LAFC defend well one on one… until they don’t
The first half started they way most LAFC games do, with LAFC in control for most of the possession and forcing the play. FC Dallas clearly had a plan to sit and counter, and they were successful in getting counter opportunities the other way. LAFC defenders played those chances well though, and stopped any real opportunities on goal, Walker Zimmerman and Eddie Segura in particular. Things started to break down for LAFC though, and Dominique Badji had gotten past the defense and played a cross through that was put in. Fortunately for LAFC, Badji was offside on the build-up, and the goal was disallowed. Only a few minutes later, virtually the same play happened, only Badji stayed onside, and Ryan Hollingshead finished the chance to put FC Dallas on top. LAFC cut down on the counter attempts by Dallas after that point, but the damage had been done.
Vela missed a penalty, but made one late in the second half
Maybe the only area of the game that Carlos Vela has been subpar this year has been penalty kicks. He missed one at the end of the first half that would have tied the game at 1-1. He’s now missed two penalty kicks this year, scoring his first attempt against NYCFC, but then missing one at D.C. United, and missing the one in this game. It was a good save by Jesse Gonzalez, but also one that you would bet Vela would put in the back in the net. Vela redeemed himself in the second half, as LAFC got another penalty off a handball by a Dallas defender, and Vela buried the penalty.
Refs made a lot of big calls in this match
Two penalties for LAFC, Matt Hedges sent off for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity, Tyler Miller only getting a yellow card for taking down a Dallas player after he gave the ball away, in what could have been judged as denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity. And two goals disallowed for offside, one on FC Dallas, which was a fairly straightforward call, and one on Dio for LAFC, which was borderline, and seemed to be a harsh call. This most likely would have been the winning goal for LAFC, and it stung having it taken off the board, but these things happen from time to time.
LAFC try a two-striker lineup in the second half
Bob Bradley has played with one main striker for his entire time at LAFC so far. It’s clear this is how he likes to play, and we rarely see both Dio and Christian Ramirez on the field at the same time, usually because one is being subbed off for the other. But LAFC were chasing a goal in the second half, and both Dio and Ramirez were brought in as subs. They seemed to play fine together, and LAFC were still generating chances. Unfortunately they were not able to find a winner, but its nice to know this is yet another option LAFC have should they need it.
Midfield depth coming back
LAFC played a midweek game this week, and they rotated the team a bit to get some fresh legs. Lee Nguyen and Andre Horta have both had a lot of injury issues this year unfortunately, but both were back, and both started today. Both Nguyen and Horta put in solid, if not spectacular, shifts. And with an early injury to Steven Beitashour, Nguyen and Horta’s presence allowed Bob Bradley to bring on Josh Perez, and drop Latif Blessing back to right back, which he did last time Beitashour had to leave a game early. Nguyen and Horta might not always be starters, but they are very talented, and give LAFC options to play a different way, and to get minutes when there is a fixture pile up.
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