Not only are the goals plentiful — for both sides (23 scored, 18 conceded in their first 11 games) — but they tend to be of the highest quality — again, for both sides.
Take, for example, Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to the Portland Timbers, a result which extends Portland’s winning streak to five games and sends Giovanni Savarese’s side third in the Western Conference, now just three points behind LAFC (with a game in hand).
LAFC fell 1-0 behind when Cristhian Paredes scored his first MLS goal in the 52nd minute, then a pair of world-class stunners saw the visitors pull level in the 74th and fall behind once again in the 81st.
It’s not the first — and almost certainly won’t be the last — time we’ve seen that exact goal scored by LAFC’s Mexican superstar. Only this time, Vela was immediately upstaged by Samuel Armenteros, who up to that point had been held without a goal in his first two-plus months in MLS. This is one way to formally introduce yourself to the Rose City faithful…
Orlando City SC’s winning streak ended at six, thanks to goals scored by Josef Martinez (penalty kick) and Ezequiel Barco (his second of the season, both in the last three games), and a late-game meltdown from the people in purple — both on the field and in the stands.
Uri Rosell is yet to start a game for Orlando, but his introduction at halftime of Sunday’s game made exactly the impact for which he was signed: after chasing Atlanta, and the ball, around the field like chickens with their heads cut off — and falling 2-0 behind after 31 minutes — Rosell brought a sense of control to the Lions.
As for Atlanta, Tata Martino’s side took six points from three games in the span of eight days this week and sit atop the Supporters’ Shield standings after 11 games as a result. They’ve dropped all of five points from their last 10 games and, back in their customary 3-4-3 system, appear capable of scoring three or four against anyone in the league.
Los Angeles FC 2-2 New York City FC
If you’ve got 20 or so minutes of free time to fill over the next 24 or 48 hours, do yourself a favor and watch the condensed replay of LAFC’s thrilling, end-to-end, chance-filled draw with NYCFC on Sunday. While there were four goals scored in the end, it could have just as well finished 0-0 and made its case as the most entertaining game this season.
LAFC are yet to truly establish a central midfield capable of anything other than chance creation — which they’re really good at — so there’s a better than great chance most of their games will have you on the edge of your seat for 90 minutes.
NYCFC, on the other hand, are tactically effective chameleons in just about any type of game, but they’re undoubtedly most comfortable with David Villa front and center on countless counter-attacks. Patrick Vieira will be pleased to have seen his side come back to rescue a late road point after suffering an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls last week.
At what point is it no longer "early" for #TFC? Coming up on the 1/3 mark of the season in a couple weeks. The East is NOT the West. I know, #CCL and all that, which is great. At some point, though, they gotta get 1) heathy, 2) out of their own way. #NEvTOR
We’re not talking about TFC missing the playoffs — we’re still three or four months away from that feeling like a distinct possibility — but at what point is the hole out of which they must climb simply too deep to even pretend the likes of Atlanta, NYCFC and RBNY are within reach? The no. 4 seed feels like their new best-case scenario.
Saturday’s loss to New England was not only a gut-punch of three points dropped, but Sebastian Giovinco was sent off for this very dumb decision mere seconds after bringing the Reds back to 3-2.
Again, it’s still May, and Jozy Altidore will be back before July rolls around (don’t forget, he scored zero goals before July 31 two seasons ago before finishing the regular season with 10 and helping TFC to their first MLS Cup final appearance), but other key injuries (Drew Moor, Justin Morrow, Nick Hagglund and Eriq Zavaleta) have forced Greg Vanney into playing Michael Bradley and Jason Hernandez at center back the last few games.
Something just feels… off after their oh-so-close run through CONCACAF Champions League.
Columbus Crew SC 3-0 Chicago Fire
A picture is worth a thousand words…
Elsewhere in MLS
Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 Houston Dynamo (Friday) — HIGHLIGHTS
Minnesota United 1-3 San Jose Earthquakes — HIGHLIGHTS
Montreal Impact 0-2 Philadelphia Union — HIGHLIGHTS
FC Dallas 3-2 LA Galaxy — HIGHLIGHTS
Colorado Rapids 1-2 New York Red Bulls — HIGHLIGHTS
Real Salt Lake 3-2 D.C. United — HIGHLIGHTS
Portland Timbers 1-0 Seattle Sounders — HIGHLIGHTS
The future (and current) star of the U.S. Men’s National Team will be playing in Los Angeles in a few short weeks.
Los Angeles FC announced that Christian Pulisic will make the trip with Borussia Dortmund for a friendly match at the Banc of California Stadium on May 22. It was unclear when the friendly match was originally announced in January whether Pulisic would be part of the traveling party, but now it appears to be confirmed, according to LAFC’s Instagram page.
Pulisic is set to feature for the USMNT on May 28 in Chester, Penn. against Bolivia before taking the rest of the summer off to rest up ahead of another long European campaign. Had the U.S. qualified for the World Cup, Pulisic likely wouldn’t have played with Dortmund on their post-season trip to the U.S.
Now, fans around Los Angeles will get a chance to see the still 19-years old Pulisic play on the field before he comes back with the USMNT in the future.
Hull City’s Diomande reunites with Bradley in LA (video)
Adama Diomande is reuniting with the coach who helmed his most successful professional season.
“Adama is a quality goalscorer who brings the experience of playing at a high level in Europe,” said LAFC head coach Bob Bradley. “We believe he will have a strong impact in MLS.”
The Hull City man scored 25 goals in 26 matches for Stabaek when Bradley was the manager in 2015, earning a move to the English side. While at Hull, Diomande scored seven goals in 64 matches between the Premier League and Championship.
It seemed to take forever, but Los Angeles FC got there in the end — no, not their arrival to MLS in 2018, nor Sunday’s debut of Banc of California Stadium following a six-game road trip to start their expansion season.
The first goal. The first eruption to celebrate the first goal. The first win. The first three points.
For 92 minutes, Sunday’s clash with the Seattle Sounders felt destined for an anticlimactic ending: neither side threatened the other too terribly much, and 0-0 seemed a foregone conclusion. In truth, the severely shorthanded Sounders were the better of the two sides, perhaps the nerves and expectations of the big day were a bit much for LAFC.
Then, in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, it happened. Laurent Ciman laced a 30-yard free kick around a four-man wall and into the typically reliable, waiting arms of Stefan Frei. Only this time, Frei produced a spectacular howler.
The victory sends LAFC second in the Western Conference, just two points behind Sporting Kansas City (and with two games in hand), and gives Bob Bradley‘s side a three-game winning streak as they look ahead to the rest of their four-game home stand to begin life at Banc of California Stadium.