The teams traded two goals in three minutes in the second half, the only highlight in a day when the quality of play was pretty lackluster on both sides.
Diego Rossi made his return to LAFC’s lineup for the first time in 2021, starting up top alongside Corey Baird and Kwadwo Opoku, and Marco Farfan got the nod again at right back, with Tristan Blackmon starting on the bench.
Rossi nearly scored in the 12th minute, off a peach of a throughball from Eduard Atuesta, but his one-touch attempt was saved with a fingertip by Houston goalkeeper Marko Maric, keeping LAFC off the board.
At the other end, Maxi Urruti looked like he had a goalbound shot in the 17th minute, but his shot sailed through the goalmouth and bounced out of danger to save LAFC’s blushes.
Pablo Sisniega was pressed into action in the 42nd minute, as a shot that deflected off an LAFC defender was on frame, the goalkeeper stretching to keep it out of the net, successfully.
The teams went into the locker room tied 0-0 at the half, the first half being rather lackluster and lacking any good rhythm, but aside from the few chances, neither team really controlling the game, either.
LAFC scored in the 55th minute, as a good buildup around the box led to Latif Blessing passing to a wide-open Corey Baird at the far post, who buried it calmly. VAR checked to make sure Baird was onside, and he was.
But Houston scored off the ensuing kick-off, Tyler Pasher redirecting Fafa Picault’s shot past Sisniega in the 57th minute.
Just before Houston’s equalizer, Bob Bradley made his first substitution on the day, bringing in Jose Cifuentes for Opoku.
The game settled back into a choppy foulfest after the goals, neither team really able to put their imprint on the game.
Danny Musovski entered the game in the 76th minute for Mark-Anthony Kaye, with Cifuentes sliding back into the midfield line. Bradley’s final subs of the day were in the 85th minute, with Bryce Duke replacing Baird and Tristan Blackmon entering for Diego Palacios, who looked to be suffering from cramps.
I think this is a result that LAFC can feel was both fair and also somewhat disappointing. LAFC struggled on the road last year, and with Carlos Vela out again, they still weren’t at full strength, and we’re only three games into the season, etc. But even with a 60-40 edge in possession in a very rugged game, LAFC only put four shots on goal all day and their usual high volume of chances were not there. And since that is their bread and butter, being stymied like that has to be a concern. At the same time, it’s just one game and you aren’t always going to be flying every game, that’s just the reality of things. So I think they’ll take the point and look to get much better all around ahead of the next game.
Speaking of, LAFC will be on the road again next week, but not far from home, when they take on the LA Galaxy for the first time in 2021 next Saturday. We’ll have to see how the Galaxy do in their game this weekend, Sunday against the Seattle Sounders, but they no longer look like doormats, at the very least, and look like they could be very good. Time to step up for the black-and-gold!
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