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No man’s land: Seattle Sounders 3, LAFC 1

LAFC’s rocky re-restart continues with second straight loss.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club have lost consecutive games in MLS regular season play for the first time since Aug. 2018, after a 3-1 thumping at the hands of the Seattle Sounders Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

All three of Seattle’s goals came from major breakdowns in LAFC’s defense and/or goalkeeping, and while the energy was better than the loss last week against the LA Galaxy, it was another game in which the backline and GK let the team down in the result, frankly.

Bob Bradley gave debut starts in 2020 to two players for LAFC — Jose Cifuentes made his first career MLS start, while Danilo Silva earned a recall in central defense alongside Eddie Segura after battling injuries and being buried on the depth chart for about a year.

The Sounders grabbed the lead in the 11th minute, against the run of play. With a rare foray by Seattle on a counterattack, Raul Ruidiaz latched onto a deflection off Tristan Blackmon that died in the middle of the field, and had a crack. With Kenneth Vermeer standing way off his line, he had absolutely no chance at the shot, and the Sounders were up 1-0.

Silva was substituted out of the game by LAFC in the 39th minute for Dejan Jakovic. Given the timing, it appeared to be injury-related, and if that’s the case, it’s a new stroke of bad luck for Silva.

With LAFC down only a goal at the halftime break, it seemed like they could get back into the game in the second half, but they got crushed coming right out in the opening minutes, as Jordan Morris scored a two-minute brace. First, he beat Vermeer, trying to snuff out the chance outside of his box and missing badly, with Morris scoring into the empty net.

Then a minute later, he scored again, with a back-post run without being marked, as Joao Paulo sent him a low cross on the counter and Morris scored under no pressure.

At that point, the game was totally out of LAFC’s control and they were perhaps fortunate not to concede more goals.

LAFC got on the board at the hour mark, after a well-worked give-and-go on the counterattack by Wright-Phillips and Cifuentes led to an easy tap-in at the far post by Diego Rossi.

LAFC pushed for a second goal but couldn’t find any purchase, so in the 79th minute Bradley cleared the decks, so to speak, with his remaining substitutes, which included bringing on Homegrown signing Christian Torres for his MLS debut, a significant moment for the youngster and the club.

But it wasn’t enough to claw back a result in the match, and this one’s going to sting. Again, the energy level was improved in this game, but with the enormous caveat of it being a very weird season and only two games into the latest phase of the campaign, the defense and Vermeer aren’t getting the job done. Is it a fluke? Considering the number of goals LAFC have conceded this year, it doesn’t seem like it, and more questions will be asked if LAFC need to sign a starting-caliber center back ASAP.

LAFC will be back in action Wednesday at home against the San Jose Earthquakes. The Quakes are also coming off a rivalry loss to the Galaxy, and while LAFC have had San Jose’s number in the past, both teams are going to be eager for a win to get some traction, and that one’s going to be a real battle.

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