LA Football Club Faces Tough Seattle Team
April 18, 2019
Off to one of the quickest starts in MLS history, LAFC (6-0-1) will test its mettle in a home-and-away series versus the hot Seattle Sounders FC (5-0-1) starting this Sunday. The highly anticipated matches comes on the heels of LAFC's third consecutive shutout, a well-earned 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati last Saturday night at Banc of California Stadium.
LAFC is leading the highly competitive Western Conference with 19 points, followed by Seattle with 16. City-rival L.A. Galaxy, with five wins in six games is in third with 15 points while Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas are right behind, both tied with 13 points. LAFC has a chance to increase its lead before taking on Seattle as they travel to play Vancouver Whitecaps FC this Wednesday.
"They bought me to do these couple of things," said LAFC forward Carlos Vela. "So, I get that responsibility in my team, and I try to do my best, to produce the most things possible every game."
"Last year, we were all new. Some moments we didn't respond like we're supposed to. This year, we know each other. I know every player, so it's much easier to finish the game in better ways."
Leading the MLS in scoring with eight goals and five assists, Vela's late goal in the third minute of stoppage time put the finishing touch on the hard fought victory over FC Cincinnati. LAFC dominated time of possession and outshot first-year team FCC, 22-7, yet Cincinnati's withdrawn defense was fairly effective in slowing the league's top-rated offense.
"Tonight, I don't think we were as sharp as I'd like," said head coach Bob Bradley. "The kind of football we want to play in terms of the quality of every pass, the timing, finding the right spaces. The good news is that we get a shutout, and in terms of the mentality of the group on a night when the football isn't the best. I think that that part was positive."
Midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye gave LAFC a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute on a set piece delivered from the right corner. Kaye headed Vela's deft left-footed pass into the empty left corner of the net with authority. The ended LAFC's futility of having failed to convert the previous seven shots at goal against the tight FCC defense and goalkeeper Spencer Richey.
For LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller, it was his third clean sheet of the season as he ran his shutout streak to 325 consecutive minutes. LAFC is now tied with Seattle and Columbus Crew SC for the least amount of goals allowed this season with five. They currently lead the league with 21 goals and 21 assists, giving them an overwhelming 16-goal differential compared with nine for runner-up Seattle.
"Now you see everything clicking and coming together. We're not giving up too many chances," said defender Steven Beitashour. "It's a matter of whether Tyler needs to make a big save, we're really not letting them get solid chances in our box. Tonight, was another good solid performance from top to Bottom."
Miller made the save of the game in the second minute of stoppage time of the first half. FCC forward Darren Mattocks curled the potential game-tying attempt near the top of the penalty box towards the right corner of the goal. Miller swift reaction was perfect, leaping sideways while stretching his left hand to deflect the ball to the outside of the right post.
LAFC have a very good chance to add three points at Vancouver on Wednesday. Vancouver (0-4-2) is currently in 10th place in with only two points. LAFC beat the Whitecaps the 2-0 in their initial MLS matchup at Vancouver last season. Vela and forward Diego Rossi each scored in the victory. The Whitecaps came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw in the last game of the regular season.