LAFC returned following a two-week break in action on Saturday with one of their toughest fixtures of the regular season on tap, against the Seattle Sounders at Lumen Field in Seattle. In the end, LAFC went down but came back to earn a 1-1 draw.
To kick off the game, Carlos Vela and Mamadou Fall were on the bench to begin, with Danny Musovski and Sebastien Ibeagha starting in their spots. Brian Rodriguez, not listed on the injury report, was not in the squad at all for the black-and-gold on the day.
The game was pretty cagey to begin, with both teams trying to find weak spots on their opponent while also staying stout themselves. The proceedings were pretty even through 20 minutes, but Seattle started to find some purchase in the LAFC box from there. While the Sounders got more purchase on the ball from there, Kwadwo Opoku had a point-blank shot in the 28th minute that forced a save from Sounders GK Stefan Frei, the best chance of the game to that point.
About 10 minutes later, Jose Cifuentes tested Frei again, but his curler from outside the box didn’t have quite enough curl to fool the Sounders’ ‘keeper.
The teams went into the halftime break scoreless, deadlocked on total shots, six apiece, but with LAFC with an edge in shots on target, four to one. Credit to LAFC for getting some chances, but no paydirt in the first 45.
Vela entered the fray to begin the 2nd half, taking the place of Opoku in LAFC’s lineup. But the Sounders had far more initiative to open the restart and as a result did a very good job of holding onto the ball, stifling LAFC’s chances.
And it paid off for Seattle in the 58th minute, as Albert Rusnak intercepted a pass from Maxime Crepeau and jammed it back down the LAFC GK’s throat to give the Sounders a 1-0 lead.
Honestly, that mistake was on Crepeau for not seeing the danger in the Sounders ready to pick off that pass in a bad spot.
LAFC should have scored as it hit the 64th minute, with Ryan Hollingshead forcing a good save from Frei before Cristian Arango latched onto the rebound, looking like a goal was imminent, but Frei made the stop on the goal line to frustrate the visitors once more.
Steve Cherundolo opted to look for a spark by bringing in Franco Escobar and Kellyn Acosta, for Hollingshead and Latif Blessing in the 65th minute. Danny Trejo, on a short-term loan from Las Vegas Lights FC, then made his debut for LAFC off the bench in the 75th minute in place of Danny Musovski.
LAFC finally got their breakthrough in the 79th minute, with Arango heading past Frei on a looping ball, set up from Trejo’s headed flick-on against the grain, making it 1-1.
Francisco Ginella entered the match immediately after LAFC’s goal, for Cifuentes, and then there was a contentious foul immediately after between Cristian Roldan and Arango that led to both teams confronting the referee.
The game was chippy to finish things up from there, and neither team found enough rhythm to test the respective goals in the dying minutes. All things considered, a draw was a fair result considering it was a pretty even game, LAFC putting more shots on target overall but the Sounders holding an edge in actual speculative chances on the day.
For the Supporters’ Shield leaders, any time they don’t win it has to be a bit concerning but I think the Sounders remain one of the top, top teams in the league, and considering LAFC’s checkered history in Seattle the past couple years, grabbing a draw, especially in coming back to get the point, is solid. Could it have been better? Yes, LAFC weren’t at their best, but neither were the Sounders. This game was there for the taking for both teams, but credit to them both, because they both played smart in defense, minus one breakdown apiece.
LAFC are back home for their next game, Sunday, June 26 against the New York Red Bulls. That team plays radically different and it should therefore be a good test for LAFC.
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