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5 takeaways from LAFC’s 2-0 win over Fresno FC

Once they got into the swing of the game, LAFC looked pretty dominant in their U.S. Open Cup win.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Los Angeles FC vs Fresno Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club won their first U.S. Open Cup game ever on Wednesday night, a 2-0 win in the fourth round against Fresno FC. The first half was tight for LAFC, as they struggled to break through Fresno’s press early, but broke away in the second half. Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing scored in the span of four minutes, boosting LAFC to a win and a date in the next round with Sacramento Republic. Let’s take a look at what we learned from the win against Fresno.

The game was not as close as the score reflected.

Yes, LAFC won 2-0. But LAFC far out-performed Fresno and had a much better game than their two-goal win lets on. First of all, they dominated possession the entire match, with 69% of the ball. They had more than double the number of total passes. LAFC led in shots, corners, crosses, and shots on target. LAFC struggled in the first 20 minutes to get into a rhythm, but past the 27th minute when they had a couple chances in a row, it felt like downhill running for Bob Bradley’s men.

Lee Nguyen continues to look sharper.

Lee Nguyen has a tall task ahead of him, and that is to step into Carlos Vela’s place in the squad as the No. 10, and lead the attack as both a creator and goalscorer, while still acclimating to a new system. Nguyen has played in just five matches, with 113 minutes, for LAFC, according to MLSSoccer.com, and every time he makes an appearance, he looks sharper and more polished. This game was his best yet, as he was distributing the ball to his fellow attackers, looking for space, and creating chances. This bodes well for Bradley moving forward, as he needs Nguyen to perform well when Vela is not here. On top of that, it only helps to have a player like Nguyen in the squad in the home stretch of the season.

The rotation squad guys will do just fine.

A big concern for the World Cup, since some players will be gone for another month, is the depth of the squad being tested. This game served as one example of a backup lineup from Bradley, with Calum Mallace, Aaron Kovar, Tristan Blackmon, and Dejan Jakovic getting starts. Generally, these guys played very well. Mallace got better in his role as the game went on, Kovar looked pretty good on the right wing, Blackmon was solid as right back, and Jakovic worked well with Walker Zimmerman, and was one touch away from a goal. This is good news that they can be plugged into the lineup when there is a schedule crunch and the roster is short on bodies.

Adama Diomande looks better every time we see him.

Diomande, LAFC’s deadline-day signing from Hull City in May, has only gotten better with every game he has played. He actually made his debut for LAFC against Borussia Dortmund in a friendly, and has played limited minutes against D.C. United, FC Dallas, before starting against Fresno. He looks more comfortable on the pitch, and brings a lot of movement to the striker position. He’s also a big target, and is constantly moving into pockets of space or making a run. He has already scored his debut goal, against Dallas, and has shown a lot of promise early.

Diego Rossi can be THE MAN while Vela is out.

Rossi may not have created the goal he scored in the second half, as Jakovic headed it towards goal and Rossi just made sure it went in, but Rossi’s impact when he came off the bench for Diomande at the start of the second half was felt immediately. He felt like an x-factor in the game as soon as he got on the pitch, and LAFC’s attack got that much better due to his creativity and his movement, which we have seen all season. This is encouraging because, again, without Vela, LAFC need their guys to step up. Rossi is the first man on that list, and he has shown that he can be LAFC’s number one, easily.

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