LAFC went down once, then went ahead twice, but ultimately settled for a 3-3 draw against the LA Galaxy on Saturday at The Banc, as Brian Rodriguez’s banner day wasn’t quite enough to get the big rivalry win.
Despite a career-first brace from Rodriguez, LAFC once again dropped points and their winless streak is now eight games, in a game that surely entertained the neutrals but will leave LAFC supporters tearing their hair out.
Bob Bradley appeared to go back to a 4-3-3 formation for the game, with Cristian Arango starting in Carlos Vela’s place, the Mexican out for the day as expected.
Off the opening kickoff, Diego Rossi was tripped by Julian Araujo in the Galaxy’s box, but despite the immediate appeals from LAFC, the contact was admittedly light (though existent) and the referee waived the calls off.
LAFC thoroughly controlled play the first 15 minutes, but couldn’t get a good chance on goal, and then the Galaxy got back into the game. The visitors found paydirt in the 20th minute, as Araujo’s cross was misplayed by Jesus David Murillo in the box, and Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljić capitalized to score his first goal in MLS.
LAFC played the rest of the 1st half at sixes and sevens, but they got a lifeline in the 43rd minute, with Arango drawing a penalty as Niko Hämäläinen held him at the far post. Arango stepped up to take the spot kick and scored his first goal in MLS in somewhat nervy fashion.
The late goal to end the half helped LAFC substantially, as they went into the locker room for the break with their proverbial tails up. But the work was far from over, especially with LAFC seeking a win and the score at that point tied 1-1.
Tristan Blackmon made way at halftime for Kim Moon-hwan in LAFC’s lineup. The 2nd half started with end-to-end action, capped off with Tomas Romero making a terrific stop on Kevin Cabral’s floating header in the 52nd minute to keep the score tied.
Six minutes later, Rossi forced two separate saves on Jonathan Bond, before Rodriguez scored his most memorable goal to date for LAFC, his first since his return from his Spanish loan.
But that was not the last word, as the Galaxy scored again, again through Joveljić, in the 64th minute.
This match is always INSANE.— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) August 29, 2021
Dejan Joveljić with the finish from close range to get his second of the afternoon. pic.twitter.com/JRVKIgooOG
But LAFC weren’t deterred, and after Diego Palacios forced a stinging save from Bond, Rodriguez scored his second goal of the day in the 67th minute to make it 3-2 to the home side.
Just when it felt like LAFC would wrap things up and take all three points...you know what happened then, they conceded a Cabral goal in the 87th minute.
All in all, it was a very LAFC performance. They had some great goals, some terrible mistakes, an inability to hold onto a lead (repeatedly) but also a flair for fun and dramatic play. LAFC has seldom been boring in their history, and if nothing else, they certainly weren’t here. Still, they desperately need wins, and this game absolutely was there for the taking. This really does not seem to be their year, even when the attack is creating chances and scoring some of them.
It doesn’t get any easier, as LAFC will be back in action on Friday when they take on Sporting Kansas City, which has already beaten them twice so far in 2021. We’re officially entering panic zone for LAFC’s season, those of you on the fence need to hop off now.
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