Second half goals from Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande saw their side claim a 2-1 comeback win over Sporting KC.
The attacking trio of Carlos Vela, Rossi, and Christian Ramirez retained their places in Bob Bradley’s first lineup. After suffering a season ending ankle injury, Mark-Anthony Kaye returned to the pitch for the first time. In defense, the lone newcomer was Eddie Segura, the 22-year-old Colombian on loan from Atletico Huila.
LAFC’s goalkeeper, Tyler Miller, was called into action in only the fourth minute of play. Roger Espinoza forced Miller to make a stop at full stretch, but left a big rebound. Luckily enough, the assistant referee rose his flag for offside.
The visitors were generating a lot of pressure high up the pitch in the early goings and forced LAFC to turn the ball over.
Sporting score early
Once they were on the ball, in the 15th minute, Krisztian Nemeth found Johnny Russell near the top of the box. The Scot forced the opposing defender to fall back a step or two, allowing Russell to give Nemeth the ball. Nemeth did the rest, hitting a first-time right footed shot past Miller.
Jordan Harvey, who made his 300th career MLS appearance, stormed down the left flank. He pulled a pass back to Kaye, but the midfielder, in the 34th minute, could not get any power behind his attempt.
Home side come from behind in second half
LAFC needed a fast start after halftime if they were to get back into the match and they did just that. Two minutes after the restart, Eduard Atuesta hit a pin-point diagonal ball into the path of Rossi. The 20-year-old slid across the top of the box before firing a low shot past Melia.
On a corner from Lee Nguyen, Segura rose to get a powerful header on target. His effort forced the SKC goalkeeper to spill the rebound. Sporting’s defense, though, was able to clear their lines in the end to avoid any further danger.
Momentum was starting to shift LAFC’s way and you could sense that when Steven Beitashour made a couple of excellent blocks before springing Vela forward. The Mexican international kept driving and broke two tackles before eventually winning a corner.
In the 67th minute, Miller stopped Seth Sinovic’s blast, but flubbed on the punch, sending it back into the danger zone. Nemeth, who scored SKC’s first, was not ready for the ball to come his way and could not connect cleanly.
Sporting KC went down to 10 men when Espinoza received his second yellow card of the match. It was definitely coming as the away side had racked up a club record seven yellow cards during the 90 minutes.
Bradley’s second half substitutions paid off in the end. Harvey gave the ball to Diomande near the edge of the 18 yard box. He turned past Graham Zusi expertly before firing the match winning goal past Melia in the 94th minute.
LAFC are back at it next week at the Banc of California Stadium where they play host to Portland Timbers FC. Kick off is scheduled for 4:30 PM PST.