Well, that was fun. Los Angeles Football Club soundly defeated the Philadelphia Union 4-1, off of a Adama Diomande hat trick, and a goal at the end by Latif Blessing, who also had two assists in this game.
The two teams went back and forth in the opening minutes, and it was eventually Diomande who got the scoring started in the 25th minute.
He got a ball on the right hand side, and he turned the Union defender Mark McKenzie in and out before firing a low, hard shot into the bottom left corner of the goal to give LAFC the lead.
As so often happens, the Union almost scored a minute later, Alejandro Bedoya sending a header goalward from a corner, but it was cleared off the line by Joao Moutinho.
In the 30th minute there was a good passing move by LAFC that led to an opportunity by Dio that was blocked by a Union defender. This was a sign of things to come, though.
In the 37th minute Laurent Ciman made a rare venture forward, but his cross/shot was held by Andre Blake.
Near the 40th minute the Union got another good chance, Bedoya again getting a header off a corner kick, this time from the other side of the field, but he looped that header over the bar.
LAFC made the Union pay a minute later, a great series of passes led to Benny Feilhaber sending Mark-Anthony Kaye through on goal. Kaye had a lane for a good shot, but instead he squared the ball to Dio for a tap in and his second goal of the night.
This time however, the Union did answer back. Marcus Epps got the ball down the right side, and his cross was not held by Tyler Miller, and Fafa Picault was able to knock the ball in to cut the deficit in half right before halftime.
In the second half Eduard Atuesta had to come off, it he rolled his ankle after being stepped on.
His replacement, Aaron Kovar, made an immediate impact, setting up the 3rd goal for LAFC. Kovar crossed the ball in from the right, Latif Blessing got a touch to the ball which took it to the far post where Dio put the ball in, completing his hat trick.
Kovar almost had a goal for himself a few mins later, but his shot was well saved by Blake.
For the next 20 minutes or so LAFC were able to control the game well, limiting the opportunities the Union had at trying to get back in the game.
In the 75th minute the hat trick hero Dio came off, and 18-year-old Shaft Brewer came on for just his second MLS appearance so far.
A few mins later it looked like Lee Nguyen got his first goal, as a Kovar shot off the post bounced to him and he put it in, but Lee was offside when the shot was taken. Nguyen got another good shot in stoppage time, but it was well saved by Blake.
LAFC would get a 4th goal, Nguyen again finding space, and firing in a shot which Blake slowed down, but it trickled past him and Latif Blessing was there to finish the goal off.
This was a really good performance by LAFC at home. Dio got his hat trick, the first one in LAFC history. Beyond that, the midfield in particular was dominant, controlling play and creating a number of good chances. And beyond the lone Union goal, the defense and Tyler Miller did well to limit the Union’s opportunities.
When Carlos Vela and Marco Ureña left for the World Cup, there was a concern about how LAFC would score and create goals in their absence. Thankfully, the team has barely skipped a beat, and are not suffering a World Cup dip in form many of us feared they might.
LAFC have a quick turnaround with a road trip to face the Houston Dynamo on Tuesday. Start that regeneration now!
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