LAFC Claim 3-2 Victory Over the Portland Timber in Season Opener
Los Angeles, CA (March 4, 2023) – LAFC kicked off their 2023 campaign at BMO Stadium with a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers. The Black and Gold kicked off the afternoon by collecting rings. Championship rings that is, as the club held their ring ceremony and raised a total of three championship banners to celebrate their historic 2022 MLS Cup winning season.
Following the festivities, the game kicked-off and it was back like they never left. LAFC started strong building a 3-0 win before leaving it close with the Timbers uncharacteristically conceding late in the game.
When the match started LAFC asserted itself right away putting the Timbers on the defensive and forcing some saves from goalkeeper David Bingham.
The Timbers withstood the LAFC attack but eventually the Black and Gold broke through the Timbers defense.
In the 24th minute, an LAFC corner missed the box but was recovered, the subsequent shot rebounded to Giorgio Chiellini who did not miss from close range. Chiellini became the oldest player (38 years, 208 days) to score his first MLS goal.
After the match, Chiellini said this about the goal, “I’m happy to score a goal as long as we win.”
LAFC doubled their lead in the 34th minute when Kwadwo “Mahala” Opoku was brought down by the Timbers’ Santiago Moreno inside the box awarding the Black and Gold with a penalty kick. Carlos Vela stepped up and had no problem sending Bingham the wrong way doubling LAFC’s lead, 2-1.
After the half, LAFC continued to push the pace scoring early in the 52nd, the goal was thanks to passing clinic. Chiellini got the ball to Vela on the wing who turned inside to find Opoku in the box, Opoku did not miss scoring on a low shot that evaded Bingham.
The Timbers displayed tenacity despite the deficit, getting goals from Evander (62′) and Christian Paredes (84′) to make it a close finish, but in the end, LAFC recorded their sixth straight home opening win.
“Happy to come away with three points … We got off to a good start but didn’t finish the way we wanted to,” said LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo.
“Reasons being … lack of rhythm and maybe lack of fitness. All very normal for the first game of the season so nothing alarming … it is something we have to work on as we go along,” he added.
Next up for LAFC is a midweek match against Alajuelense in the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League. A competition that sees the team traveling to Costa Rica, just another sign of the congested schedule ahead for LAFC as they try to win trophies in four different competitions this season.