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Cruise Control: LAFC 2, Columbus Crew 0

LAFC got the jump early, and never looked back against the Crew.

MLS: Columbus Crew at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club returned to Major League Soccer action in style, with a 2-0 win over Columbus Crew SC at Banc of California Stadium.

LAFC got off to a hot start against Columbus, with Laurent Ciman drilling a free kick into the net of Jon Kempin, starting for the Crew in the place of the injured Zack Steffen. Benny Feilhaber won the free kick outside the box, and Ciman took it calmly to put LAFC ahead before most fans had even settled into their seats for his third goal of the season.

Things only got better for LAFC within the first ten minutes of the game. The home side built up play with Benny Feilhaber using open space in the middle of the park and feeding the ball to Latif Blessing going forward. Feilhaber was able to get the ball at the top of the penalty box and gave it back to Lee Nguyen, who found Adama Diomande *just* onside behind the defense. Diomande slotted the ball home for his fourth goal in four matches, taking advantage of the onside call and doubling LAFC’s lead in just the eighth minute.

The rest of the second half was relatively tame for LAFC, as they did not get nearly as good a shot on goal, especially for the final 15 minutes of the half. Manager Bob Bradley, in his halftime interview, said that he was happy with the performance, but less satisfied with the final minutes in allowing so much possession to Columbus. However, one thing that was constant was the involvement of Latif Blessing tearing down the right side of the pitch and giving Crew defenders headaches.

The start of the second half was a new beginning for LAFC, as they clearly took to heart whatever Bradley said at halftime. They came out much more active than they were at the end of the first half and created far more space, but did not get a good chance until the 54th minute. Then started a flurry of shots from Diego Rossi, Feilhaber, and Nguyen, but to no avail. LAFC also had a quality look at goal when Diomande got the ball in the center of the box in the 66th minute, but shot it wide.

LAFC had their first real scare of the game in the 69th minute, when Columbus’ Artur sent in a cross to Federico Higuain, who connected and put the ball past Tyler Miller, only to be ruled offside.

The chance was there for LAFC to put the final nail in the coffin in the 86th minute, when Diomande got the ball in the middle of the box again, one on one with Kempin, but his first touch fell between his legs, and Kempin saved the shot by rushing off his line. Kempin then saved the quick rebound attempt from Blessing to prevent the final blow.

The match almost went out with a bang, when Rossi brought the ball into the box and shot past Kempin, but Latif Blessing went to head the ball home and cap off the victory, and was called offside.

There were a few standouts in the match for their performances: Ciman, in his return to the side, had the opening goal and was his usual self in the defense. Diomande could have had a hat trick if it was not for a couple touches that did not go his way. Feilhaber seemed to constantly be in open space, and Blessing was as dynamic as ever on the flank. Also worth shouting out is Eduard Atuesta, who was involved in the attack and defense as well as moving the ball, and had one of his best games yet.

This win keeps LAFC in third place in the West with 27 points, behind Sporting Kansas City (32) and FC Dallas (29). These three points also give LAFC a little room ahead of Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps, who both have 23 points.

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