Constant pressure coupled with midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye opening his MLS account helped lead Los Angeles Football Club to a 2-0 win over Minnesota United at Banc of California Stadium Wednesday night.
The win started a three-game 10-day stretch for LAFC that sees them back home Sunday, then back on the road the following Saturday.
It also helped the Black and Gold keep pace with Western Conference leader Sporting Kansas City – who issued Atlanta United their first shutout at home earlier in the evening.
It was the constant offensive pressure that created several opportunities for LAFC and helped to keep the Loons off-balance for 90 minutes. LAFC dominated possession, controlling the ball 58 percent of the game
Minnesota was unable to mount any semblance of a consistent attack as the LAFC defense closed gaps and seemingly surrounded any Loons’ players to cut off any movement.
In the first half, LAFC dominated the Loons on offense thanks to strong midfield work and ball movement from Vela, Blessing, Rossi and Eduard Atuesta.
Early in the half, Vela nearly scored, but his shot clanked off the post. On the counterattack, Alexi Gomez took a shot 8 yards out, but his shot, like Vela’s, hit off the post.
In the 19th minute, Vela nearly found the mark, but his delivery was just wide of the target.
19' | WIDE@11carlosV curls his left-footed shot just wide.#LAFCvMIN 0-0 https://t.co/8ze5I1jRQ8— LAFC (@LAFC) May 10, 2018
It was Atuesta who found the back of the net first in the 31st minute when Rossi found the Columbian with a well-placed cross that Atuesta took two touches and blasted the ball past Bobby Shuttlesworth to give the Black and Gold a 1-0 lead.
The first of the night in LA.@EduardAtuesta puts @LAFC ahead! #LAFCvMIN https://t.co/j7p5tpuPfC— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 10, 2018
Atuesta connected just minutes after falling, hitting his head on the ball and getting inadvertently cleated by Darwin Quintero.
LAFC continued to mount pressure on the Loons’ defense thanks to quick ball movement from the middle to the front
In the 37th minute, LAFC struck again on what could be described as a very odd play.
Vela, looking to place the ball in the area, put it straight up in the air. Five-foot-three Blessing caught 5-11 Costa Rican international Francisco Calvo sleeping and headed the ball straight to Kaye. From there, Kaye put the ball in the net on the first touch for his first goal in MLS.
⚽️ @MarkThEwizz buries his first #LAFC goal!!!#LAFCvMIN 2-0— LAFC (@LAFC) May 10, 2018
LAFC got some help on the defensive side as well.
Minnesota found an opening with Miguel Ibarra on the left side. LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller came off his line to challenge near the end of the area late in the first half.
Gomez put a well-placed a shot over Miller, but Walker Zimmerman rushed in to nick the ball out of bounds.
43' | SAVE@thewalkerzim to the rescue!#LAFCvMIN 2-0 https://t.co/TmjIQ7GCXz— LAFC (@LAFC) May 10, 2018
The Black and Gold maintained control in the second half, allowing just seven shots – three on target for the Loons. On the other hand, LAFC managed 29 shots with seven of them on target.
LAFC returns to Banc of California Stadium to take on NYCFC at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
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