The time finally came after four years of waiting, the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) officially played an MLS game. A team that was once just a concept, a home grown club with it’s own identity tied to the heart of Los Angeles. Now LAFC was not just a concept but a reality.
Facing the Seattle Sounders in your first game is a daunting task, after all they just went to two consecutive MLS Cup finals, winning one. Los Angeles was going to have to deal with one of the most hostile clubs in MLS, wet weather, and first game jitters.
LAFC pulled out the 1-0 win starting the franchise on the right foot.
.@LAFC become just the fourth expansion team to win their inaugural game (also: Chicago 1998, Seattle 2009, Vancouver 2011).
.@LAFC are just the second expansion team to win their opening game on the road (also CHI). The head coach in both cases: Bob Bradley
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) March 5, 2018
Here are the things that stood out from the game:
For a team playing for the first time in franchise history LAFC players were able to play a composed structured game. Early on it looked like the Sounders were trying to catch LAFC’s backline napping by using the long ball. LAFC stayed composed though and the likes of Mark Anthony-Kaye in the middle and Laurent Ciman at the back kept the ball out of the LA box.
When there were break downs, LA was able to recover and kept the Sounders out of the net by staying disciplined in the box. During one sequence Los Angeles conceded four corner kicks in a row and each time they kept their composure preventing the Sounders goal.
Tyler Miller came to Play
Tyler Miller had only started two MLS games in his career, but by the looks of it you would have thought Miller was 10-year veteran. Time and time again Miller made spectacular saves keeping the expansion side’s lead. In the first half minutes after the first LAFC goal in franchise history, Miller got his hand on low shot that deflected the ball away.
During the Sounders best period of the game, Miller again thwarted them by deflecting a header out that would have surely tied the game.
Miller earned his clean sheet and if this is the type of play we can expect the rest of the league is in trouble.
Carlos Vela is the Engine
The first goal in franchise history was due in part to a great pass from Carlos Vela to Diego Rossi. Vela’s pass released Rossi on a through ball that Rossi calmly curled past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Through out the game Vela used his skill and strength to create space while looking for Rossi and Marco Ureña up front.
Vela should have secured a second goal in the second half when he again got past the defender and looked to be brought down in the box. But the referee blew the call. Vela was LAFC’s best player on the pitch and showed that he is the engine that will get the offensive moving as the team comes together.
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