LAFC scored four second-half goals to get a 5-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park. All three forwards – Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, Christian Ramirez – scored, along with two substitutes: Rodolfo Zelaya and Mohamed El Munir.
This victory for the visiting side further distances themselves from second place in the Western Conference standings. Now, LAFC sits on 40 points, nine points ahead of the LA Galaxy, after 18 matches played.
Bob Bradley made a few changes to his starting lineup ahead of the SKC match. Mark-Anthony Kaye returned to midfield, while Eduard Atuesta replaced Lee Nguyen. Up top, Ramirez swapped places at striker with Adama Diomande.
The Canadian international, Kaye, nearly put LAFC ahead in the ninth minute of play off a free kick from Vela. Kaye got his head onto a looping ball into the box but could not beat Tim Melia.
With three minutes to go before the half-hour mark, the Santa Ana native Ramirez did manage to break the deadlock. He stood over a set piece from 22 yards out with a six-man wall in front of Melia.
Pablo Sisniega made the first big save of the night five minutes before the halftime interval. SKC’s Krisztian Nemeth had a point-blank look at goal but Sisniega came up with a big save to preserve LAFC’s lead.
LAFC open the floodgates in the second half
Four minutes after the restart, Rossi scored a sensational second goal two increase his side’s advantage. The 21-year-old Uruguayan darted in from the left wing a bit before unleashing a curling strike that found the far side of the goal.
Carlos Vela simply cannot stop scoring goals. In the 62nd minute, the captain scored his 18th goal of the season with another sublime left-footed finish. He did not have much room inside the box to maneuver. However, Vela found a sliver of daylight and that was all he needed for his finishing touch.
The LAFC goalkeeper, Sisniega, made back-to-back saves off of a corner kick in the 70th minute that kept momentum with his club.
Steven Beitashour gave away a penalty with 10 minutes remaining after getting whistled for a handball inside the box. Dániel Sallói stepped up to the spot but Sisniega, once again, was up to the challenge and thwarted spot kick attempt.
Eventually, in the 85th minute, SKC did find a breakthrough through Yohan Croizet to cut the lead to 3-1.
Right before the end of regulation time, Zelaya scored to open up his LAFC goalscoring account. Vela could not control the ball completely, so he laid it off to the El Salvadorian, who made no mistake with his finish.
Mohamed El Munir’s goal, moments later, made a blistering run from inside his own half towards the area before unleashing his shot past Melia.
LAFC return home on Saturday to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at the Banc of California Stadium.