Ureña Nets 1st Goal of the Season but LAFC Draw At Home vs. Revs
27 days had gone by since LAFC last played a home match at Banc of California Stadium. Since then, the team had gotten a couple of good results on the road by drawing with rivals LA Galaxy and beating defending champions Toronto FC in Canada. It was time for the 3252 to fill the North End with their deafening chants, heart-thumping drums and celebratory beer showers.
Mexican Independence Day was over the weekend and what better way to celebrate El Grito than with a scream of GOOOL! Despite the big boxing fight (Canelo vs GGG 2) being on the same night at the same time, the fans did not let their team down. 22,000 people filled the Banc to capacity and showed just how much more soccer and the club means to them than any other sporting event. It was amazing to see all the support from the Mexican community on such a historic night.
LAFC hosted New England Revolution in their first-ever meeting in a match that served as Bob Bradley’s 300th MLS career game, the first home game without Laurent Ciman and the first home game with Carlos Vela as team captain. It was somewhat the beginning of a new-era in an expansion team, which was already strange. Nonetheless, LAFC came out with their strongest starting XI and displayed superiority in the first half.
In the 20th minute, Carlos Vela hit a perfect through ball between the two center-backs and the run of Marco Ureña. The pass left the Costa Rica international 1-on-1 against the defender with the goalkeeper to beat. Unfortunately, Ureña’sleft-footed shot lacked power and slowly drifted wide of the goal. It was a good effort but it needed to be better.
Ureña would get a second chance in the 45th minute after making a good run towards the goal. Lee Nguyen served a peach of a pass to Ureña who was once again in the same situation as the previous play. This time, Ureña got some real power on his left-footed shot but it lacked placement and it allowed the goalie to make the save.
Diego Rossi had a chance to score before the half after getting a curving long pass from Walker Zimmerman down the left side. Rossi dribbled the ball for about 20 yards at full speed all the way into the box. With Ureña begging for it at the penalty spot, Rossi opted for the limited-angle shot and forced yet another save from the New England goalkeeper.
1-0 at the break.
Five minutes into the second half, Ureña would get his third chance to score. After several rebounds inside the box, the ball fell to Rossi who set up Ureña with a soft pass. The forward’s right-footed strike was en-route to the goal before deflecting off the defender into the back of the net. Third time’s the charm.
The next 30 minutes of the match was the Tyler Miller show.
New England started a revolution after the goal and attacked LAFC with full force. The defense was getting beat on speed to the ball as well as in the air. Defenders were out of position and were having trouble clearing the ball out of danger. All this led to Tyler Miller needing to make 5 amazing, spectacular saves that prevented disaster for LAFC. With defenders ball watching, Miller was finally beat and New England tied it up in the 80thminute.
LAFC had let another lead get away in the final 15 minutes of a game for the 8th time this season. Yes, the 8th time.
Needless to say that New England was inches away from the game winner when a shot of theirs hit the post in the 90th minute. Three minutes later, in the final play of the game, Vela had a free kick on the right side of the box. He curled a perfect pass to the head of Danilo Silva, who only needed to tap it in from two yards out. In what could’ve been a perfect ending, the header went wide of the goal and the game ended.
The match was tough for LAFC due to New England not allowing them to play fluent soccer by committing a brutal number of 27 fouls. It is very difficult to get a rhythm going with teams using the foul as their main defending mechanism. At the same time, LAFC have dropped so many points this season due to not being able to hold a lead in the final 15 minutes. It happened again versus New England. Bradley needs to continue working hard and make sure this does not happen anymore, especially in the playoffs.
With this result, LAFC remained in 3rd place of the Western Conference and are only four points behind 1st place. In addition, the team extended their unbeaten streak to five games and still only has 1 loss at home this season. It was good to see Ureña get his first goal in league play and Rossi get his team-leading 6th assist of the year.
With only 6 games remaining in the regular season, LAFC will play 3 of them at home. The next match versus San Jose (the worst team in the league) will be at Banc of California Stadium and should be a win on paper, but LAFC cannot get too confident and underestimate the Earthquakes. In addition, along with building his confidence with a goal versus the Revs, Marco Ureña will play his former team and should have a little extra motivation to get on the score sheet again to help his team win.
September 18, 2018
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