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Book it: LAFC 2, Houston Dynamo 1

Black-and-gold clinch playoff spot with workmanlike win.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club booked their ticket to the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, after beating the Houston Dynamo 2-1 at Banc of California Stadium.

Two first-half goals made the difference on the night, and while Houston didn’t give up, they couldn’t match LAFC and the black-and-gold recorded a second straight win for just the second time this year in regular-season play. With two games left before the playoffs, the hope LAFC is peaking at the right time may be coming true.

The only change on the night for LAFC was Kenneth Vermeer returning in goal. Pablo Sisniega was out of the squad altogether, with the team saying he had suffered a minor leg injury in Sunday’s game against the LA Galaxy.

LAFC got the scoring started in the 9th minute, with Mohamed El-Munir sending a peach of a cross to Diego Rossi, who slammed it home at the doorstep.

The home side doubled their lead in the 22nd minute, with Eddie Segura latching onto a ball in the box off a corner kick and slamming a shot in at the side netting.

But Segura conceded a handball at the other end shortly after, and after a VAR review, the penalty was called for the Dynamo. But Mauro Manotas’ spot kick effort was tame and Vermeer was on the spot to make the stop, keeping Houston off the board.

The 2nd half didn’t start great for LAFC, as their two-goal lead evaporated when Ariel Lassiter’s far-post run paid off with Darwin Quintero whiffing on a shot, Lassiter making it 2-1 in the 46th minute.

With Houston pushing for an equalizer, Rossi scored his second goal of the night in the 52nd minute, but he was offside and after a VAR review it was taken off the board.

For the second game in a row, LAFC’s opponent went down a man, as Matias Vera was ejected after a second yellow card just before the hour mark. Carlos Vela, Latif Blessing and Tristan Blackmon all came off the bench for the black-and-gold immediately afterwards.

The Dynamo almost got another penalty in the dying minutes, but the high kick by Latif Blessing on Jose Bizama was shown to be a flop by the attacker and after a VAR review it was waived off.

LAFC kept pushing for an insurance tally but couldn’t find paydirt. I think there has to be concern that they are lacking the killer edge to really bury opponents, but wins are wins, and perhaps grinding out some tough results will be beneficial in the playoffs. It wasn’t LAFC’s best night, more like a C+/B-, but they did what they needed and won, so job done.

LAFC will hit the road for their next match, Sunday at the San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes are fighting for a playoff spot, so they’ll be up for it, and it should be a good test for LAFC with the end of the season almost here.

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