First-place Los Angeles Football Club lost 1-0 to the last-place Colorado Rapids in Commerce City, Colorado on Friday night. The defeat was just their second in competitive action in 2019, and their first since April 17.
After recovering from a pulled hamstring, Steven Beitashour finally started again at right back and saw his first action since May 19th. With Walker Zimmerman still away on international duty, Tristan Blackmon, who has been regularly starting at right back in Beitashour’s stead, moved into the center back position to partner with Eddie Segura.
Lee Nguyen started at right midfield again in place of Mark-Anthony Kaye who is also away for the Gold Cup. Having four games in nine days after this match, Eduard Atuesta was rested and Latif Blessing took over the center midfield position.
Other lineup changes of note include Pablo Sisniega making his MLS debut in net after two impressive performances in the U.S. Open Cup and Joshua Perez made his first MLS start at left midfield.
LAFC dominated the first fifteen minutes by holding 77 percent of the game’s possession, but both teams were unable to find a shot on goal. In response, left and right forwards Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi switched sides to give Colorado a new look. After another seven minutes, they switched back.
The first thirty minutes featured both teams struggling to find a rhythm with only a total of four shots taken between the two teams, though four corners were created as well.
Finally, in the 40th minute, a dangerous opportunity presented itself. Colorado surged forward with a quick counter-attack and left midfielder Andre Shinyashiki curled in a quick cross from inside the left side of the box. Quick to react, Sisniega dove out full extension past the six-yard box and caught the pass before it had a chance to reach its intended target.
With two more minutes of uneventful added time, the LAFC finished its most tedious half of the season tied, 0-0. While this is the type of grinding game that plays more into Colorado’s favor, LAFC certainly expected more success in finding scoring opportunities. Los Angeles still controlled the possession battle with a 64-36 advantage and earn three corners to Colorado’s two, but still both teams were unable to find a single shot on goal.
The second half was different.
Colorado earned their third corner of the game in the 48th minute. Jack Price swung the cross in towars the six-yard line and Colorado center back Danny Wilson leapt over Eddie Segura and headed a shot on net. Sisniega got a hand on the ball as it was headed a little above and to the right of him, but it was only enough to redirect the shot off the crossbar and in.
Then, in the 52nd minute, an oncoming lightning storm forced the game to be delayed. Both teams returned to the locker rooms and the fans were advised to leave their seats and seek shelter in the concourse of the stadium. A hard rainfall followed, with the delay lasting 62 minutes.
After the game resumed, LAFC entered the match aggressive to get on the scoresheet. Diego Rossi hit a sharp shot right away, forcing a save by Tim Howard.
In the 71st minute. LAFC got out on the counter, with Rossi dribbling up the left flank. His low cross was hit by substitute Adrien Perez, who blasted it well over the goal.
With the game winding down, LAFC appealed for a penalty as Vela’s attempt into the box bounced off Keegan Rosenberry’s leg and up off his hand, but referee David Gantar shrugged it off.
All in all, LAFC dominated the run of play but were totally lackluster in the final third. The loss is a disappointment, but they’ll have to get back to it with the aforementioned hectic stretch coming up in the days ahead, beginning with a midweek clash in Kansas City against Sporting on Wednesday.
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