Yeah, it was exciting to watch, but darn was it heartbreaking at the end as Los Angeles Football Club missed out on competing for its first trophy with a 3 (6)-3 (7) loss to Houston Dynamo in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
With that, here are our five takeaways from Wednesday night’s match:
Go, Diego Go!
Diego Rossi was a big bright spot for the Black-and-Gold. Opening the scoring, then putting LAFC in a position to stay in it late in the game was big.
Last time out, I talked about Rossi coming into his own and becoming a stronger attack option for LAFC and Wednesday night proved that appears to be happening.
Careful with the press
LAFC rarely pressed on the ball for most of the night and when they did, it cost them.
In the 25th minute, a goal kick by Houston was poorly marked on a press and it allowed the Dynamo to find the space they needed to create a big chance — which was finished by Mauro Manotas.
The @HoustonDynamo beat LAFC tonight in the semi's of the US Open Cup. won it in a shootout after 30 minutes of extra time. #dynamo— Randy McIlvoy (@KPRC2RandyMc) August 9, 2018
(video: Houston Dynamo) @GlennDavisSoc @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/gJ5lAnWQAB
Pressing is fine, but if you aren’t able to cut space on the press, it can create all sorts of opportunities for your opponents.
Winless in five
The loss Wednesday marks the fifth straight match where LAFC are winless.
It has been a difficult stretch for the Black-and-Gold and it is a hump they have to get over if they are going to contend.
#LAFC again made costly individual errors on all 3 goals conceded, Miller at fault twice. Inevitable for every #MLS expansion team, but #LAFC have hit a rough patch. Winless in 5 straight in all comps, eliminated in #USOC2018 semifinals. All about how they respond now. #HOUvLAFC https://t.co/BuwXYgAb5q— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 9, 2018
With Sporting Kansas City next on the docket, LAFC need to find that early season magic and get past this drought.
LAFC managed to win 43 duals against Houston, but the Dynamo won 51.
Ball control and being able to successfully contend for balls is crucial to any team and it was something LAFC failed to do Wednesday.
#HOUvLAFC 3-3 (7-6 pens) | #USOC2018 Semifinal— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 9, 2018
82%-88% pass accuracy
8-6 shots on target
51-43 duels won
3-1 YC#Dynamo outlast #LAFC, advance to #USOpenCup Final pic.twitter.com/7xQWXGZHj5
The Black-and-Gold have to do better with 1-on-1s in order to maintain ball control and create chances.
Laurent Ciman had an opportunity to win the game with his shootout attempt, but he placed the ball right in the path of Joe Willis, who was able to knock the ball away.
#LAFC had a chance to win it earlier in the shootout, but Laurent Ciman's penalty was saved. Brutal ending to fight back from 3-1 down to level it at 3-3 and force ET, only to fall on penalties. Very difficult for them to recover, both physically and mentally. #HOUvLAFC #USOC218 pic.twitter.com/ehDB5xYdGq— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 9, 2018
Ciman clearly didn’t read where Willis was going to jump and really didn’t put enough on the ball to make much of a difference.
I guess I expected a bit more from the captain.
What do you think? Post your comments below!