LAFC One-Up Themselves With 6-1 Revenge Victory Over Vancouver Whitecaps
In the words of LAFC owner Will Ferrell, “Well that escalated quickly”.
Just when we thought that LAFC couldn’t do any better, they proved us wrong. Coming off an impressive 5-1 victory on the road midweek vs Sporting KC, the Black & Gold one-upped themselves and defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 6-1 to remain undefeated at Banc of California in 2019. Although the Whitecaps scored early and maintained a lead for the first 35 minutes of the match, LAFC’s offensive power was too much for Vancouver’s defense to handle as the Black & Gold responded with six unanswered goals. It was the first time in club history that saw the Black & Gold score that many goals in one game. On a night where LAFC had more possession of the ball, more shots on target and more passes by a wide margin, the term “dominant” comes to mind.
The necessary rotations due to the hectic upcoming schedule begun in this match as Bob Bradley excluded Jordan Harvey, Steven Beitashour and Latif Blessing from the starting XI. Dejan Jakovic, Mohamed El-Munir and Lee Nguyen all got the nod from Bradley to go from the start. In addition, Adama Diomande returned to the lineup in place of Christian Ramirez after missing the match in Colorado. Everything else was business as usual.
As opposed to the Kansas City match, LAFC returned to their possession-based football while creating goal scoring opportunities, making excellent defensive plays and regaining their sharpness on passing in the middle of the field.
Pablo Sisniega played his 5th match for the Black & Gold and had looked flawless in his first four appearances with amazing saves and good play with his feet. Just five minutes into the game, his decision-making was tested and unfortunately for Sisniega, he did not make the correct choice. Pablo came out of his box to clear an incoming long ball but the lack of communication between Dejan Jakovic and himself allowed Yordy Reyna to dribble around him for the opening goal. At the end of the day, it was a good learning moment for the young goalkeeper.
Corner Kicks: Double Dose Edition
The initial goal would be the Whitecaps’ only shot of the half as LAFC followed with 15 of their own as they tried everything to break a defensively organized Vancouver team. If it hadn’t been for crucial saves from the visitors’ goalkeeper along with the crossbar, LAFC would have completed the comeback quicker than what it turned out to be. However, there was never a feeling of frustration in the stadium as both the players and the fans knew it was a matter of time before the equalizer. The constant push in attack finally paid dividends through a set piece(s) late in the first half.
In almost identical fashion, Vela delivered two great crosses from a corner kick to the far post with Diomande lurking in the vicinity. Dio’s ability to be at the right place at the right time was evident as his presence awkwardly positioned his defender into hitting the ball into his own net. For the second corner kick, Dio was able to make contact with the ball as Vancouver’s goalkeeper eliminated himself from the play by failing to get a glove on the ball as Dio’s header gave his team the 2-1 lead. Considering how the first half played out, Vancouver was very fortunate to only be down by one goal. However, their luck would run out just seconds into the second half.
Football Clinic: Part 1
It took LAFC 35 minutes to get on the score board in the first half. It took them 1 minute in the second. Assisted by great movement from Diomande, Kaye dribbled from the midfield up to the top of the box and unleashed a venomous strike from distance that hit the crossbar before going in. It was only the beginning of an absolute football clinic displayed by the Black & Gold.
Just like in the first half, Sisniega’s decision making was tested once again in an almost identical situation from the opening goal. Pablo made the appropriate play this time around and topped it off with a couple of fantastic saves just minutes after Kaye’s goal. His services would not be required for the remainder of the match due to LAFC’s outstanding defensive efforts.
In the 54th minute, Vela’s favorite “amigo” Eduard Atuesta played a world-class 50-yard pass to the feet of the Mexican. Vela delicately controlled it with the outside of his left foot and dribbled into the box with a player to beat. The captain shimmied off his defender and struck the ball to the far post as it deflected off a Whitecaps’ defender into the back of the net. The chemistry between Atuesta and Vela continues to grow with LAFC as the primary beneficiary. 4-1 LAFC.
One-Up Themselves Again
In the 60th minute, Rodolfo Zelaya stepped onto the pitch of Banc of California for the first time with the Black & Gold jersey as the Salvadorian made his home debut replacing Diomande. Fito had enough time on the field to build chemistry with his teammates as he seemed more involved in attack than usual. As his fitness level improves, so will his game.
The most impressive goals for me were the fourth and the fifth, which came in a span of three minutes (69th and 72nd). Why? Both were team goals where the buildup to the goal was phenomenal. With the exception of Blackmon and Rossi, every player touched the ball in the 14-pass gem of a play that culminated in Vela scoring his 19th goal of the season in as many games. It was one of the most LAFC goals I had ever seen, or was it?
Just moments later, with the exception of Sisniega and Zelaya, every player touched the ball over the course of sixty seconds in the 19-pass masterpiece of a buildup play. Just when I thought that the Black & Gold couldn’t outdo themselves, they do just that. It was beautiful to see the exhibition of chemistry between the players before our eyes at the Banc. The remainder of the game was just players going through the motions waiting for the final whistle as LAFC finished the game full of confidence and most importantly, healthy. In the words of Lee Nguyen in the post-game conference, “It was a fun game to be part of”.