Carlos Vela tied the single-season goal scoring record for MLS, netting his 31st goal of the season against Minnesota United.
Fittingly, it was a left-footed curler from the top of the box that eluded Vito Mannone, who had stopped Vela a few times earlier from scoring.
Vela is now tied with Josef Martinez for that single season goal scoring record, and has one game to go to break the record. It would be the perfect end to a tremendous regular season if he could break the record.
Brian Rodriguez seeming to settle in
After making his debut with LAFC a little over a month ago, Brian Rodriguez looked like most young Designated Players coming from a new country, clearly talented but taking some time to get used to the league and the team.
Which makes total sense, given his age (19), relocating to a new country, and the unique features of MLS.
Rodriguez has played generally well but inconsistently over his first month with LAFC.
He played really well against Minnesota though, making some great attacking runs, especially in the first half when he drove through the box and had his chip just go off the crossbar.
He also linked well with Vela, and drove the ball forward for the attack which led to Vela’s goal.
If Rodriguez and Vela are firing on full cylinders going into the playoffs, the rest of the West should be afraid.
With LAFC clinching the Supporters’ Shield and home-field throughout the playoffs, they essentially have nothing to play for in the last two games (except for Carlos Vela going for the goal record and breaking the team points record in a season).
Bob Bradley rotated the squad, and got some much-needed rest for regulars like Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Harvey, Tyler Miller, and Latif Blessing. That LAFC were able to rotate that much and still put out a solid squad shows how much depth they have.
Expect more rotation in the last game of the season next week.
Pablo Sisniega performs well
There’s still a slight question mark about the goalie situation going into the playoffs, and Pablo Sisniega did not make the decision any easier for Bradley.
He was phenomenal in net, arguably his best performance for LAFC, though he did play well in his first few games while Tyler Miller was at the Gold Cup.
In particular, he made two great saves on Angelo Rodriguez in the 2nd half, to keep Minnesota from scoring multiple goals this game.
If I had to guess now, I still think Miller starts for LAFC in the playoffs, but I would not be shocked if Sisniega gets the nod.
There is a new playoff format this season, and with only one game left, we can look ahead and reasonably predict who LAFC’s opponent could be.
LAFC will have a bye in the first round of the playoffs, and then host the winner of the 4th vs. 5th seed matchup in the first round.
However it shakes out, LAFC will be hosting a very good team in the second round of the playoffs this year.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!