If you like 3-3 games for Los Angeles Football Club, then you’ll be happy they’ve posted their second in a row, four months apart, as the black-and-gold came from behind to draw the Houston Dynamo in a six-goal seesaw battle Monday night at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.
Two LAFC players scored their first goals with the club in the comeback, and two made their LAFC debuts in the match, as Houston jumped out to two different leads but couldn’t hold on as LAFC clawed back a draw.
The lineup was basically LAFC’s top group, minus the absent Carlos Vela, of course, with Bradley Wright-Phillips making his debut for the club at the No. 9 spot.
LAFC were sharp in the opening minutes, setting up a few tantalizing balls into Houston’s box but not quite connecting with them.
They got a quick wakeup call in the 9th minute, however, when Memo Rodriguez had a nice run against the grain and caught LAFC and goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer flat-footed at the near post.
But LAFC didn’t hang their heads, and they did what they’ve done so many times before, and find an answer, this one 10 minutes later, as Wright-Phillips opened his account with a tap-in off a nice cross.
But Rodriguez struck again at the half-hour mark, with a ball over the top leading to a blast which forced a save from Vermeer, but Rodriguez punched in the rebound to make it 2-1 for Houston.
And then it got worse for LAFC. The Dynamo extended their lead in first-half stoppage time, when Darwin Quintero’s lofted free kick was headed in by Alberth Elis. The goal was initially chalked off on an offside call, but VAR review overturned the original call and LAFC entered the halftime break down 3-1.
The first 15 minutes or so from LAFC were pretty turgid after the restart, but Rossi gave the black-and-gold a lifeline in the 64th minute, his unstoppable angled blast making it 3-2 to Houston to give LAFC hope.
Then LAFC got back on level terms in the 69th minute, when Latif Blessing hit a beautiful redirect pass in the box, and Brian Rodriguez opened his account for his club to make it 3-3.
Adama Diomande made his season debut at the hour mark, coming off the bench for Wright-Phillips, but Dio got hurt and had to leave in the 77th minute, with offseason signing Danny Musovski making his debut for LAFC in relief of Dio.
The game was full of swings throughout, from LAFC looking sharp to start but slowly falling apart over the course of the first half, to their second-half rally to get back into the game.
I think this game, on four months’ rust, showed us what LAFC are without Carlos Vela: Vulnerable in defense, but still quite potent in attack and capable of making up for mistakes in the back. The hope is with more time, they can smooth out their bumps and become more fluent on both sides of the ball. But time will tell.
Now it’s time to recover and get ready for El Trafico against LA Galaxy, coming Saturday night. Gird your loins.
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