The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) needed one win to send their 22,000-plus supporters happy and proclaim themselves best in the MLS. With a win in just their second season, LAFC would clinch their first trophy, the Supporters Shield given to the team with the most points in the MLS.
Nursing a five-game winless streak and facing the Houston Dynamo, LAFC played their game dominating ball possession and putting the ball in the back of the net to win the game 3-1.
The win set off celebrations as the team lifted the Supporters Shield in front of the LAFC Supporters Group The 3252. The winless streak washed away in a sea of champagne and chanting both on the field and in the locker room.
Coach Bob Bradley reflected on his team’s accomplishment post-game:
“The first trophy for this club, I’m proud of all of us. It was great that we could do it here. Obviously, what we pride ourselves on is that this club, which is only in its second year, has a real connection with supporters, a connection with this city, and we’ve always tried to have a team that everybody could feel a part of.”
Captain of the team Carlos Vela who scored his 30th of the season becoming just the second person in MLS history to score 30 goals in a season also reflected on LAFC’s achievement:
“When I’ve said that I came here to do something special, tonight is the big night for us. We worked really hard for this moment. We’re proud of the whole team. I hope this is just the beginning of something really cool.”
As Vela noted the team still has bigger ambitions but clinching their first trophy was the goal of the team from the outset of the game.
LAFC asserted themselves early in the game and put pressure on the Dynamo backline. They would be rewarded for their efforts when Brian Rodriguez was brought down in the box in the 23rd minute.
Up stepped up Vela to bury his 30th goal leaving him one goal from tying Josef Martinez’s record 31 from last season.
It has been habit lately that LAFC falter early in the game and this game was no different. Five minutes after scoring LAFC gave up the equalizer on an own goal from Tyler Miller when he misplayed a corner kick and in the ensuing scramble kicked it into his own girl.
LAFC was not trying to get another draw and after halftime, the team kept pressing for goals.
In the 70th minute off a rebound, Diego Rossi headed the ball into the net setting off a thunderous celebration as LAFC took the lead and got closer to a trophy.
The final blow was struck by Eduard Atuesta in the 83rd minute on a free kick that sealed the game, trophy, and history.
With their first trophy, secured defender Steven Beitashour reminded everyone what will fuel the team this season:
“I know we haven’t won in the playoffs yet so that’s why we just want to get back there and that’s why you saw us demolish so many teams because we were just so fueled.”
There is still more to go for this team but for one night in the heart of Los Angeles a soccer team in front of their black and gold supporters raised a trophy to the heavens and became champions.