.
The 22,000 fans were a story all to themselves. The national anthem makes the hairs on your arms stand up … and if they don’t, you really need to evaluate your fandom.
To those in the North End … we salute you as well.
And for the rest of the league … watch out because LAFC may have a true home-field advantage.
The home win, coupled with a strong road performance has LAFC sitting comfortably in second in the MLS Western Conference – two points back of Sporting Kansas City.
The bigger thing here – LAFC has two games in hand over both SKC and third-place Vancouver Whitecaps.
Perhaps even bigger is the performance of LAFC on its six-game road swing. There weren’t a lot of expectations for a new club spending more than a month on the road, but the 4-2 record paid off and a strong home showing makes LAFC a definite contender.
The only negative here is …
The fact that LAFC failed to capitalize on solid scoring opportunities in the second half.
For the game, the Black-and-Gold out-possessed Seattle 51-49 and goalkeeper Tyler Miller had three great saves for his third clean sheet of the season.
Eduard Atuesta had a nice look at goal in extra time, but the attempt was blocked away. Marco Urena put a header wide left in the 83rd minute. Walker Zimmerman missed a header high six yards out in the 78th minute while Mark-Anthony Kaye and Benny Feilhaber also missed chances early in the second half.
However, with a vaunted attack that includes two of the top five goal scorers in MLS – Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela – LAFC is going to have to capitalize on those chances more often than not moving forward.
What do you think? Post your comment below!