The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) made record-breaking history in their 2-0 away win over Real Salt Lake. With their win, LAFC clinched a spot in the MLS playoffs, becoming the team to clinch a spot earliest in the season.
Carlos Vela, their captain scored his league-leading 24th goal in the season matched with his 15 assists he set a new record in MLS with for combined goals and assists at 39 and counting.
With a 13-point lead in the overall standings and nine weeks left in the season, Los Angeles is rolling to a likely Supporters Shield and will be poised for a great run in the MLS Cup playoffs.
Postgame coach Bob Bradley summed up his team’s success over the season:
“We play our football, teams have to try and stop us so we play our football every game, we believe in the way we play…”
This game against Salt Lake did have its ups and downs for LAFC. The first half saw Adama Diomande put on a great individual run in the 20th minute only to see his efforts wasted when his shot went off the post.
Another chance, this time a red card and penalty was taken away when VAR verified that no handball was perpetrated by the Salt Lake player. Halftime meant both teams failed to score in the first half.
To start the second half LAFC lost one of their best defenders in Walker Zimmerman when he was given his second yellow card of the game. Despite being down a man L.A. weathered the storm and were given a reprieve when Vela was brought down in the box by Aaron Herrera.
Herrera was given a straight red card negating Salt Lake’s advantage meaning it was 10 v 10 for the rest of the game. Vela calmly stepped up and scored his record-setting goal giving LAFC a 1-0 lead.
Vela’s amazing season continues to roll on as he will likely be named the Most Valuable Player of the league, his coach Bradley praised the captain afterward.
“So far it’s been amazing,” Bradley said after the game. “He’s scored goals. He’s set up goals. He’s also been a fantastic leader and continues to raise the bar for all his teammates.
With the game firmly in control, Diomande finally got the goal he was denied earlier in the game in the 82nd minute he scored the game-clinching goal.
With the three points in hand, there is no rest for Los Angeles as they face their California rivals San Jose Earthquakes mid-week before their home game “Clasico” against the LA Galaxy a team they still have not beaten.
For now, LAFC and their supporters should savor this win, this extraordinary team, and their superstar captain in Carlos Vela.