LAFC Dominate Seattle With 4-1 Win
LAFC Dominate Seattle With 4-1 Win
By: Benjamin Virgen (4/22/2019)
There’s no place like home.
LAFC extended their winning streak to five games at Banc of California Stadium with a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders as well as handing them their first loss of the season. The Black & Gold showed superiority for most of the match by capitalizing on the chances created but also neutralizing their opponent’s most dangerous players. Including the results from last year, LAFC are now 3-0 vs Seattle in league play. Carlos Vela continued to make a case for himself in the MVP race by adding two more goals to his name and bringing his total to ten. Mark-Anthony also had himself quite the game with three assists but it was his overall play that impressed teammates and head coach Bob Bradley the most. With this result, LAFC remain in 1st place of the Western Conference with the highest-scoring offense and a defense that has allowed the fewest goals in the league. In a match where Los Angeles Football Club dominated from start to finish against a very good team in Seattle, there was no question who was the best team in MLS after the final whistle.
There was no surprise as to the start of the game as LAFC took initiative in attacking Seattle through the feet of Vela from the beginning. During the first ten minutes of the match, Mark-Anthony Kaye made his mark (no pun intended) on the game and subsequently on the scoreboard. Already having control of the midfield and with a few chances created, Kaye received the ball from Atuesta in the center circle and with a change of pace, the Canadian created a lane for himself. That lane would lead Kaye to find Vela between two defenders at the top of the box and with great control, the Mexican would “toe-poke” it past Stefan Frei for the opening goal. Over the next 30 minutes, the game would be played in the middle of the pitch with LAFC still creating scoring opportunities but mostly neutralizing any creativity from Nicolas Lodeiro and nullifying left-back Brad Smith from getting forward. Whether it was Vela dropping back to help in defense or one of the midfielders sliding over to prevent the Sounders from getting into rhythm, there was always an LAFC player pressuring the ball in the right moments.
In the 38th minute, Lodeiro attempted to play a pass to Jordan Morris as his team was building from its own half. However, Kaye closed down the avenue and intercepted the pass as it fell to the feet of Atuesta. The Colombian midfielder then dribbled the ball with composure, shook off one defender and with Vela dragging one defender to the right, struck the ball sweetly with his right foot to the far post for the second goal of the match. Vela would have a chance to make it 3-0 before the half after a great pass from Christian Ramirez that left Vela 1-on-1 with Frei but the goalkeeper blocked his shot to keep Seattle within two goals.
The locker room break gave the Sounders a chance to regroup as they seemed to be more in sync with one another to begin the second half. It did not take them long to get on the board when just five minutes into the half, several Seattle players connected with one-touch passing that ended in Harry Shipp finishing past Tyler Miler for the goal. Just five minutes later, Vela got his brace after receiving an exceptional through ball from Atuesta and dribbling around Frei before passing the ball into the back of the net. The reaction from LAFC after getting scored on was admirable and they never looked back after that.
Christian Ramirez had been criticized for his poor play as of late due to his lack of participation in the attack. After a decent performance in the first half, Ramirez came out of his shell and blossomed into the national team quality player we know he can be. The American created separation between himself and his defender before playing a give-and-go with Kaye that left Ramirez with only the goalkeeper to beat. He calmly finished the play with a goal but the fact that Ramirez back-heeled the pass to Kaye showed a player with confidence that we had not seen in quite some time. The Black & Gold showed no mercy and gave no chance of a comeback to Seattle in displaying the killer instinct that all great teams should have.
The game was over after Ramirez scored the fourth goal as Seattle’s head coach removed his regular starters from the field with 30 minutes remaining in a sign of resignation. LAFC did not allow the Sounders to get back in the game at any point and simply controlled the tempo of the match by keeping possession of the ball. On a side note, it was very nice to see Lee Nguyen get back on the pitch for the first time since Week 2 as he played the last ten minutes of the game.
LAFC displayed complete dominance over a team that came into the match undefeated and scored 4 goals against a side that had only allowed 5 all season. In addition to neutralizing Seattle’s most dangerous weapons, LAFC’s midfield was sharper than ever in crucial moments with counter-pressing attack and precise passing in key areas of the field. With a rematch only 6 days away, it will be interesting to see if the Black & Gold can repeat a performance like yesterday’s in Seattle’s turf field.
Follow me on Twitter @lafcbenjamin to talk LAFC, ask questions or send comments. Thank you for reading and Stay Golden!