LAFC could not have asked for a better night against the Columbus Crew at home on Saturday night. Two goals inside the first ten minutes from the returning captain, Laurent Ciman, and Adama Diomande made all the difference.
Three points for the home side were huge, especially coming against a Columbus side that’s challenging in the Eastern Conference.
Even though LAFC had a midweek match against Sacramento Republic in the U.S. Open Cup, Bob Bradley still opted for a strong side. Bradley switch to a 4-3-3 and made only three changes to the starting lineup, bringing in Ciman, Diomande and Jordan Harvey.
Laurent Ciman Happy to Be Home
LAFC began with an intensity that was rewarded within the first eight minutes of play. In his first match since May 31st, Ciman stood over a free kick. The Belgian, who was the last man cut from the World Cup roster, curled his shot around the Columbus wall and found the bottom right corner of the net.
“I was happy to come back and get going right away,” Ciman told the media after the match.
“I felt confident when taking the free kick.”
Diomande Continuing Fine Form
Four minutes later, Adama Diomande scored this third goal in his third consecutive match played. Latif Blessing, the hero from Wednesday night, cut in from the left side of the pitch before finding Benny Feilhaber. Feilhaber proceeded to lay the ball off to Lee Nguyen before finding Diomande in space. The Norwegian striker was able to run straight through the Columbus defense and slotted his shot past Joe Kempin.
Diomande nearly had his second of the night 12 minutes into the contest. Nguyen floated his free kick towards the back post, where the former Stabæk man headed the cross just wide.
Columbus’ lone opportunity of the night came in the 69th minute. Federico Higuain headed a ball past Tyler Miller, but the assistant referee ruled the goal out for offside.
With four minutes remaining, Diomande had one more chance to double his own scoring tally. He was left one on one with Kempin, but the effort was hit straight at the former Galaxy goalkeeper.
Despite missing a couple of key men – Carlos Vela and Marco Ureña – LAFC keep humming along. Their latest victory marks four in row, while winning back-to-back MLS matches to keep them in the thick of the playoff race.
Next LAFC Match
Bob Bradley will be thankful for the rest this upcoming week. They will get a full seven days’ off to prepare for the Philadelphia Union. These two clubs are scheduled to kick off at 5:00 PM Saturday, June 30th.