LA Football Club Hosts New York Red Bulls Sunday
Shutout New England Revolution 2-0
August 8, 2019
Los Angeles Football club has a commanding 10-point lead in the MLS Supporters' Shield race with 11 regular season matches remaining on their 2019 schedule. Last Saturday's 2-0 shutout over the New England Revolution reinforced the Black and Gold's continued dominance over Major League Soccer this entire season.
LAFC scored off the field as well. On Tuesday they announced a new multi-year contract agreement with midfielder Latif Blessing through the 2022 season. Blessing has seen action in every contest for LAFC this season, including three U.S. Open Cup matches. He has started 19 MLS matches, scoring three goals and five assists. His quick, bold energy on the field makes him a fan favorite.
LAFC General Manager John Thorrington said: "I know I speak for fans and staff alike that Latif has won everyone over with his infectious energy play and he is well-deserving of his new contract. His game continues to grow and we know he will play an integral part in the Club's success on and off the field moving forward."
A win this Sunday hosting the New York Red Bulls at the Banc of California Stadium will put LAFC that much closer towards breaking the Red Bulls' Supporters' Shield record of 71 points set just last season. Through 23 matches LAFC has 52 points and 16-3-4 won-loss record. At the current rate they are projected to set a new record with 77 points out of a possible 85 total.
The Red Bulls are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points behind emerging Philadelphia Union (42 points) and defending MLS Champion Atlanta United FC (39 points). New York began the season in a slump, winning only one of their first nine matches. But since, they have found much of last season's form, going 10-3-2 in their last 15 contests.
The Red Bulls beat LAFC, 2-1, last August in their inaugural matchup at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Midfielder Daniel Royer scored both goals for New York including the eventual winner in the 80th minute. Diego Rossi scored LAFC's lone goal on an assist by Carlos Vela in the 53rd minute. Both teams are coming off 2-0 victories leading into this Sunday's match.
Last Saturday at Gillette Stadium LAFC controlled the ball and tempo to snap New England's 11-game unbeaten streak, including the last ten under head coach Bruce Arena who was hired in May. It was the seventh road win of the season for Bradley's squad and the sixth shutout. They only had seven total road wins last season but ten clean sheets.
"Throughout the entire season, you're going to play 34 games and it's a long, long season," said LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller. "You're going to go in ebbs and flows, but we knew we wanted to get back on track and tonight was a big opportunity for us to do that."
LAFC took an early 1-0 lead in the 8th minute on forward Diego Rossi's sweet lob volley into the far corner of the goal. Rev goalkeeper Matt Turner could only watch in disbelief. More disheartening for New York was Rossi later intimating that the shot was actually an attempted pass that fortunately fell astray for his 13th goal of the season.
Bradley: "Diego is a dangerous attacker; his speed, his ability to time runs. I think the understanding of the rest of the team to find him in certain situations. Jordan (Harvey) gave him a really good pass.
Midfielder Latif Blessing finally gave LAFC the insurance goal in the 72nd minute on a clever finish set up by textbook team passing in the box. Blessing placed a classic three-touch move inside the right goal on assists by defender Jordan Harvey and fellow midfielder Eduard Atuesta. It was Blessings third goal of the season.
"It was a great team goal and then Latif had the composure to finish it off in a fantastic way," said Bradley. "We get excited when there's a team goal where the quality of the passes and the understanding are all at the top level. So, for us that was a special goal."
The Black and Gold excelled in every meaningful statistical category. They led in shots: 22-10, shots on target: 7-1, blocked shots: 9-2, and corner kicks, 7-3. LAFC had 609 total passes to 455 for New England. They possessed the ball 56.8% to 43.2%, passing accuracy: 84% to 78% and clearances: 26-14. However, New England created numerous opportunities in transition by failed to capitalize.
Also failing to capitalize was the league's leading scorer, Carlos Vela, who had at least five excellent scoring opportunities on seven total shot attempts. He missed one angled chip shot and was denied three times on saves by Turner. Yet he was double-teamed for much of the match, which allowed multiple shots by Atuesta (2), Blessing (3), Rossi (3), forward Adama Diomande (3) and midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye (3).
"The way that we started the second half I thought was tremendous and being able to maintain the solid defense," said Miller. "When we score, it's just an important time to remind the guys, "Hey, keep going, keep playing our style." Don't change anything because what we do is a difficult style of play, but when we do it properly, we're successful with it."