It was a day for clinching when LAFC took the field for their final road match of the season — as they have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs — with both the visitors and home side Portland Timbers able to clinch their respective goals with wins. For the home side, they would clinch one of the final spots up for grabs for playoff contention. A loss would mean some decision day drama and needing some help elsewhere. For LAFC, a win would secure them their second Supporters’ Shield in team history as they look to go into the postseason with even more momentum, looking to secure their first-ever MLS Cup.
The first half was a really tame first half when considering the matchup. Sure, there were a combined 14 fouls just in the first half, but zero yellow or red cards. More importantly, zero goals for either side. The half ended split, with LAFC keeping just over 50% possession, and putting on five shots with four on target. Timbers also had five shots in the first half, but only three found the target. With a win securing something of value for both sides, the second half was shaping up to be a wild one where we would likely get a lot more chances taken.
In the 51st minute, El Rey did what he does better than anyone, he stepped up in the biggest moment. Receiving the ball from about 20 yards from goal, Vela put a couple moves on the defender to open up just a sliver of space. A sliver he used to unload a rocket-fueled strike right at the keeper who got a hand on it, but wasn't stopping it from going in and giving LAFC the lead.
Portland woke up after conceding that goal, and shifted their attack up a few gears as they began to pepper the goal in search of the equalizer. They got their goal late in the second half, courtesy of a Dairon Asprilla glancing header.
It's October. Who else is going to score?— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 2, 2022
Dairon Asprilla levels it! 1-1! pic.twitter.com/SaeCGv1sAI
Just when it looked like LAFC would have to wait until the regular season finale to secure the Supporters’ Shield, Denis Bouanga broke free enough, then broke a defender, and got just enough on the shot to get past the second defender, and past the keeper for the match, and Supporters’ Shield winning, debut goal.
The win also snapped a poor run of form on the road for the black-and-gold. Now, the team can go into the regular season finale not worried about a single thing. Playoffs locked up, Conference already won, first-round bye with home field advantage throughout, and now a piece of silverware to take with them into the postseason. Job’s not done, but for now, the celebrations of what has been an incredible regular season, can be enjoyed.
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