LA Football Notches Another Win

Beat New York Red Bulls 4-2

It's ten games and counting before LAFC can finally claim the 2019 MLS Supporters' Shield. They're also threatening the MLS record of 71 total points set just last season by the New York Red Bulls, a 4-2 victim at Banc of California Stadium this past Sunday. In only its second season, LAFC's projected 78 points is on pace to break the record with room to spare.

Yet, the Black and Gold are far from standing pat. This past week they revisited South America to sign two highly-regarded young players: forward Brian Rodriquez of Uruguay and defender Diego Palacios of Ecuador. Last season LAFC signed current star forward Diego Rossi from Club Atlético Peñarol of Uruguay's Primera División, coincidentally the same team Rodriguez transferred from.

General Manager John Thorrington, who signed Rodriquez as a Young Designated Player, stated: "Acquiring a player of Brian's quality in this window is another powerful statement from LAFC about our commitment to winning and building a Club that excites our supporters."

LAFC acquired Palacios using Targeted Allocation Money. The 20-year old transferred from SD Aucas of Ecuador's Primera Categoría Serie A. LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said: "Diego is a young, talented left back and we're really excited because we think he's another player that fits well with everything we try to do."

Prior to the moves LAFC move forward Christian Ramirez to the Houston Dynamo for $250,000 in Allocation Money. $75,000 of the total was Targeted Allocation Money, used to acquire Palacios. With LAFC leading the league with 65 goals this season, they are focusing on developing a defense that can equally compliment its progressive style for future seasons.

Though LAFC also leads the league in fewest goals allowed with 25, five better than Atlanta United FC with 30, the defense has taken some hits lately. They have yielded eight total goals in three of their last four matches, including three goals in a 3-2 loss to the L.A. Galaxy and a 4-3 win over Atlanta. However, there's no panic as LAFC's goal differential is currently at +40. The Galaxy set the record with +41 in 1998.

LAFC's 4-2 victory over the Red Bulls was not their cleanest effort. After taking an early 2-0 lead they allowed New York to tie the score before the half ended. Bradley's squad regrouped in second half with two goals and a more determined defense, especially from goalkeeper Tyler Miller. After shutting out New England last week, Miller had a few more relapses in the first half, one resulting in an own goal.

Defender Jordan Harvey's header in the 23rd minute courtesy of a free kick from team captain Carlos Vela opened up 1-0 lead. Two minutes later Latif Blessing converted a perfect one-touch pass across the face of the goal by Steven Beitashour for the 2-0 lead. Midfielder Eduard Atuesta initiated the play with a precise slant pass to Beitashour.

Bradley: "So those are all the things we try to work through and you can always get better because the timing of certain balls, certain plays through windows, the quality of a guy on the move taking a touch so he's in on goal."

Cristian Casseres gave New York some light with a long turn-around put-away when LAFC failed to clear the ball in the 42nd minute. Miller leaped right but responded too late for the block. Three minutes later the Red Bulls the scored equalizer when Danny Royer's pass to Brian White slid the ball into the left post, then rebounding off Miller's body and into the goal.

LAFC retook the lead in the 61st minute as Carlos Vela converted his fifth penalty kick of the season, set up when Atuesta was fouled by Rece Buckmaster inside the box. Vela leads the league with 23 goals and 15 assists this season. His 38 total goals and assists combined ties him for the MLS season record with Sebastian Giovinco, who turned the trick in 2015 for Toronto FC.

"I think for me that record is more important than just goals because in the end, I'm not a striker, I'm not just scoring goals, I'm not always just in the front waiting for the ball," said Vela.

"I'm trying to involve all of my teammates, I'm trying to help them, I'm trying to make some plays for them... I feel great because we're trying to be the best team in this league. So we need everyone involved."

Vela's second assist in the 71st minute was a free kick from 30-plus yards out that found Eddie Segura. The defender's header redirected the ball into the far corner of the goal past diving Red Bull goalkeeper Luis Robles. Both teams kept pressing until the end as the passing of the Supporters' Shield torch was in its final act.


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