Rossi continued to play the part of the star on the night, scoring first and last to bring his total number of goals in the tournament to seven, to lead everyone in MLS, and his skill proved too much for the Sounders to handle, as LAFC didn’t pull away fully until the game’s dying minutes.
Bob Bradley started the same lineup that started the first game in the tournament, bringing back in Kenneth Vermeer in goal and Dejan Jakovic in defense, with Tristan Blackmon sliding back over to right back.
LAFC drew first blood, with Diego Rossi earning an early penalty from Sounders defender Xavier Arreaga. Rossi himself stepped up to take it, and scored in the 14th minute to make it 1-0.
After that, the game was far more back-and-forth, with Seattle perhaps edging the run of play as they chased for a goal, but on one of LAFC’s forays forward, they doubled their tally shortly before halftime when Latif Blessing’s cross/shot was deflected in the goal by Sounders defender Shane O’Neill.
LAFC had a slew of chances on breakaways and buildups in the second half, and couldn’t find another goal, and Seattle finally got their first goal in the 75th minute, when substitutes Joevin Jones and Will Bruin connected to score, Jones’ cross finding Bruin at the back post to score it.
Moments later, a poor clearance in the back from Tristan Blackmon led to a chance for Raul Ruidiaz at point blank range, with Vermeer making a huge stop to maintain LAFC’s lead.
Rossi got the vital insurance goal in the 82nd minute, stripping Arreaga in Seattle’s third and bearing down on goal, this time getting the best of Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
Brian Rodriguez added a late goal in the 89th minute to really put the game out of reach, scoring his second goal of the tournament in the process.
It was a solid performance from LAFC, all in all. I think they controlled most of the match, but they truly could have been 6-1 and nearly paid for their wasteful finishing when Seattle started putting the pressure on them late in the match. But again, they needed a star on the night, and Rossi was the game-breaking player they needed to go with a good team performance on the defensive end, all in all.
LAFC will take on the de facto tournament hosts Orlando City on Friday in the quarterfinal round. Orlando City have previously been cannon fodder in MLS, but they look like a new team under new head coach Oscar Pareja. Will that be enough to stop the LAFC juggernaut, or will LAFC keep their run at a trophy alive? We’ll find out in a few short days.
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