The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) came back to Banc of California Stadium to face FC Dallas, a team they were unable to defeat in their inaugural season.
LAFC was riding high after a 3-0 win on the road against the Columbus Crew, while FC Dallas was licking its wounds after back to back losses in their last two games.
The game was the precursor for a quick home and home series between the teams, as they would face off again Sunday in Dallas.
This was also an opportunity for LAFC to gain winners points after suffering a road loss and home tie last season.
The story of the first half was the dominant play of LAFC, for the second week in a row they did not allow one shot from the opposition for the entire first half.
Coach Bob Bradley appreciated the effort in his own way:
“They had a couple chances tonight so when you look at the score sheet that says no shots on goal, that’s a little misleading because they just missed the target a few times. There’s things there that we can do better, we also missed the target, we shoot over too much.”
Los Angeles outshot FC Dallas 14 to nothing and maintained constant pressure. LAFC’s captain Carlos Vela hit the woodwork twice. Once early on a free kick and then again from the box.
Like clockwork though Vela found the net in the 39th minute, he took a pass from midfielder Eduard Atuesta in the box and put a curling shot past FC Dallas goalkeeper Jose Luis Gonzalez.
For Vela it was his league leading 13th goal in 13 games and it started a MVP chant in the stadium. Something home supporters will likely cheer all year long.
Despite continued pressure, LAFC went into halftime only up 1-0.
FC Dallas pushed more to start the second half and finally got shots off but the LAFC defense clamped down. For the game FC Dallas had no shots on goal but Tyler Miller parried, punched, and scooped up everything in the box.
LAFC was finally able to add to their goal total in the 83rd minute when Adama Diomande caused a turnover and slipped a pass to Diego Rossi. Initially it was called offside, but the referee went to the VAR system to confirm the goal.
The most controversial moment of the game came late in stoppage time when FC Dallas defender Bressan took down Vela outside the box with a two-footed challenge. No call was made on the play that surely should have been a red and led to LAFC coach Bob Bradley giving the referee an earful at the final whistle.
Vela made his feelings known after the game:
“Football is a contact sport but I don’t say anything if it’s fair play or a 50-50 ball. But this case was not like that. That’s not a way to play. You have to be worried, not just for me but any other soccer player.”
The final play will surely be on everyone’s mind when the teams meet again this Sunday. It remains if LAFC can maintain their composure and come away with another three points.