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Shootout at BOC Corral: LAFC 4, Atlanta United 3

Black-and-gold hold on in barnburner.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club looked to turn the page on a loss last week and a loss last season, and they did, in defeating Atlanta United 4-3 at Banc of California Stadium in a wild shootout.

A 12-minute spell of goals by LAFC made the difference, as Atlanta bookended the match with their tallies, but couldn’t come back all the way in the end.

The big surprise coming into the match for LAFC was that Pablo Sisniega was recalled in goal, with Tyler Miller going back to the bench after playing the last two games. Whether Bob Bradley wants to go with Sisniega moving forward, wants to platoon, or if Miller was carrying a knock or strain is unclear. But it was a big move, even if Sisniega has played well.

That said, LAFC went down just two minutes in, as defensive-minded Mo Adams scored with a nice top corner finish off an Atlanta free kick. It was a good finish with numbers in the box, but also a worrying sign for LAFC to go down at home early, again.

But after needing nearly 30 minutes to get on the scoresheet, LAFC got in gear in a major way, with four unanswered goals. First, Adama Diomande found the equalizer in the 33rd minute, taking a pass from Mark-Anthony Kaye, letting the ball run across his body and finishing with a touch at the near post.

The next goal came five minutes later, when Diego Rossi buried the shot on a late run after LAFC crashed towards goal, and Carlos Vela’s cross bounced around before the Uruguayan got the go-ahead goal.

But that wasn’t all, as the deluge continued with Vela drawing a penalty and scoring it himself, and then in first-half stoppage time Eduard Atuesta got a low cross from Diomande, pirouetted and scored a beauty himself to make it 4-1.

But Atlanta got the next two, as Josef Martinez scored just before the halftime whistle, and then Eddie Segura scored an own goal in the 51st minute to make it 4-3, making a romp a game once again.

From there, both teams seemed to buckle down on defense, finally, and each team had great individual plays to stop the other side on breakaways, Jordan Harvey for LAFC and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez for Atlanta. Brad Guzan, despite allowing four goals, made six saves, several vital for Atlanta, and LAFC could have truly run away with the game if it wasn’t for his efforts.

What to make of the game? A win is a win, and while LAFC showed a bit of the 2018 vintage and let a team back into the game after going up big early, they held on and actually got the win. I’m sure Bradley won’t be happy with conceding three times, but coming against an experienced and potent attack like Atlanta’s it becomes a war of attrition. For the neutrals, it was a thriller, for LAFC partisans, it was good with some key caveats, but you take the three points and move on.

Up next, LAFC see several players off to the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday in Orlando, and assuming they come back to us as healthy as they left, the black-and-gold will meet up again on the other side of the country, as they take on the red-hot New England Revolution at tricky Gillette Stadium, under Bruce Arena, in what’s going to be a tasty game next Saturday. Should be a good one.

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