LAFC had more than just a professional performance against Minnesota United on Wednesday evening — they were dominant in the midfield and up front, and completely deserved their 2-0 win. So what are some takeaways from the match?
LAFC can more than survive without Marco Ureña
The black-and-gold now have their first win without the Costa Rican striker in the lineup after drawing against FC Dallas on Saturday. The loss of Ureña was a concern for LAFC when it was announced that he would need surgery on his broken face, due to the movement he brings up front and the assists he had provided. In this match, they showed that they can still dominate the match without him, which means he can fully recover instead of being rushed back. LAFC have shown they have the firepower up front to rotate some pieces around if one of them goes down. Now, Carlos Vela is a different story, but for now, LAFC have managed just fine without one of their go-to players in the beginning of the season.
Latif Blessing is very much an impact player for LAFC
Latif Blessing played out of his mind on Wednesday. He was all over the field and up and down the right wing, and it happened more than once where he left the poor soul assigned to cover him in the dust. He also, at 5-foot-5 inches tall, managed to win a header in the box to flick the ball to Mark-Anthony Kaye, who hammered it home. Again, Blessing WON A HEADER in the box, which became an assist. His hustle is off the charts, he is a fast, dynamic player, and he has shown he deserves to start on the wing for Bob Bradley due to just how much of a troublemaker he is for the opposing defense.
Mark-Anthony Kaye and Eduard Atuesta played like men against boys
Speaking of players who played out of their minds, let’s give some recognition to the two-man wrecking crew in the midfield that was Mark-Anthony Kaye and Eduard Atuesta. These two played like men possessed against Minnesota. I saw both go as far back as right in front of Laurent Ciman, and as far up as right next to Carlos Vela. Kaye acted as a brick wall in the defensive phase, as usual, and was all over the pitch, while Atuesta made his mark moving the ball around and moving forward. Both also scored their first MLS goals AND first LAFC goals: Kaye with a volley off a header from Blessing, and Atuesta from the center of the box. For a team that has been questioned for its depth, Atuesta has stepped into the midfield and right away made an impact.
The defense seems to have found real stability
It was only a matter of time until a defensive line consisting of four MLS veterans gelled together and found stability. For LAFC, the second half against the Galaxy and the entire game against Atlanta United, as well as the Montreal game, were all wake-up calls. Dejan Jakovic was holding down the spot so that Walker Zimmerman could get healthy. Once he did, and Bob Bradley went back to four at the back, this team has had a lot more reliability and stability with Ciman and Zimmerman in the middle, flanked by Jordan Harvey and Steven Beitashour. This team has now given up one goal in their past three matches, and will need that defense when they face NYCFC over the weekend.
LAFC handled their first schedule crunch well
LAFC faced their first schedule crunch with Minnesota United: They hosted Dallas on Saturday, Minnesota on Wednesday, and have NYCFC coming up on Sunday. So far, they have handled it pretty well, although they have the notable advantage of not having to travel across the country. Bob Bradley also did not rotate the squad from Saturday’s lineup, putting out the same starting XI, but the team did not have a drop off in performance after the quick turnaround. As a matter of fact, they had a better game than against Dallas. We will have to see how the second quick turnaround goes for Bradley’s men against NYCFC.
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