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LAFC Host Toronto FC and get Another Draw

LAFC Toronto FC
Referee making his was to VAR as LAFC and Toronto FC players await | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | September 21, 2019

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) returned home after a two-game East coast swing that saw their winless streak go up to four games.

Los Angeles was taking on Toronto FC who were trying to clinch a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win. In the end both teams would have to settle for a draw.

LAFC was without forward Adama Diomande in the starting eleven after he voluntarily entered into MLS’ substance abuse and behavioral health program. This elevated Brian Rodriguez, the supporters also got Captain Carlos Vela who was still out with a hamstring injury their last home game.

LAFC winger Brian Rodriguez attempting of getting the ball past Toronto FC keeper Quentin Westberg | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | September 21, 2019

The once impregnable backline of LAFC once again got off to a rough start, in the 19th minute Toronto went up 1-0 on a goal by Tsubasa Endoh. LAFC turned the ball over in their own end and Jozy Altidore found Endoh in the box who beat LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller low.

It was the fourth of five games in which LAFC conceded the opening goal and in the other game they conceded an equalizer off the ensuing kickoff.

LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller watching Tsubasa Endoh’s (Toronto FC) shot head into the goal for the 1-0 score | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | September 21, 2019

LAFC tried to maintain pressure but were constantly thwarted by the Toronto backline’s ability to clamp down on passing and shooting lanes. The first half ended with LAFC down 0-1.

Coach Bob Bradley acknowledged his team’s flaws in the first half: “Two very different halves. First half I thought we were slow to step up, slow to close down, second to balls and if you do that against Toronto where now they can spread you out and start to control the tempo of the game, that was clear.”

Carlos Vela (LAFC) going body-to-body with Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC) | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | September 21, 2019

The second half was different as LAFC pushed forward outshooting Toronto 4-0, but they still couldn’t get the equalizer. In late stoppage time in the 95th minute L.A. caught a break when Latif Blessing was brought down in the box when he collided with a defender.

The referee didn’t call it initially but it was confirmed by VAR, Vela stepped up and calmly slotted his league-leading 29th goal of the season to equalize the game at the end.

Bradley summed his feelings on the team’s latest draw: “A few moments when I think our ideas were good, as always a few moments where I think we just missed the right pass or the timing of the play and the penalty at the end makes it a 1-1 game where probably neither team is completely happy.”

LAFC needed another comeback but they’ve now gone five games without a win and their frustration is mounting, they’ll have to channel that energy as they have a mid-week game against the Houston Dynamo.

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