Los Angeles FC

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Unstoppable LAFC end Revs’ 11-game unbeaten run (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): Coming into the weekend’s premier matchup in MLS, Bruce Arena’s New England Revolution found itself above the playoff cut line on the back of an 11-game unbeaten run that began all the way back on May 11. In that time, the Revs took down the likes of San Jose, LA Galaxy, Houston and Orlando, to name a few, but they had face no one on par with runaway Supporters’ Shield leaders Los Angeles FC. All of the above changed on Saturday, when Bob Bradley‘s men walked out of Gillette Stadium with a 2-0 victory. Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing scored the goals β€” one in each half β€” and LAFC ran their modest recent run of results to five wins in their last six games. Their lead in the Shield race walkover is 13 points with 11 games left to play.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Three moments that mattered

8′ β€” Rossi loops it high and back down for the opener β€” How many players in MLS even see the 10-foot-high looping finish as an option in this scenario, let alone have the technical wherewithal to pull it off? The answer is a small number, but it includes Rossi.

41′ β€” Farrell saves his own embarrassing blemish on the goal line β€” Andrew Farrell almost scored an embarrassing, if unlucky, own goal, but managed to sprint to the goal line and clear the ball away in the nick of time.

72′ β€” Blessing finishes a fantastic team goal for 2-0 β€” Champagne football from LAFC, innit? There should be about five secondary assists handed out on this one.

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Man of the match: Jordan Harvey

Goalscorers: Rossi (8′), Blessing (72′)

FOLLOW: ATLUTD host LA Galaxy to begin 9-game MLS Saturday

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Saturday’s slate of MLS fixtures is set to kick off in just under an hour, and the big matchup of the day comes flying out of the starting gate right away: Atlanta United (second place, Eastern Conference) hosting LA Galaxy (third place, Western Conference) in front of an expected crowd of 70,000 fans inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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The visitors will be without superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic (suspended), though the big Swede might have sat this one out anyway due to the artificial turf playing surface in Atlanta, making the already uphill battle that much tougher. Efrain Alvarez and Diego Polenta are also suspended, leaving Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side somewhat shorthanded to face the defending champions.

The two hottest teams in MLS, New England Revolution (11 games unbeaten) and San Jose Earthquakes (one defeat in 11 games), are also in action on Saturday. The Revs will host runaway Supporters’ Shield leaders Los Angeles FC in the biggest test of Bruce Arena’s tenure to date, while Matias Almeyda’s Quakes will host a quickly sinking Columbus Crew SC side (eight losses in 12 games, including 10 without a win).

Hit the link above to follow along with all of the day’s action, and check back on PST throughout the day for recaps and highlights of the most consequential matchups.

Saturday’s full MLS schedule

Atlanta United v. LA Galaxy β€” 5 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls v. Toronto FC β€” 5 p.m. ET
New England Revolution v. Los Angeles FC β€” 7:30 p.m. ET
Orlando City SC v. FC Dallas β€” 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati v. Vancouver Whitecaps 8 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo v. Chicago Fire β€” 9 p.m. ET
Colorado Rapids v. Montreal Impact β€” 9 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes v. Columbus Crew SC β€” 10 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake v. New York City FC β€” 10 p.m. ET

Report: LAFC on the verge of $11.5 million transfer signing

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Los Angeles FC seems to believe it has found the next Diego Rossi, and it didn’t have to look far from the source.

According to major Uruguayan newspaper El Observador, LAFC has acquired 19-year-old winger Brian Rodriguez from Uruguayan giant Penarol with an $11.5 million transfer fee. Rodriguez made his debut for Penarol in March 2018 and has, in the last two years, become an integral part of the squad that won the most recent Uruguayan league title. In 23 games, according to the report, Rodriguez has scored three goals.

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The report states that Rodriguez will play Penarol’s Copa Sudamericana match against Flamengo at Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracana Stadium on Wednesday before departing for the U.S. to complete the transfer.

