Nothing marks the return to U.S. Open Cup action for LAFC, like a match against the Portland Timbers. For the third time in as many years competing in the tournament, the black and gold faced off against their Western Conference rivals. After getting the upper hand in their first meeting (2018), LAFC lost to the Timbers in their second meeting, during the record-breaking 2019 season. Both matches were decided by just a goal, so this was a match set to be close, physical, but one LAFC definitely wanted to win. They did so, in style, coming away with the 2-0 victory at home, once again, defending The Banc.
While there were a couple of changes made to the squad from the past weekend, most of the regular starting XI remained the same. Carlos Vela and Kellyn Acosta started the match on the bench. LAFC started the first half strong with several close looks at goal, but unable to convert those chances.
That all changed in the 32nd minute of the match when Chicho Arango got on the end of one of the prettiest build-ups you will ever see. Mamadou Fall waited for the perfect moment, sent Mahala on the run down the wing, he sent in a perfect low pass with just enough pace on it to allow Arango to pull off a cheeky back-heel finish and the lead.
This was the only goal scored in the first half, and honestly, I don't blame either side for being unable to follow that up. It was a moment of brilliance only possible after several smaller, but just as impactful, moments of brilliance. In all honesty, it might have been the most impressive team-goal LAFC has scored all season.
Mamadou Fall continued to make fans of everyone who's ever laid eyes on him during a match, as he decided to get on the scoring end this time. Starting the second half off with a bang, the defender nearly scored moments before actually scoring on a corner kick. Just to show us how good he is, he put in the goal with his “weaker” left-foot.
Fall’s goal would be enough to help LAFC secure their first win over Portland in six matches played across all competitions, with their last win over the Timbers coming in September 2020, in a 4-2 victory at home. With the win LAFC advance to the Round of 16, inching closer to adding some hardware for the cabinets at The Banc. They will find out their opponent for the next round this Thursday, when the U.S. Open Cup draw takes place. This weekend, the team continue MLS action with a trip to Colorado, facing the Rapids, who will undoubtedly be looking to avenge the opening day loss. As for tonight, let me leave you with this picture of Mamadou Fall, celebrating with the fans after his goal to seal the victory.
It's spring in the Northern Hemisphere but Fall in the North End. pic.twitter.com/k0CNd1jJAf— LAFC (@LAFC) May 11, 2022
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