A pair of headers by Walker Zimmerman proved to be just what the doctor ordered as Los Angeles Football Club dispatched of their in-state rivals, San Jose Earthquakes, Saturday at Banc of California Stadium.
Here are five takeaways from the big home win.
Home field advantage.
With an 8-1-6 record at Banc of California Stadium, LAFC enjoys a strong home field advantage over other teams in Major League Soccer.
In fact, in the West only FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake can boast just one loss at home, and Real’s home loss is to LAFC.
Show me an atmosphere in US sports better than the one at @LAFC games...the @LAFC3252 fans are absolutely unreal! cc: @MLS pic.twitter.com/AeJn0M0lXN— Ged Tarpey (@ged) September 23, 2018
It just goes to show that the home crowd at the Banc can prove to be a solid 12th man on the field for the Black-and-Gold. The only loss for LAFC at home, in all competitions, was to Sporting Kansas City. Going forward, LAFC will look to secure maximum points at home heading into the final five games of the season and the playoffs.
Give San Jose credit
Much to their credit the Earthquakes faced a tough week last week.
Despite being up 3-1 to Atlanta United, San Jose saw the Five Stripes rattle off three straight to pull out the three points at Avaya Stadium.
Losing their coach and the letdown of the Atlanta loss would be enough for just about any other team in last place in the conference to just fold up and mail it in. But, over the 90 minutes Saturday, San Jose never really appeared out of the match.
The Zimmerman factor
Even with the latest rumors of LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman shopping his talents elsewhere as his contract expires at the end of this season, the defender had a pair of beauties — his first career brace — to pace the Black-and-Gold.
2 corners, 2 headers.@11carlosV ➡️ @thewalkerzim pic.twitter.com/NhxEfLe61u— LAFC (@LAFC) September 23, 2018
Regardless of his situation in terms of a contract negotiation with the club, he did earn some bonus points with his performance Saturday.
Continued strength on set pieces
I don’t have an exact figure, but LAFC has shown considerable strength coming out of set pieces.
Whether it was stunners from former defender Laurent Ciman or Saturday’s performances, the Black-and-Gold have shown a penchant for finding the back of the net on set pieces.
Getting to the playoffs
Saturday’s win inched LAFC closer to the playoffs in their first year of play in MLS.
As it stands now, the Black-and-Gold haven’t clinched their playoff spot, but they are well on track, already above the points total for the lowest-seeded team in the West the last two years.
Their next stab at points comes at Toyota Park and a match with the Chicago Fire on Saturday. Chicago is second-to-last in the Eastern Conference. Following that, the Black-and-Gold remain on the road with a match against the Colorado Rapids — who are sitting second-from-the-bottom in the Eastern Conference.
After that, they get Houston Dynamo at home — Houston is third-from-the-bottom in the West. They close out the regular season at home with Vancouver Whitecaps FC and then Sporting Kansas City on the road.
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