By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Los Angeles Football Club Inaugural Season Kickoff


March 15, 2018

Los Angeles Football Club

(L-R) Steven Beitashour (3), Diego Rossi (9) and Latif celebrate first LAFC goal ever by Rossi in 1-0 inaugural win over Seattle

Goooooaaal! There's a brand new team painting the town black and gold. The Los Angeles Football Club has kicked off its inaugural season with two solid wins behind a shining young star in the making. It's the kind of Hollywood start Major League Soccer was looking for when it awarded the city a second franchise in 2014.

Los Angeles FC is surprisingly tied for first place in MLS's Western Conference after it completely overwhelmed Real Salt Lake, 5-1, on Saturday afternoon, March 10 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, a few miles directly south Salt Lake City. The win consolidated the team's historical shutout debut victory at CenturyLink Field in Seattle the previous Saturday.

Midfielder Diego Rossi from Montevideo, Uruguay scored the team's first goal ever on March 4 as upstart L.A. shocked the Seattle Sounders 1-0. One day before Rossi's 20th birthday, he directed the only goal of the game 24 yards out in the 11th minute. It also happened to be the fastest goal scored by a franchise in MLS history.

Rossi, a designated player, received a clean pass from his designated player teammate Carlos Vela and sent a drive past Sounder goalie Stephen Frye into the back right corner of the goal. A stunned Seattle never recovered. Mark-Anthony Kaye also got an assist on the goal. Remarkably, it was the only shot on target out of five for Los Angeles.

In contrast, the Sounders had 22 shots on goal, seven on target and six blocked. The six blocks by former Seattle goalkeeper Tyler Miller was the primary difference in the match. He made a key save in each half, denying Seattle's Nouhou Tolo a few minutes following Rossi's goal and Christian Roldan's header late in the second half.

L.A.'s resounding win against Real Salt Lake made them the only the third MLS franchise to win its first two matches and the first to win both on the road. Real's Joao Plata goal in the 20th minute gave L.A. its first deficit in franchise history. Ten minutes later Rossi gave Los Angeles FC the equalizer and the momentum on assists by Marco Ureña and Benny Feilhaber.

LAFC's Latif Blessing gave them the permanent lead three minutes later on a controversial short goal as Real offside's claim was futile. Steven Beitashour and Rossi assisted on the play for a 2-1 halftime lead.

The L.A. offense opened up the match early in the second half as Rossi pass in the middle gave a sprinting Feilhaber his first goal of the season. Beitashour also got his second assist of the game.

Rossi wasn't finished as he scored his second goal of the game and third for LAFC in the 81st minute. Five minutes later Vela scored his first goal for the black and gold on an assist by who else... Rossi. Through LAFC's first two franchise matches Rossi has either scored or assisted on each of the six goals.

LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley starting lineup was the same for both games: 21 Marco Ureña – F; 1 Tyler Miller – G; 3 Steven Beitashour – D; 5 Dejan Jakovic – D; 23 Laurent Ciman D; 44 João Moutinho – D; 38 Benny Feilhaber – M; 14 Mark-Anthony Kaye – M; 7 Latif Blessing – M; 10 Carlos Vela – M; and 9 Diego Rossi – M.

The Los Angeles Football Club group of 30 owners is headed by Lead Managing Owner Larry Berg and Co-Managing Owners Brandon Beck and Bennett Rosenthal. The other owners include a number of notable business leaders and personalities: Peter Guber, Tom Penn, Henry Nguyen, Ruben Gnanalingam, Vincent Tan and Will Ferrell.

Rounding out the ownership group: Mia Hamm Garciaparra, Nomar Garciaparra, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Goodwin Gaw, Chad Hurley, Tucker Kain, Kirk Lacob, Mitch Lasky, Mark Leschly, Mike Mahan, Marc Merrill, Irwin Raij, Tonny Robbins, Lon Rosen, Paul Schaeffer, Brandon Schneider, Allen Shapiro, Mark Shapiro, Jason Sugarman, Harry Tsao and Rick Welts.

Los Angeles Football Club will begin playing in its new and just completed state-of-the-art Banc of California Stadium, adjacent to the Los Angeles Coliseum, at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 29. LAFC will play its very first game in the Los Angeles area on Saturday, March 31 against its instant rival and L.A.'s established franchise: the L.A. Galaxy. Soccer in Los Angeles has never enjoyed a better moment.

Los Angeles Football Club

2018 Los Angeles Football Club team members gather following victory over Seattle


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