LA Football Club Deal Shutout to D.C. United
April 11, 2019
LAFC reaffirmed its flying start in the 2019 MLS season with a very credible 4-0 shutout over D.C. United last Saturday afternoon at Audi Field. Even with an unsatisfying second half, first place Black and Gold registered its second consecutive shutout on the road as well as another hat-trick, this time by forward Diego Rossi.
"It's great to win 4-0 away from home," said head coach Bob Bradley. "We scored some really good goals. Today is a choppy game. So it's not exactly a game where there's all sorts of fluidity and everything else. The field is a bit choppy and slow. So I thought we handled it well."
Despite LAFC's 5-0-1 record, a number of teams breathing down LAFC's neck in the tough Western Conference. Seattle Sounders FC, 4-0-1, showing good form with 13 points and one less game played, is also unbeaten along with Houston Dynamo at 3-0-1. Instant archrival L.A. Galaxy, on a three-game winning streak, has 12 points with four wins and one loss.
LAFC returns home this Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at Banc of California Stadium to host FC Cincinnati, who are playing in their inaugural MLS season. So far FC Cincinnati is holding its own in competition with a 2-2-2 record and tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. LAFC has won all three home games this season. Their only blemish was a 2-2 draw at NYCFC in Week 3.
The early Match of the Season against D.C. United was over by the 32nd minute. That's when Rossi delivered his second goal of the game to give LAFC a commanding 3-0 lead. It could have been worse for United. Forward Carlos Vela, who scored the team's first hat-trick of the season in last week's 5-0 victory over San Jose Earthquakes, missed on a penalty kick in the 12th minute.
Vela made amends three minutes later, giving LAFC a 1-0 lead. Forward Adama Diomande secured a loose pass near midfield and fed Vela down the right side. Vela set up at the top of the penalty box with three quick touches and delivered his now classic bender into the left corner of the goal.
"When I missed the penalty, in my head there was only one target: to score a goal," said Vela. "I have to recover that mistake and I did it quick. So, it was good for our confidence and after that, everything was really good and we had a good game, a complete game."
Rossi took over the scoring duties in the 27th minute. The 21-year old, second-year player from Uruguay extended his left foot on a deft pass from Vela and redirected it into the right corner of the goal. Five minutes later Rossi curled a beautiful shot again into the right corner beating D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
D.C. United was missing on quite a few cylinders all game. They hit rock bottom when Wayne Rooney was given a red card after a video review in the 52nd minute when he tripped Rossi from behind. Rossi capitalized 24 minutes later with a low evading shot off of a diving Hamid, crossing just inside the left goal post for the final score.
LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller threw another shutout to extend his scoreless streak to 235 minutes. The early big leads over the past two games have played a factor in allowing LAFC's defense to quickly recover yet consolidate its backfield tactics. They have yielded five total goals this season, tied for third fewest allowed in the league.
Yet, Bradley was reserved: "To be fair to them, it was just not their best day. And then they go down to ten. So, it's a game that we feel good about because it's never easy to come across the country and play a match. We feel like we handled it well, but I think that any other talk doesn't really fit."
The victory earned LAFC a couple of MLS weekly awards. Rossi received MLS Player of the Week honors while Vela earned the MLS Player of the Month Award. Vela leads the league in scoring with seven while Rossi is only one back with six goals. Rossi's four assists is also tied for the league lead with Orlando FC midfielder, Nani.
Offensively, LAFC set an MLS record by scoring 19 goals in the first six games this season. That's seven more than the next closest total. The team also leads the league in assists with 19. Next is Toronto FC with 16 assists and Orlando City SC with 12. Not surprisingly, LAFC leads in total shots with 109 and shots-on-goal with 42.
"Everything is in the right direction," said Rossi. "Because the season is really long, so we have to play the best football we can in this moment and then in the bad moments, show that we are a good team."