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LAFC Survive 4-3 clash with Atlanta United

LAFC Carlos Vela
Carlos Vela of LAFC shooting the penalty kick | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | July 26, 2019

The Los Angeles Football Club had the tough task of facing the defending MLS champion Atlanta United just a week after failing to again gain three points against their local rival, the LA Galaxy.

Facing Atlanta must feel like looking in the mirror for LAFC, Atlanta preceded them in the expansion merry go-round that is the MLS. LAFC like Atlanta plays a high scoring fast paced game, and they have a rabid fanbase that was built up early much like Atlanta’s supporters.

LAFC was also looking to emulate Atlanta’s quick success. Like Atlanta, they made the playoffs in their inaugural season and are trying to win a MLS Cup in just their second season.

LAFC Atlanta United Walker Zimmerman Josef Martinez
Walker Zimmerman (LAFC) heading the ball defending Atlanta United star Josef Martinez | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | July 26, 2019

Los Angeles was looking to collect their first points against Atlanta having played one game against them in their inaugural season being given a 5-0 drubbing in Atlanta in April of 2018.

LAFC gave up the first goal just two minutes into the game and looked off their game immediately. A free-kick was mishandled in the box and Atlanta’s Mo Adams scored the goal.

LAFC Latif Blessing Atlanta United
LAFC winger Latif Blessing attempting to dribble past Atlanta United’s defender | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | July 26, 2019

The floodgates opened for LAFC at the 33rd-minute mark and it would end with a 4-2 lead at halftime.

Adama Diomande got the ball rolling scoring the equalizer on a right-footed shot that Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan had no chance at.

LAFC upped their pressure and were again rewarded when Diego Rossi scored on a rebound that looked to get under the gloves of a kneeling Guzan, in five short minutes LAFC was on top and looking for more.

Carlos Vela was brought down in the box and converted the subsequent penalty for his league-leading 22nd goal of the season. The captain was not done, a mere three minutes later at the 45th minute Vela added an assist as he and Diomande put together some passes that led to Eduard Atuesta scoring the fourth LAFC goal of the game.

Atlanta was not about to go down quietly, as poor LAFC defense let Josef Martinez slip into the box and score Atlanta’s second goal before L.A. supporters could finish celebrating their lead.

More poor defense pushed another LAFC goal across the line, unfortunately, it was on an Eddie Segura own goal as Atlanta got deep into the LAFC box and a back pass hit off Segura’s knee and into the net.

From there both teams maintained sustained pressure, Atlanta kept trying to equalize and Los Angeles kept looking for that put-away goal. Neither occurred and the final score sheet was a 4-3 victory for LAFC.

LAFC Carlos Vela Atlanta United
LAFC’s Carlos Vela maneuvering away from Atlanta United’s Leandro Gonzalez Pirez| Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | July 26, 2019

Coach Bob Bradley summed up the teams victory like this:

“Great win. We made it crazy at times. There’s parts in there that we’re not too happy about. [It] was ridiculous in the first half to start slowly with no concentration to give up a goal right away. After 15 minutes, we really got things going well to get the 4-1. At the end of the half, we finished the same way we started the half so that was crazy. Exciting win.”

LAFC will move on to the next challenge as teams continue to try and knock them off the top of the MLS standings.

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