After two tough defeats against the LA Galaxy and Atlanta United, LAFC returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win vs. Vancouver Whitecaps.
With rookie Joao Moutinho suspended, manager Bob Bradley gave a start to left-back Jordan Harvey, who played for the home side last season and was given a hero’s welcome after his service to the Whitecaps.
Right-back Steve Beitashour also enjoyed a stint with the Cascadia side.
Per usual, LAFC had another good start to the first half. They broke up play and they threatened Vancouver’s goal constantly.
They dominated in the chance department. They had 8 shots in the first half, which is hefty for an away side.
While it wasn’t a flashy performance like we saw against Real Salt Lake and the first half vs. LA Galaxy, they managed to break the deadlock in the second half as Marco Ureña found Carlos Vela at the edge of the box and the Mexican international hit a curler past the outstretched arm of Whitecaps’ keeper Stefan Marinovic in the 59th minute.
They made it 2-0 in the 70th minute as Diego Rossi hit home a loose ball in the box through the wickets of Marinovic.
The scoreline would stay the same as the away side claimed all three points to make it three wins from five on the road.
1. The introduction of a back three
If there was anything that stood out from this win, it was Bob Bradley’s introduction of a back three that consisted of Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman, and Dejan Jackovic.
From the off, it signaled that LAFC seeked to dominate the midfield as this allowed Harvey and Beitashour to push further up the pitch and contribute in the attack.
While the Whitecaps had good looks on goal, the home side had a hard time dealing with LAFC’s tactical shift.
This also allowed Rossi and Vela to drift in the middle to break down the Whitecaps’ defense, drifting out wide when they needed to as well.
With the success of the tactical switch, Bradley has another trick up his sleeve this season to give his side another advantage as they look to move up the table.
2. Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela continue to impress
If there are story lines to grasp onto this season, one of them is the success of LAFC forwards Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela.
Both forwards have contributed eight of LAFC’s 11 goals this season.
Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi score as @LAFC defeat Vancouver 2-0.
Rossi is the only player in #MLS this season with 4 goals and 4 assists. Both Vela and Rossi have 4 goals, tied for second in the Golden Boot standings — they have combined for 8 of LAFC’s 11 goals this season
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) April 14, 2018
They have also struck up an understanding on the pitch as well as both forwards know where the other is moving at all times.
It was much of the same Friday, albeit not at the same devastation as we’ve seen this season. Rossi and Vela found themselves in threatening positions. They scored both LAFC goals as they are slowly becoming the MLS’s dynamic duo.
Man of the Match: Mark-Anthony Kaye
While LAFC’s forwards impressed, the man of the match honor has to go to central midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye.
The former Louisville City man provided protection to the back three as he stifled Vancouver attacks and contributed offensively as well. His composure on the ball was nothing short of quality.
He could have got himself a goal as he fired a missile at Marinovic in the 38th minute.
The rapid rise of Kaye is not only a victory for LAFC, but a victory for the USL as well. Kaye has shown that there can be gems in the second division of United States soccer if given the chance to shine. Bob Bradley and co. have a lot to thank Louisville City for in terms of developing the young Canadian international.
LAFC will look to win their fourth away game this season as they travel to Montreal to take on the Impact on April 21.
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