Los Angeles Football Team used a heavily rotated lineup again and snapped their two-game winning run, as they lost 2-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps Wednesday.
The game, played at Vancouver’s temporary “home” stadium of Providence Park in Portland, was won by a brace from Whitecaps forward Lucas Cavallini, with LAFC working hard throughout the 90 minutes but unable to keep pace with their opponent.
With Mark-Anthony Kaye out injured as expected, Bob Bradley brought Latif Blessing into the midfield, and started Mohamed El-Munir, who played there in a pinch off the bench at the weekend, to play right back. The other change came up top, with homegrown forward Christian Torres getting his first career start, and Adrien Perez going to the bench for kickoff.
Pablo Sisniega was pushed into action in the 27th minute, as a scramble in LAFC’s box led to a great chance, but the goalkeeper was up to the challenge and made the stop to keep Vancouver off the board.
The Whitecaps found their breakthrough in the 30th minute, with Cavallini scoring off Cristian Dajome’s cross to make it 1-0.
The game went to the halftime break with Vancouver leading 1-0. Shots were hard to come by, with LAFC posting none on target and Vancouver just the one that led to the score. Otherwise, the stats were pretty even for the teams in the first 45.
Perez replaced Torres at the halftime break, possibly a move planned coming into the game.
LAFC pushed to get back in the game, but Cavallini scored his second goal of the game in the 59th minute, with Fredy Montero’s cross finding the big striker in the middle, and an acrobatic finish gave the Whitecaps a cool 2-0 lead.
Kwadwo Opoku came off the bench for the second straight game, and Homegrown defender Erik Dueñas made his MLS debut in the 71st minute, replacing Dejan Jakovic.
LAFC got a lifeline in the final 10 minutes, when another sub, Bryce Duke, earned a handball penalty on Jake Nerwinski that was awarded after VAR. But Eduard Atuesta’s attempt was easily saved by Evan Bush. However, the goalkeeper came off his line early, and Atuesta got another shot. The second time, the Colombian’s attempt did not miss, as he slammed it down the middle to get LAFC on the board.
From there, LAFC pushed to get the equalizer, but they ultimately fell short in that quest, even if they had Vancouver on the ropes at moments.
It was a tough performance for LAFC, but I think considering they were missing at least seven of their usual starters (arguably eight overall) I don’t think we can be too surprised they struggled to stop a quality forward like Cavallini. Credit to the team for keeping their fight throughout, and for the many youngsters for getting right in the mix and trying to get a result, but it wasn’t their night, and given how far down the squad Bradley went in this one, it’s going to happen sometimes. I don’t think this game offers any red flags, or at least any we weren’t already well acquainted with in this team.
LAFC are scheduled to be back in action on Sunday against the Portland Timbers, again in Portland at Providence Park. These teams have a good little rivalry going, but with LAFC so shorthanded, it sounds like a tough task. Having said that, maybe a game together here will help the black-and-gold find their level and give them a shot against a team ahead of them in the standings. One game at a time, as they say.
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