In addition to his work at the club level, Rodriguez was identified at a young age by the Uruguayan National Team and has been a key member of both the Under-17 and Under-20 Men’s National Teams. Rodriguez played four times for Uruguay at the recent FIFA Under-20 World Cup, scoring a pair of goals. Uruguay’s U-20 program is what grooms all its players for senior level, and teammate Bruno Mendez has already gotten a pair of caps for the senior team now, just age 19 himself.

For LAFC, it’s quite a bit of money to spend on a young, unproven player, but they’re clearly rolling the dice on a player they think can help bring the club a title this year and beyond.

Zlatan saves his best for the best, Galaxy beat LAFC 3-2 (video)

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his second hat trick in Major League Soccer and the LA Galaxy beat rival Los Angeles FC 3-2 on Friday night in their first meeting of the season.

Ibrahimovic, who is second in the league with 16 goals, scored in the 8th, 56th and 70th minutes. The 37-year-old Swedish star’s first MLS hat trick came last season against Orlando City.

Ibrahimovic has six goals in four matches against LAFC in the rivalry nicknamed “El Trafico”.

MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela scored twice for LAFCs. The forward has 21 goals in 20 games and is the fastest to reach 20 goals in a season in MLS history.

LAFC dropped just its third match in 21 matches. It leads MLS with 46 points, but has not been able to beat its rival during its two seasons. The Galaxy (12-8-1) – who moved into second in the Western Conference with 37 points – have two wins while the other two ended in ties.

LAFC (14-3-4) opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Vela converted on a penalty kick. Vela drew the penalty when Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham came off his line and upended the forward near the goal.

Ibrahimovic evened it four minutes later when he got the feed from Julian Araujo, split defenders Walker Zimmerman and Eddie Segura and fired a shot from the top of the box that beat Tyler Miller.

Ibrahimovic then gave the Galaxy the lead 11 minutes into the second half when he took a pass from Diego Polenta, went over Jordan Harvey and headed it into the net.

He completed the hat trick 14 minutes later with a blast from 21 yards out off Favio Alvarez’s pass.

Vela brought LAFC within a goal in the 97th minute off Eduard Atuesta’s assist.

LAFC erases an early deficit, cruises to win in Houston (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): On a night when Carlos Vela failed to score and Diego Rossi had a marginal impact on the game’s proceedings for the majority of the night, Los Angeles FC cruised to a 3-1 victory over a playoff-bound Houston Dynamo side, on the road, and extended their lead in the Supporters’ Shield race to a cool 10 points. Don’t let anyone tell you that LAFC is a one-man team. They even had to overcome an early deficit after conceding a goal inside the game’s first 180 seconds. Increasing the difficulty level for themselves, because are unable to do so? Perhaps. What an embarrassment of riches when Adama Diomande, who would be a star no. 9 for the majority of MLS teams this year and scored a brace on Friday, is the third or fourth or fifth scoring option. A year after Atlanta United rewrote all the MLS record books, we can confidently say we’ve never seen a team as dominant as what LAFC is doing in just its second season of existence.

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Three moments that mattered

3′ β€” Quioto gets a favorable deflection and an early goal β€” LAFC have hardly been great defensively this season; they’ve just been so good at the other end of the field that it hasn’t mattered. They give up a lot of easily avoidable goals, like this one.

45’+2 β€” Diomande skies and loops a magnificent header β€” There’s no better time to score a goal, particularly one that erases an opponent’s lead, than in the seconds just before halftime. From this point forward, it felt like there could only be one possible outcome.

49′ β€” Diomande slots it home for 2-1 β€” Remember that thing about LAFC’s defense being a bit of a mess at times? Houston heard that, and took it as a personal challenge.

88′ β€” Rossi puts the game away with a stellar chip β€” Just trying to imagine how much we would be praising Rossi if he didn’t share a team with Vela.

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Man of the match: Adama Diomande

Goalscorers: Quioto (3′), Diomande (45’+2, 49′), Rossi (88′)