Playing in historic Yankee Stadium in an unusually smaller configuration, with shadows and sunlight to cloud your vision is a pretty tall order for your first road game.
LAFC over came all these things to take home a point against NYCFC. Twice in the game Los Angeles had to comeback from a one goal deficit to tie things up, and even had a chance to take all three points on the last kick of the game.
Despite the tie LAFC continues to show why they are one of the more dangerous teams on the counter. They also showed what can happen when their back line loses focus.
Under the Radar Man of the Match
I could regale you about the goal scoring prowess of team captain Carlos Vela who scored both L.A. goals. One a perfect left footed shot from a side angle, the other a cooly taken penalty. Both plays had one thing in common: Latif Blessing.
A week after playing mostly right-back, Blessing was back in the midfield and he was a catalyst for both of the LAFC goals.
He lobbed a perfect pass to Vela right before the Mexican left-footed a goal. The penalty Vela converted, Blessing drew using his 5-foot-5 frame to take on NYCFC defenders in the box.
Vela may have put the biscuit in the box, but Blessing did the cooking. Just ask coach Bob Bradley:
“I thought in the midfield Latif did a fantastic job, he was full of energy coming away with loose balls, helped us in so many ways.”
Defense wounded but not broken
Right-back Steven Beitashour was out due to still being under concussion precaution stemming from the last game. NYCFC took advantage and attacked the L.A. defense especially on the wings.
Bradley acknowledged NYCFC’s gameplan:
“They did a good job overloading our right side with (Alexandru) Mitrita, obviously playing out on that side.”
Speaking of Mitrita, the first goal Los Angeles gave up was on his brilliant solo run down the right wing before turning Jordan Harvey around and scoring with a right footed curler past Tyler Miller.
The second goal occured when the defense lost Alexander Ring in the box and he lashed a shot in. The LAFC defense can’t always count on the offense to bail them out, and despite their depth, the defense will have to do better than Sunday afternoon.
LAFC comes back home to face Real Salt Lake Saturday evening. RSL is coming off getting blown out 5-0 against D.C. United. LAFC will have to be better on the defensive front and keep pushing their potent offense.
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