Well, all good things must come to an end, and so LAFC’s six-game unbeaten streak came to an end on Saturday in Portland in a 2-1 loss. Here are some things that standout from this match against the Portland Timbers.
LAFC’s defense is high variance
LAFC always make things interesting, but that’s not exactly something that you want from your defenders, and your goalkeeper. Laurent Ciman and Walker Zimmerman in particular like to take risks and go after the ball to make interceptions high up the field. This helps LAFC keep up the pressure offensively, and leads to some highlight reel plays from the two. However, this also leads to more attackers being able to get in behind, and thus get good chances on goal.
The same goes with Tyler Miller, who has made some very good saves this season, but is also prone to mistakes, like his big rebound that led to Portland’s first goal.
Based on the skillsets of these players and how LAFC play, don’t expect this to change anytime soon.
Omar Gaber is creating some dangerous chances on the flanks
It’s taken Gaber some time to get into the flow of things after coming off his injury at the beginning of the season, but he seems to be doing well now on the wings. He created quite a few dangerous chances for LAFC, and they were unfortunate to not finish any of those chances. With Latif Blessing playing farther forward to cover for Marco Ureña’s injury, it’s important LAFC keep getting good wing play, and Gaber is providing that when he’s on the field.
Diego Rossi appears to be in a slump
Rossi started off the season on fire, scoring and assisting on most of LAFC’s chances. The past several games, though he has not been quite the same player. He did score a couple weeks ago against Vancouver, but his numbers are down, and more than that he doesn’t seem to have that spark and cutting attacking play that he had in the first few games. Rossi is a young player and MLS is a hard league to adapt to, so it’s no surprise he’s having some periods of struggle. Hopefully he can turn things around soon though, especially with LAFC set to depend on him more when Carlos Vela is out.
Blessing is doing a good job filling in for Ureña
Though he had not scored any goals so far, Ureña was a big part of LAFC’s attack in the early part of the season, and it was a big loss when he went down with a facial injury. For the most part, Blessing has moved from the wing closer to the Ureña role, and he has done very well. Like Ureña, Blessing hasn’t scored in a while, but he’s making good runs, he has a lot of pace and skill, and he does not turn the ball over very often. Blessing is getting his first extended run of playing time after not having that last year with Sporting Kansas City, and he’s taking advantage of it, becoming an LAFC cult hero in the process.
LAFC have to figure out how to create and score goals without Carlos Vela
There’s a reason Vela was LAFC’s first significant signing and their first Designated Player. He’s a superstar and he’s supremely talented. It’s no shame to rely on your best player to put up big numbers.
However, Vela will be leaving for the World Cup soon, and if Mexico make a deep run he could be gone for a while. Vela has seven goals and five assists so far, which is a good chunk of LAFC’s offensive production. LAFC have talented attackers who won’t be at the World Cup, in Lee Nguyen, Blessing and Rossi, not to mention the players that will be coming in during the summer. Hopefully Bob Bradley finds a way to get some attacking production while Vela and Co. are the the World Cup.
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