The Los Angeles Football Club came into their game with Minnesota United with a chance to clinch first place in the Western Conference for the MLS Playoffs. A win guaranteed LAFC would have a bye for the first round and home-field advantage in the Western Conference during the playoffs.
LAFC was going to have to win without their captain and likely league MVP Carlos Vela who suffered a hamstring injury during LAFC’s last game against the LA Galaxy.
LAFC had their 13-game home unbeaten streak snapped losing 0-2 to Minnesota thanks to two great shots from Mason Toye. LAFC never recovered and could not find the breakthrough against the disciplined Minnesota defense.
Postgame Coach Bob Bradley acknowledged the absence of Vela stating:
“We all know that Carlos [Vela] is an important guy in our attack, with goals, and the assists, and just the number of ways that he can create chances. But, this kind of game happens around the world on a lot of days and in a lot of places.
Vela is the engine that drives the offense but both of Toye’s goals were on the defense. The first one came in the 25th minute on a turnover that Toye took to the box and beat LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega from an acute angle.
The second Toye goal again fell at the defense’s feet as he found himself in 1 v. 1 situation outside the box before unleashing a thunderous shot that beat Sisniega top left.
LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman acknowledged LAFC’s defensive shortcomings:
“We’re put in situations where you’re in 1-vs-1 a lot of times. It takes a group effort for everyone to recover. That’s part of the deal is to slow them down, get everyone behind the ball. But we’re not going to change the way we do things. It’s been extremely successful for us all season long, but we do look at this game and the last game and see how the goals came and know that we need to be sharper in that aspect of what we’ve been so good at all year.”
LAFC didn’t score but it wasn’t for lack of trying, they maintained possession for 77-percent of the game, were accurate on 87-percent of their passes and put eight shots on target.
It didn’t matter, the Minnesota backline would not breakdown and their goalkeeper Vito Mannone stopped every shot.
Moving forward LAFC needs only two points to clinch the top spot in the West. There will be better games and it starts in Orlando on Saturday.