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LAFC: Nil Draw with Chicago Fire

LAFC Chicago Fire
LAFC vs Chicago Fire | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation | May 4, 2019

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) returned home and found themselves playing a new team after two intense weeks playing a home and away series against the Seattle Sounders.

Their opponents the Chicago Fire came in limping after consecutive losses in their last two games. Meanwhile LAFC was looking to maintain their five game home winning streak alive.

LAFC left-back Jordan Harvey defending Chicago Fire midfielder Aleksandar Katai | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation | May 4, 2019

In what was probably their most disappointing home game in quite some time LAFC settled for a 0-0 tie. It’s their second goalless game in their last four games. It was also the third game in four matches where LAFC failed to secure the winners points.

Coach Bob Bradley summed up his team’s struggles:

“I thought we created a couple of good chances off of set pieces that we just didn’t take advantage of. Sometimes on a night like tonight, the set piece becomes a way to open the door. We had moments where I thought that could’ve happened but we didn’t quite do well enough with the header in most cases.”

For the second week in a row despite having great advantages and putting pressure on the opposition, LAFC again failed to capitalize. Their best chance occurred over a 10-minute sequence in the first half.

In the 17th minute Christian Ramirez found himself running into the box and got on a Carlos Vela pass, Ramirez’s point blank shot was saved by Fire goalkeeper David Ousted.

Ten minutes later Jordan Harvey got his foot on a ball from a Diego Rossi corner. Again LAFC could not score as two Fire defenders kept the ball off the line and then Ousted was able to keep the rebound out.

LAFC Chicago Fire
LAFC star Carlos Vela defended by Chicago Fire midfielder Dax McCarthy | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation | May 4, 2019

In the second half a Vela shot off the outside of the post in the 52nd minute was the teams best chance, it was Vela’s only shot on target.

It was a frustrating night for the team captain who was bottled up effectively and not provided the space to put his dangerous left-footed shot on goal.

LAFC Chicago Fire
LAFC winger Latif Blessing shoulder to shoulder with Chicago Fire attacker Nicolas Gaitan | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation | May 4, 2019

Credit to the Fire defense who blocked five shots inside the box, and reduced LAFC’s possession time from 65% to 61% from the first half to the second.

Ramirez summed up the players frustration with their last two games:

“I think we’re just not getting the breaks that sometimes we get or if we score one goal in that first half, I think it’s a three or four goal game. That’s been the difference, just a couple of chances here and there.”

It’s a long season, this team can’t expect to win every game. How they recover after this frustrating stretch may tell what kind of team they are. If LAFC wants to stay on top of the MLS table, they will have to be resilient.

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