Sunday night was almost more celebration than match for LAFC. Coming into the match, they had the luxury of having everything already taken care of. Winning the Western Conference, check. Locking in a spot for 2023 Concacaf Champions League, check. Regain control of the race for the Supporter’s Shield, double check. Of course, the Shield is the only bit of business left for LAFC this regular season, and a win at home against a pesky Houston Dynamo side would put them further in the driver's seat.
One of the biggest problems for the black and gold during their slump, has been the inability to score early, while simultaneously allowing early goals at times. This time, the team came out putting on pressure early, and in the seventh minute, they were able to draw a penalty. Who else but Carlos Vela stepped up to the spot, and as he's done so many times before, slammed home the penalty attempt to put LAFC in front early.
Remember how I mentioned Houston was pesky? Well, in the 24th minute they showed exactly why. Corey Baird, former LAFC player, found space on a run and was rewarded with the ball on a nice pass. Baird put it past Crépeau and did his celebrating on the inside as he didn't celebrate outwardly in front of his old squad.
LAFC would get a chance before the end of the half to retake the lead when Houston got called for a handball in the box. After a very quick trip to the video booth, the referee pointed to the spot and awarded LAFC their second penalty of the half. Again, it was Vela who stepped up and put it home to give the home side the 2-1 lead going into the halftime break.
If you had a defender scoring the first open-play goal for LAFC, then congratulations you should probably go buy a lottery ticket because after two penalty conversions LAFC got a third goal early in the second half. A blocked shot attempt deflected its way to the feet of defender, Ryan Hollingshead, who put a filthy move on his fellow defender, and got enough space to slam home a shot that would make a forward shed tears of joy.
Three goals was more than enough on the night for the three points as the squad wrapped up the win at home. The win proved just how important home field is for LAFC, and just how much of an advantage it is having the 3252 behind you. After snapping a three match losing streak with a shutout win at home, the team snap a short two match winless run this time, with another strong performance at home. It’s a great thing the team have locked up the top seed which comes with a first-round bye as well as home field advantage.
Before the playoffs start, the team have to close out the last two matches of the season if they want to add to the trophy case before the postseason begins. It will be a while before the season wraps up, as we head into the last International break ahead of the 2022 World Cup this Fall. The team will be back on the pitch, on the road, October 2nd when they face off against Portland Timbers.
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