Here’s what we took from the exciting affair on Friday night.
Digging a hole early
What’s the old saying, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”? Well, LAFC took an uppercut on the chin early on, with Mo Adams scoring in his first ever start for Atlanta United, just two minutes into the game. Going down early was in no one’s plans, and was basically the worst way the game could have started, certainly for the LAFC fans if not the players. After last week’s derby letdown, going down a goal early was a tough blow.
LAFC rev into high gear in vintage stretch in the first half
Despite the early setback, LAFC settled into the game, and put pressure on Atlanta United as they looked to build their way back into the game. They had some good chances, but couldn’t quite crack the code to Atlanta’s goal.
And then, all at once the dam broke. First Mark-Anthony Kaye played in Adama Diomande, who hit a first time screamer past Brad Guzan to level the score. Then Carlos Vela was through in the box, and crossed dangerously. The ball was blocked, but settled nicely for Diego Rossi, who hit a knuckleball that eluded Brad Guzan for a 2-1 lead. Then after a determined run through midfield, Carlos Vela went down near the top of the box. It was certainly a debatable penalty, but a penalty kick was the call, which Carlos Vela scored for his 22nd goal of the season. Then, just 3 minutes later, LAFC cut Atlanta United open again, Dio sending in a low cross which Eduard Atuesta took in stride, and slotted the ball in after a beautiful turn to elude the defender. This all happened within a 12-minute stretch, and in those 12 minutes LAFC were simply irresistible. Atlanta United are still one of the best teams in the league, and they were ripped apart in a flurry at the end of the first half. Josef Martinez grabbed a goal just before halftime to stop the bleeding, and keep Atlanta United in the game.
Tense second half sees Black and Gold survive
That Josef Martinez goal, and then an own goal set up by a great Justin Meram run, led to tense moments in the second half. LAFC were still creating chances, they just couldn’t get one to go. And Atlanta looked dangerous, especially with the introduction of Ezequiel Barco into the game. This would have been a game the LAFC of last year could have very easily dropped points in. But this year’s team was able to stay defensively strong while still pushing for another goal, and in the end that was enough to get all 3 points.
The lineup tonight was pretty standard with one notable exception, Pablo Sisniega started in goal. He had performed well during Tyler Miller’s time at the Gold Cup, and Miller struggled in his first game back against Houston. Sisniega was generally good tonight, but he was unsure on crosses at times, and it showed, as he dropped a few crosses and ran into defenders at times. Sisniega did not struggle enough to warrant an immediate return to the bench, but he also didn’t cement his place in the starting lineup. So what does the goalkeeping position look like going forward? Only time will tell.
Carlos is now on 22 goals for the season, the fastest a player has ever reached 22 goals in a season in league history. The way LAFC’s offense is looking, he does not show signs of slowing down anytime soon.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!