Los Angeles Football Club had arguably their best performance of the season, knocking off Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United on the road 4-0 on Saturday. Here’s what we took away from that performance.
D.C. United pressure LAFC early, Vela misses a penalty
The start of the game had all the pressure at one end, with a combination of D.C. United pushing high, and LAFC giving the ball away when they tried to clear the ball and build possession. This lead to D.C. building sustained pressure early on. Gradually LAFC grew into the game though, and got some attacks. They had one down the left hand side that lead to a penalty, with Jordan Harvey driving in a low cross that went off the arm of a D.C. United defender. Carlos Vela stepped up, but missed the first penalty of his time in MLS, sending a penalty that Bill Hamid dived to his left and blocked. Vela got half a chance on the rebound, but was denied by the post. At that time, it was a missed opportunity for LAFC to grab an early lead on the road.
Vela responds, LAFC devastating on the counter
You had to believe he would have a response for the missed penalty, and he did. Vela scored fr open play just a few mins after missing the penalty. Adama Diomande picked up a pass near midfield, and played Carlos in near the box, where he cut from the right onto his left foot, and, well, you can probably guess the rest. This was a huge moment in the match, where LAFC grabbed the lead on the road against a tough opponent, so soon after they had missed a penalty, which could have been a deflating moment for the team. Instead, LAFC responded almost right after that, and took off from there.
The Diego Rossi show
That’s back-to-back hat tricks for LAFC, Vela last game, and Diego Rossi in this game. Most of the team has been overshadowed by Vela so far this year, but Rossi is having another tremendous start to the season. His runs and his combination play from the wings are a key part of LAFC’s offense, and he has continued to finish chances as he has the whole time he has been in MLS. Sadly, if Rossi keeps playing the way he has been, his time in MLS might not last much longer, as he is sure to be on the radar of European teams.
The defense holds firm
One probably would have expected LAFC to score against D.C. United, but keeping a clean sheet against them is another thing entirely. LAFC’s defense has been much improved this year, and they do not cause you anxiety when they grab a lead, as they did many times last year. Eddie Segura has helped solidify the back line, Walker Zimmerman continues to excel, and Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey have been very solid on the outside. Tyler Miller has also been very impressive. LAFC have now kept two clean sheets in a row (with last week’s looking even more impressive, given that San Jose put three goals past Portland this weekend). A solid defense this year is what could really put LAFC over the top.
One of the hallmarks last year was that LAFC played so well on the road, especially early on as Banc of California Stadium was being finished. This season they have kept up that road form, with two wins and a draw in three road games, and they came within a Dio missed volley of winning that 3rd road game. It is a small sample size, but it’s nice to see LAFC keep up their impressive road form.
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