Los Angeles Football Club advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Thursday. The Quakes did not make it easy on the Black-and-Gold, as San Jose went ahead in the 7th minute thanks to Valeri Qazaishvili.
“They’re a difficult team to play against... it’s never the best to go down early, but we found our way little by little,” said LAFC manager Bob Bradley after the game.
After around 20 minutes, LAFC got more into the match, breaking through the pressure that San Jose had and getting a goal from Diego Rossi in the 35th. From then on, it was a whole different match, as Adama Diomande and Carlos Vela scored in the second half to get the Black and Gold into the next round.
“We caused ourselves trouble in the first half... then in the second half I thought we made some better football plays. I know that when we play San Jose, they’ve got their way of playing. I thought in the first 20, maybe 30 minutes of the game tonight, that the game was more the way they like to play than the way we like to play. And little by little I think we got more of a grip on it,” Bradley explained.
You also can’t look at this game without seeing the standout performance from goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega — filling in for Tyler Miller, away at the Gold Cup with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Sisniega made eight saves on the night to ensure a victory for the Black-and-Gold.
“I’ve known Pablo from Spain,” said forward Carlos Vela, referring to both players’ previous time in the Real Sociedad organization. “I know how good he is. It’s not a surprise for me.”
After his career night, Sisniega framed the win as another step on the way to LAFC’s ultimate goal: Winning all three of their competitions this season.
“Every day what the staff tries to push onto us is that we’re a team that has to win, and that we have to have a winning mentality and a championship mentality,” Sisniega said.
“So I think that still being alive for three trophies still is what keeps us going and our mentality is that we want to win everything.”
Bradley had a similar sentiment, saying that the Open Cup match helped keep his team in form for the resumption of the full MLS season, as we begin to approach that MLS-crunch-time part of the season.
“We’ve tried to put the best team that we can on the field. The schedule worked in our favor for that, this weird June schedule where we had a league match in the beginning and then the one with Colorado coming up so as it turned out, these two matches helped us keep going in June.”
LAFC will play Portland Timbers in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup (sound familiar?) in one of four matches in a 10-day stretch in the beginning of July. Last season, LAFC beat Portland 3-2 to advance to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
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