After a brief trip East, it was back home in the best coast for LAFC. This time, it was Minnesota United to pay visit to the fortress that is Banc of California. Minnesota wouldn't be easy despite their middling position in the Western Conference, coming into this match having won three straight. In the last three matches they’ve only allowed one goal as well, setting this matchup up to be a bit of a defensive battle. Despite a tough defense, LAFC fought until the end and needed 83 minutes before finding the winner in a 1-0 victory at home.
Minnesota’s ability to defend was on display from kickoff, as they proved a tough wall to break through the first 15 minutes of the match. LAFC did well to keep possession, and find space to begin an attack, but Minnesota did extremely well closing down and filling up any holes in the defense.
When they couldn't break down the defense enough to get a great look close, LAFC started going for bangers only. Though, in fairness, they weren't bad or desperate attempts, just longer shots than we’ve seen. In particular, Chicho Arango and Kellyn Acosta had attempts from outside there box that nearly found their way into the back of the net.
Both sides went into the halftime break without any goals scored. LAFC finished the first half with more shots (7) but only two of those shots were on target. It was clear in the first half that it would take a lot to break down that Minnesota defense. Luckily the black and gold had the talent to do so, and 45 minutes to try and find the winning goal at home.
The visitors came out slightly more attack-minded in the second half, coming close to the opening goal on several occasions shortly after the restart. The best chance came from Robin Lod who received a perfect cross in the box, but scuffed the final shot despite being wide open. sending it over the crossbar and keeping the match scoreless. The more open attack from Minnesota meant more chances for LAFC to find their rhythm on the counter-attack.
As if to prove the sport is cruel for everyone, and nobody will see happiness most days, LAFC got a taste of the same shortly after. Mahala Opoku found himself alone in the box with a wide-open chance to take the lead, and he too sent his shot flying over the crossbar.
It took 83 minutes, but eventually the black and gold were able to break through the tough Minnesota defense. A corner kick was put into the box beautifully, and while the initial attempt wasn’t a threat, it fell to Ryan Hollingshead who is a threat, and proved it. He took the shot without a touch and put it into the net for the late lead.
With the blueprint in hand, LAFC made sure to secure the three points and just minutes later were able to double their lead. Jose Cifuentes made great run into the box that was rewarded, and he took full advantage of the pass, flicking it into the net near-post for the goal.
The win at home keeps LAFC atop the Western Conference and in control of the race for the Supporter’s Shield. The victory extends the team's win streak to four matches as they continue their hot start to the season. LAFC will have their hands full their next time out as they remain at home, hosting the Eastern Conference leaders, Philadelphia Union.
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