Gutsy performance in Salt Lake City
Two teams entered the Rio Tinto Stadium on fire. LAFC had won three games in a row. Real Salt Lake had won three games in a row and had been unbeaten since July 6. Something had to give in this game. And after two red cards and a lot of missed chances from both sides, LAFC still found a way to come up on top.
The Black & Gold went to Salt Lake City and once again, beat a plucky RSL squad 2-0. Goals from Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande saw LAFC steal all three points on the road to put them on 58 points after 25 games played.
Honestly, this game was pretty boring but was also fascinating at the same time. While no goals were scored in the first half, LAFC was not lacking the opportunities to score. Diomande had two amazing chances to put the ball into the net, but he missed one and the other hit the post. It wasn’t until the second half that the fireworks decided to come out.
After two red cards, one by Walker Zimmerman, which also ends up being LAFC’s first red card all season, and then a red card for Aaron Herrera for bringing down Vela in the box, LAFC was finally able to open up to get the ball into the net. If it wasn’t for Nick Rimando of RSL, LAFC would have easily scored at least one or two more times.
LAFC took advantage of the amount of space that RSL was giving them throughout the game. It was really impressive to see LAFC adjust to going to a man down and keeping their shape almost the entire time. There were a few hairy moments, but with the likes of Latif Blessing and Mark-Anthony Kaye, LAFC were able to make timely tackles that allowed them to remain level with Salt Lake.
But on the night that LAFC clinched a playoff spot, Vela ended up breaking a historic record. With his penalty goal, he now has the most combined goals and assists in a season in MLS history. With nine games left to go in the season. It’s amazing to watch how Vela elevates himself every game, but also the players around him.
Diomande was able to put the nail in the coffin with his eight goal of the year. It gave LAFC their eight road win of the year as well, which is already one better than all of last season. This team is legitimately on fire, which is great going into a big week. Hopefully, it gives the Black & Gold confidence moving forward, knowing that they can beat the hot teams, either at home or on the road.