The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) took a break from their regular MLS schedule for their historic first-ever match in the U.S. Open Cup. The U.S. Open Cup is the oldest soccer tournament in the United States, featuring clubs from every level of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
LAFC entered tonight’s game in the fourth round of the competion, the first round in which MLS teams can participate. It was an all-California match-up as they faced Fresno FC of the USL.
L.A. inserted Lee Nguyen and Adama Diomande in the starting 11 together for the first time, a different look to the lineup with four players called up for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia.
No doubt coach Bob Bradley wanted to get the team going as he sought to repeat the success he had with the Chicago Fire in 1998 when he took the expansion team to a historic domestic double winning the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup.
The first half was a disjointed one for Los Angeles, there seemed to be very little chemistry from the forward line. The team’s best chance came from the midfield as Aaron Kovar had a low shot on goal saved by Fresno FC goalkeeper Kyle Reynish.
A scary moment occurred for L.A. in the waning minutes of the first half when Diomande took a knee to the head as he was falling in the Fresno FC goal. Diomande walked off the field with some assistance and he was substituted by Diego Rossi after halftime.
Fresno FC had the first chance in the opening moments of the second half as LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller was caught out of position, but the ball went wide of the goal.
Immediately LAFC began to press their attack and were able to win a corner in the 53rd minute. A mad scramble in front of the net lead to their first goal, as Diego Rossi nudged the ball over the line but it was not confirmed until after the referee got some assistance from the line judge.
A few minutes later again Los Angeles pressed the attack and Latif Blessing slotted home a poachers goal after Callum Mallace’s shot was blocked in the box.
For the rest of the game LAFC searched for the third goal but the Fresno FC backline stiffened up and kept LAFC out of the net.
Thanks to their 2-0 win Los Angeles will move on to the round of 16 and will find out where their next match is during the draw Thursday morning.
Next up for the team is a road game against another California rival San Jose Earthquakes, Bob Bradley has to be concerned if Diomande can’t go after his head injury. LAFC will have to hope someone steps up on offense.