While regular starters Walker Zimmerman and Tyler Miller remained out of Bob Bradley’s lineup as they were with the U.S. Men’s National Team at the Gold Cup semifinal, the rest of the lineup was first-choice, with Tristan Blackmon once again playing at center back.
The game was a mix of LAFC punishing opponents with terrific plays and Sporting never giving up, even when they had a three-goal deficit. While LAFC never looked to be really in danger of falling apart, they had to work on the defensive end to preserve the win, and it’s the kind of win to take pride in for Bradley.
In the ninth minute, Mark-Anthony Kaye, back in the lineup after his stint at the Gold Cup with Canada, nearly scored with a header off a Carlos Vela free kick, but his attempt went straight at Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia, and Kansas City eventually cleared the ball.
LAFC opened the scoring in the 28th minute, as Christian Ramirez was the surprise player to step up to a free kick just beyond Sporting’s box. Ramirez cleverly scored by hitting a hard shot under the SKC wall, beating Tim Melia.
Sporting had a great chance in the 41st minute, as Gerso was open on the flank and sent a cutback pass into the box, but Krisztian Nemeth’s point-blank shot was saved by Pablo Sisniega, who made a terrific block to keep Sporting off the board.
After the break, LAFC picked up where they left off, as Diego Rossi scored the game’s second goal five minutes in, with a rocket to beat Melia again.
And then we saw a familiar sight this season, as Carlos Vela hit a trademark left-footed curler in the 63rd minute to extend LAFC’s lead and take him off his one-game “schneid.”
Sporting drew a penalty in the final 10 minutes, for a Steven Beitashour handball in LAFC’s box, but Pablo Sisniega blocked Daniel Salloi’s spot kick to preserve the clean sheet for the visitors.
But three minutes later, Sporting found a breakthrough, as Yohan Croizet scored off a ball over the top and a crafty kung fu kick to make it 3-1 late.
LAFC came roaring back, however, as Rodolfo Zelaya and Mohamed El-Munir scored their first career goals for LAFC in the dying moments of the game to make it 5-1 and thoroughly demoralize Sporting.
It was a good showing for LAFC, and now they need to recover quickly, as they’ll be back in action on Saturday against one of the only teams to have beaten them this season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC. It should be another good one, and with this great win, we’ll all surely be looking forward to it.
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