If there was an “LAFC Player of the Week” award, the winner from this past week would surely have to be forward Danny Musovski.
Fresh off a productive game on Wednesday in U.S. Open Cup action against Orange County SC, in which he scored two goals and an assist in a 5-1 romp, Musovski came off the bench on Sunday and fired home the winning goal to give LAFC the 2-1 victory in league play over FC Cincinnati.
Musovski’s winner means a substitute has scored the game-winner two MLS games in a row for LAFC, after Ismael Tajouri-Shradi did the same last weekend against Sporting Kansas City. And while LAFC once again had to claw back into the game after conceding just before halftime, head coach Steve Cherundolo needed to light a fire under his players after a lethargic opening 45 in Cincinnati.
“I challenged the group at half and said you’ve dug yourself a hole, now get yourselves out and they did,” Cherundolo told reporters after the game. “Not in the way we wanted to but they did, they found answers. And as a coach solutions are what matters and maybe not the solution itself but as long as they’re finding solutions, then I’m a happy camper.”
Musovski echoed his coach’s sentiments in the turnaround.
“I just think the first half we were just a little bit slow on build up and on pressing them and Steve pretty much just voiced that at halftime, just said that it wasn’t good enough, that it wasn’t to the standard that we need to be at and just showed us tactically where we need to be. And I think everybody else responded really well with the adjustments and then by the time I got into the game, I feel like the adjustment in the mindset had shifted. So I think Steve did a really good job making that clear to everybody and then I think everybody just did well to pull through and get the win,” said the striker.
While it was a fantastic week individually for Musovski, he downplayed the potential launchpad from Wednesday’s Open Cup game to this one.
“As a striker if you score it gives you confidence but I mean to me I wasn’t thinking too much about it,” he said. “It’s a new game. I don’t like to think too much about the past and what I’ve done, I like to just look forward, on to the next game. I mean, I’m sure it helped but I think this game I just came in with a fresh mindset and just knowing the situation of the game that was tied 1-1 and I was coming into the game. I just had it in my head that I wanted to get the assist or the winner and we win the game.”
In his first season at the helm, Cherundolo has had a knack in the early season for getting production from the bench. In fact, they have matched a club record in terms of production from the bench in a season.
Danny Musovski buries his first chance off the bench into the top left corner to put LAFC up 2-1 in Cincinnati! It's his 10th MLS goal of his career.— Justin (@JSRFootball) April 24, 2022
This is the sixth goal by an #LAFC substitute this season, equalling a club record only eight games into the season! pic.twitter.com/rWcTAHEAHw
“The bench every week it seems to be different players and we have been rotating a lot,” noted Cherundolo. “The bench this season has been fantastic. That would speak for a deep roster and all of the good work in the offseason from the front office, from John [Thorrington] and Will [Kuntz] and the rest of scouting as well as the coaching staff, Ante [Razov] and Marc [Dos Santos]. A really good effort on everybody’s part at LAFC to put us in that situation, to change the momentum of games at half if need be, or late in the second half with subs. So it’s a problem I love to have. The more the better.”
For Musovski, LAFC’s first trip to Cincinnati was a treat, as the loyal FC Cincy fans, who’ve seen a ton of bad times the last few years, made it a memorable day for even the road team.
“I think anytime you could score a game-winning goal that’s a special feeling as a player and to do it here today and it was an awesome environment. I think Cincy brings a lot of good fans to their stadium. I always saw their stadium and saw their fans and I thought ‘Man, it’d be really fun to play there.’ So it’s a really cool feeling for me to be able to score here,” he said.
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