LAFC, heading into El Trafico III on Friday, secured their second straight 2-0 win. Goals from Lee Nguyen and Diego Rossi helped seal all three points over the Colorado Rapids, which capped off a three-game home stand.
“Two-zero wins this time of year are important this time of year because two-zero wins usually mean that there’s a solid win from start to finish,” Bob Bradley said afterwards.
The newest MLS franchise are inching closer to the top spot in the Western Conference standings. As things stand, LAFC sit in third, level on points with Sporting Kansas City. Only goal differential separate the two.
Bradley put out a pretty strong starting lineup against the Rapids at the Banc of California Stadium on Sunday. In fact, Bradley did not make any alterations from the previous match against Real Salt Lake.
Injury Concerns Surround Opening 45 Minutes
Laurent Ciman, the set piece specialist, tried an effort from 40 yards away. His attempt looked like it was going to test Tim Howard at first. In the end, though, it flew over the crossbar.
Then, Ciman was involved in another incident at the 20 minute mark. Tyler Miller came off his line to catch a cross and his knee hit Ciman’s shoulder. The LAFC captain had to receive treatment, and at one point, it appeared that Walker Zimmerman was due to replace him. But the Belgian managed to play the full 90 minutes.
Another potential injury scare occurred ten minutes later. Off of a set piece, two Rapids defenders collided with each other, and in the process, Eduard Atuesta got smacked in the mouth and received attention from the medical staff as well. But, like Ciman, the young Colombian midfielder saw out the rest of the match.
The action started finally ramping up 35 minutes after kickoff. Niki Jackson, who replaced the injured Sam Nicholson, hit an attempt low. The LAFC goalkeeper was quick to react and made his save look rather easy.
A minute later, Carlos Vela ripped a shot at Howard, who had his near post covered well. Three minutes after that, the Rapids should have done better with the counter they had progressing up the pitch.
Jack McBean, the former Galaxy home grown product, was one on one with Ciman, but did have support down the right in Jackson. For some reason, McBean slowed the play up instead of slipping Jackson in behind the LAFC defense. Ciman closed the space down and broke up the play with a sliding tackle to keep things scoreless.
Ciman nearly converted a more dangerous free kick at the conclusion of the first half. He sent a bending ball flying at the near post. It took Howard a split second to set himself to make the save, but he did so with relative aplomb.
LAFC Score Twice in Second Half to Win
LAFC took the initiative to Colorado to start the last of the 45 minutes. The Rapids could not clear their lines and Lee Nguyen won possession at the top of the box in the 49th minute. He continued his run further forward before stopping, turning, and flicking his shot into the top corner to open the scoring.
A ten minute span saw Colorado make inwards into this match and it could have been dangerous for LAFC. The Newport Beach native, McBean, hit a weak shot on frame. Danilo Silva needed to make a last ditch tackle to keep things 1-0 in the hosts favor.
Then, McBean headed a ball straight into Miller’s hands. Kellyn Acosta, to finish off this sequence, forced Miller to tip a bullet of a shot around the goal.
Latif Blessing made his 50th MLS appearance, and a minute later, LAFC scored their goal of the night. Rossi received a back heel pass from Adama Diomande, who saw action for the first time since his injury, near midfield. No Rapids defender closed the Uruguayan down. The speedy winger blazed into the penalty area and netted his eighth goal of the season.
“We were in that type of play that Bob (Bradley) asked us to do and we did,” Rossi said when talking about his goal.
“We are ready [to beat] the Galaxy and I hope we can do it,” Vela told media.
LAFC will take on the LA Galaxy for the third time this Friday night at the StubHub Center. Kick off is set for 7:30 PM PST.