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LAFC’s Brian Rodriguez feeling loose after scoring first goal

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Is this the start of many for the Uruguayan?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Los Angeles FC Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a number he probably doesn’t want to be reminded of, but after 14 games, Brian Rodriguez broke his duck for LAFC.

The Los Angeles Football Club young Designated Player has been a fixture in the lineup since joining the black-and-gold about a year ago, but with the game on the line Monday in the club’s opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament, Rodriguez delivered.

With LAFC chasing a 3-1 halftime deficit, first Diego Rossi scored to narrow the margin before Rodriguez scored the important equalizer in the 69th minute.

With the Uruguayan a full international — not an easy team to break into — and already scoring pretty regularly for them, there’s a hope it was just a matter of time for the 20-year-old, and he admitted a sense of relief after the 3-3 draw against the Houston Dynamo.

“This is something I look for since the very beginning,” Rodriguez said via interpreter after the game. “Scoring gives me a lot of trust. I feel I have evolved a lot, and of course by scoring and by playing, I feel a little bit more loose, and that helps me a lot. And also scoring helps me a lot.”

Rodriguez and Rossi had a new running mate on the night in Bradley Wright-Phillips, the veteran English striker making his debut for the club and scoring in his own right. Rodriguez credited Wright-Phillips for helping his game against the Dynamo.

“Playing with Brad, he also helps a lot throughout the match, and he makes the attack a lot easier. It gives me and it gives the team a lot more trust,” said Rodriguez.

Wright-Phillips returned the favor in complementing Rodriguez and Rossi.

“Yeah, it’s exciting. I look at those young guys, and it just makes my job a lot easier,” he said. “I don’t have to run as much. I don’t have to do as much off the ball. I think those guys are tremendously talented, and you see that today. They haven’t played for a while and they look like they haven’t missed a beat. For me, the older guy, it’s good to be around those guys. You get the energy from them and try to follow suit.”

Now, the big question will be to see if Rodriguez — along with Wright-Phillips, Rossi and whoever else features — can keep scoring. With Carlos Vela not participating in the MLS is Back Tournament, it’s on the rest of the group to step up in his absence. Through one game, that part seems to be in good hands, but up next is the big rivalry game, against the LA Galaxy on Saturday night. Rodriguez notched his first career MLS assist in El Trafico, and he and the rest of LAFC nation will hope the dam has broken on the Uruguayan’s goalscoring form for his club.

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