The Los Angeles Football Club took the show on the road and debuted new faces taking down Nashville SC, 2-1. Giorgio Chiellini started his first game with LAFC playing 60 minutes, ultimately to get him fit and ready to play a full match.
Gareth Bale came off the bench for this game debuting in the 72nd minute. Bale made some slick plays but ultimately neither player factored into the winning goals.
It was older stalwarts Cristian “Chicho” Arango and Jose Cifuentes who scored to provide the winning margin. A goal in each half was all LAFC needed to get the three points.
In the 27th minute, Arango got LAFC on the board first scoring his eighth goal of the season by playing a beautiful one-touch past a defender and beating the goalkeeper to score.
Nashville was able to equalize right before halftime on a PK that was confirmed by the Video Assisted Referee (VAR) system.
Undaunted LAFC came out flying in the second-half and regained the lead in the 46th minute when Cifuentes poached a rebound that hit the post to score his third goal in the last two weeks.
After regaining the lead, the Black and Gold’s defensive spine stiffened preventing Nashville from getting back in the game. With the win, LAFC returned to the top of the Supporters Shield standings and sit atop of the Western standings.
After the game coach, Steve Cherundolo talked about the debuts of the new signees: “Giorgio we chose to start…to last for 60 minutes was great for the group…a player of his caliber he prides himself on not making mistakes, he can get on the plane tonight say he played a mistake-free game…It was really important for us to get him and Gareth a win in their first game.”
On Bale’s debut, Cherundolo said: “It was excellent, every touch was great his quality on the ball is incredible, he is also big and physical…with only a few training sessions in his legs to get 20 minutes out of him was great.”
For his part part Chiellini commented on his debut saying, “I started feeling better minute by minute my teammates helped me a lot…I’m very happy about this when, it’s important because the away game is difficult to win…if you want to stay atop of the league you have to win away.”
Bale talked to media afterwards as well, saying: “I was itching to get in help the team with some minutes…good to get some minutes and more importantly to get the win.”
LAFC will continue their season with another away challenge in Kansas City, supporters can expect to see even more of Bale and Chiellini as they become fully integrated into the team both on and off the pitch.