Los Angeles Football Club are in the Western Conference Final, and they will take on the Seattle Sounders with a place at 2019 MLS Cup on the line. Ahead of Tuesday’s showdown, let’s take a look back at the games these two teams have played so far.
To sum up: It’s been very good for LAFC! They are 3-0-1 across two seasons against the Sounders. But that tells only part of the story. You can make a decent case that LAFC were, yes, a bit fortunate in three of those games. Here’s the details:
Sounders 0, LAFC 1: March 4, 2018
Surely you’ve heard of this one. It was LAFC’s first game, Walker Zimmerman was a late scratch, LAFC had barely enough players officially under contract on the roster to fill out an 18, and they were playing the Sounders, who have yet to have a bad season in MLS.
And then, Diego Rossi instantly wrote his name into black-and-gold lore:
First, LAFC shocked Seattle with an early goal, and perhaps even more impressive, they managed to hold on for the rest of the game. Tyler Miller had seven saves against his old team, and Laurent Ciman put out fires again and again to keep the Sounders off the board.
On balance of play, this probably should have been a draw at the very least. But LAFC had a magical day, and from an auspicious start built on it, both against the Sounders and beyond.
LAFC 1, Sounders 0: April 29, 2018
Another date etched in LAFC legend, it initially looked like LAFC would have rough days both to open their history and to open their stadium when Seattle was listed as the opponent for both fixtures.
Truthfully, the actual game that opened The Banc was cagey and, well, sometimes pretty boring. Under the Sunday night lights, neither team seemed like they would get the goal and the teams would finish it out 0-0.
But that’s not what happened. In another moment that appeared to be some kind of magic for LAFC, deep in second-half stoppage time Ciman stepped up from waaaaaaay out and hit a hard free kick, that normally sure-handed Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei flubbed.
It was incredible! Tears were shed. But while Frei really goofed there to give LAFC three points, on balance of play LAFC should have tied Seattle, admit it. Still, three points in the pocket!
LAFC 4, Sounders 1: April 21, 2019
The only game between these teams so far that was truly one-sided, LAFC demolished the Sounders in the teams’ first meeting this year, at The Banc. Carlos Vela had a brace, Eduard Atuesta chipped one in, and Christian Ramirez (remember him?) added to the pile with a terrific team goal. Only Harry Shipp’s goal sandwiched in the middle harshed any vibes for LAFC.
What was striking to me about this game was how much of a liability Roman Torres was for Seattle. Admittedly, he hadn’t been playing and was chucked in out of necessity, as Chad Marshall’s career was winding down. But the Panamanian looked like he was playing in mud. Check out Atuesta’s goal, with Torres making the saddest tackle attempt you’ve probably ever seen right before the shot.
Now, Torres played himself into shape and aside from a PED suspension (whoops!) he’s become competent again, although he got hurt the other night in Seattle’s playoff game against Real Salt Lake and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be available. But again, this was the one lopsided result in which LAFC clearly came out way better than the Sounders.
Sounders 1, LAFC 1: April 28, 2019
The teams met again a week later, this time at CenturyLink Field, and finished with a draw, the first time Seattle have taken points off LAFC. This was a weird one in a few ways.
First, LAFC conceded in the opening minute, Jordan Morris pouncing on a bad backpass by Eddie Segura. One of Segura’s few mistakes this year! Then, Vela got a quick equalizer, putting the teams level again in the first five minutes.
And then the big turning point came in the 18th minute, when Cristian Roldan was sent off for putting hands to the face of Eduard Atuesta in a scuffle. By the letter of the law, Roldan’s infraction was a red card, but it did seem a bit harsh and Roldan was not suspended the following game after Seattle appealed the ejection. Regardless, LAFC were up a man but the Sounders sat deep the rest of the day, and Ramirez’s lowest moment of the season, missing a sure goal, meant the teams ended 1-1.
On balance of play, the tie was probably fair, and LAFC probably should have won considering some of their chances and how the Sounders didn’t attack for most of the game. But because an iffy red card came so early, we didn’t get a chance to see the teams go toe-to-toe (even if we saw that just a week earlier, admittedly), and you can acknowledge the game state was at least a bit unfortunate for Seattle.
The good news is that LAFC have had the edge all-time against Seattle and have yet to be outplayed. The maybe not-as-good news is like we saw with LAFC’s victory over the LA Galaxy, runs are made to be broken, and the Sounders are in much better form than the last time they faced LAFC. It certainly won’t be easy but if the historical edge prevails on Tuesday, that will be a good omen for LAFC.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!