LAFC steamrolled their way to victory on Wednesday, scoring three goals in the first half, en route to a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
The hosts have an astounding gap not only at the top of the Western Conference standings but the MLS Supporters’ Shield too. In the west, LAFC currently has a 19-point advantage over second-place Minnesota United FC. Meanwhile, Atlanta United are 16 points behind the Supporters’ Shield leaders.
With the LA Galaxy match on the horizon, and with Walker Zimmerman suspended, Bob Bradley decided to make a few changes to his usual lineup. Tristan Blackmon replaced the aforementioned Zimmerman at center back and in defense, Lee Nguyen got the start ahead of Mark-Anthony Kaye. Joshua Perez also got the nod in the starting XI, slotting on the right wing.
LAFC start fast, don’t let up
It only took six minutes for the hosts to find the back of the net. Josh Perez created the initial attempt which forced Mario Vega to make a save, but the SJ goalkeeper left a big rebound. Diego Rossi was at the right spot at the right time to clean up and break the deadlock.
Less than 10 minutes later, Lee Nguyen hit a left-footed shot inside the box that was heading towards goal. San Jose’s Anibal Godoy reached out his hand and stopped the shot from reaching its target.
Play continued for a few moments before head referee Kevin Stott went over to check the video review. It was deemed that Godoy did in fact have his hand in an unnatural position.
Captain Carlos Vela stepped up to the spot and just got his attempt just above the Earthquakes goalkeeper to double LAFC’s lead.
Then, five minutes before halftime, Vela dummied an initial through ball to Diego Rossi, who immediately played a pass into Vela’s path. The 30-year-old danced through three opposing defenders and got around the Earthquakes’ shot-stopper with ease before tapping the ball into the empty net to seal his brace.
Joshua Perez worked hard throughout the entire match and in the 81st minute, he was finally rewarded for his effort, scoring his first LAFC goal. Adama Diomande found him free in the area and the La Habra product beat Mario Vega at the near post.
Now, the focus will switch to the big rivalry match on Sunday at the Banc of California Stadium. There, LAFC will host the LA Galaxy with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 PM.