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When big apple bites you: LAFC 1, NYCFC 2

LAFC lose lead, then lose game late.

MLS: New York City FC at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

LAFC took the lead at home, but fell apart late, as they lost 2-1 against 10-man New York City FC on Saturday at The Banc.

It was the third time this season LAFC took the lead in a game but dropped points in the end, but the first time they lost after leading earlier. The defensive mistakes are rearing their ugly head again as LAFC continue to struggle to open up the 2021 season.

Jose Cifuentes started in midfield for LAFC, with Latif Blessing going to the bench to begin the game, but the XI was otherwise what you would expect.

LAFC had a lot of the ball in the opening minutes, as is usually their preference, but they couldn’t find an early look on goal with NYCFC getting organized and compact in the back.

The home side had a great buildup in the 29th minute. Tristan Blackmon sent a low cross into the 6-yard box, but there was too much traffic. The ball bounced around, then got to Carlos Vela at the far post, but he had to make space and his shot ended up going wide.

But it was tough sledding for both teams in the first 45, with no great chances to break up a game that was largely played in the middle third and the flanks. They entered the locker rooms at the break tied 0-0.

LAFC finally found the breakthrough in the 56th minute, as Mark-Anthony Kaye’s low cross trickled through to Corey Baird at the far post, who had an easy tap-in in front of the North End to make it 1-0.

The hosts tried to push for a second goal, but NYCFC tied it up first, with Kaye intercepting a ball in LAFC’s box, trying to pass out of danger, but instead passing it directly to NYCFC’s Anton Tinnerholm, who passed it quickly to Jesus Medina, and his curling goal made no mistake in the 70th minute.

Bob Bradley made LAFC’s first changes right after that, with Blessing entering for Cifuentes, and Raheem Edwards replacing Baird.

LAFC had a gilt-edged chance in the 80th minute, as an errant pass out of the back by NYCFC GK Sean Johnson was intercepted by Vela, but he couldn’t get a good shot on the mark, as the star didn’t have his best day while working back to match fitness.

Ishmael Tajouri-Shradi had a shot from way downtown clang off the post for NYCFC in the dying minutes, and yet again there was little to distinguish the two teams in the game.

It appeared there was a stroke of luck for LAFC in the 86th minute, as Nicolas Acevedo picked up a red card on a tackle on Blessing and was sent off by referee Kevin Stott. Bradley then brought on Danny Musovski for Eduard Atuesta as LAFC chased a winner while up a man.

But it didn’t go according to plan, as NYCFC then scored on a corner in the 90th minute, Tajouri-Shradi getting a tap-in off a flick-on to give the visitors a shock 2-1 lead.

While I wouldn’t necessarily think about 10 minutes of playing up a man would automatically mean a winner for LAFC, conceding while down a man is kind of embarrassing, honestly. It turned out to be another game in which mistakes doomed them, and they took what should have been a win and turned it into a loss. They could probably use a break at this point, frankly.

LAFC get three weeks off from game action as some players will go on international duty, and then they’ll be back in action on Saturday, June 19 when they host the Houston Dynamo at The Banc. They were royally disappointed by the draw they got in Houston earlier this season, so we’ll see if the time off and change of venue helps them pick up a better result this time around.

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