Los Angeles Football Club could not solve their Seattle Sounders problem in Seattle in 2020, as they lost 3-1 in Round One of the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs Tuesday at Lumen Field.
It was LAFC’s third game in Seattle this season and their third loss. While LAFC had promise, they couldn’t break down Seattle’s defense often enough and their own defense was lucky not to concede several more times, given the chances the Sounders had. And now the quest for MLS Cup will have to wait another year for the black-and-gold.
Bob Bradley brought back Pablo Sisniega in goal, Bradley Wright-Phillips up top, Mark-Anthony Kaye to start in midfield, and moved Eddie Segura over again to right back, with Tristan Blackmon in the middle. Christian Torres got the nod to start, in place of the unavailable Diego Rossi, who was missing due to coronavirus, alongside Brian Rodriguez, Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios.
Seattle got the lead in the 18th minute, as the Sounders won a flick-on in the midfield, with Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris setting up Nicolas Lodeiro for an easy goal to put the home team up.
But LAFC immediately earned a penalty, with Carlos Vela drawing it in the box. But his attempt right down the middle was caught easily by Stefan Frei, to keep it 1-0.
Aside from that brief flurry, the game was mostly played in the middle third in the first half, with the intensity mostly slower than what we’ve come to expect from LAFC.
To kick off the 2nd half, Bradley brought on Mahala Opoku for BWP, the Englishman possibly not quite right after taking an inadvertent shot from Sisniega in the 1st half.
The Sounders almost got an insurance goal in the 54th minute, Morris missing a wide-open chance in the box wide right that kept LAFC in the game.
A few moments later, LAFC brought on Mohamed El-Munir for Jordan Harvey and Adrien Perez for Torres to try and give the black-and-gold a spark.
The Sounders had another shot just before the hour mark, with Morris tagging the post, and Lodeiro doing likewise just after the hour passed.
Seattle found their insurance goal in the 66th minute, as a deflected corner made its way to a wide-open Raul Ruidiaz, who blasted it home.
LAFC got a lifeline in the game in the 77th minute, with Vela sending an early cross that was tapped in by a sliding Eduard Atuesta, to make it 2-1.
But Morris got his goal in the 80th minute, zipping past Segura in a footrace to make it 3-1 and wrap up the result.
Kaye scored a header in the 88th minute, but a VAR review chalked it off due to an offside. It was tight, honestly could have gone either way.
All in all, it was a frustrating end to the MLS campaign for LAFC, and kind of summed the MLS season up. There were moments of promise, but an inability to set the tempo and to defend competently, while also faltering on the attacking end, doomed them. And all with LAFC missing multiple key players, and in this one, missing the best player on the team this season, Diego Rossi, hurt an awful lot.
LAFC’s MLS season is done, but they actually still have another competitive game or more to come, in Concacaf Champions League. That will be in three weeks, so LAFC will have to stew over this loss and gear up for the last competition they’re still alive in in 2020.
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