LAFC had 45 minutes to answer the age-old question: “can LAFC score without Carlos Vela?”
It looked like the answer was a resounding no until Brian Rodriguez sent a low cross into the Portland Timbers goal that found Mamadou Fall to salvage a tie in the 93rd minute of stoppage time. Having gotten the 1-1 draw the next question to be answered was, “why was Vela taken out at halftime?”
In his postgame comments, Steve Cherundolo added clarity to the Vela substitution stating: “Carlos, we took off at halftime just precautionary, but it doesn’t seem severe.”
Cherundolo added that they’ll continue to assess Vela’s situation.
When the match started, LAFC was looking to avoid a fourth loss in a row to the Timbers. Early on LAFC retained possession and got their chances from set-pieces. Meanwhile, the Timbers sat back with nine in front of their goal, hoping to create chances on the counter-attack.
In the 18th minute, the Timbers caught LAFC napping, a blocked shot in their goal fell to Timbers midfielder Yimmi Chara who produced his second bicycle kick goal in as many weeks for a 1-0 score.
LAFC only had one shot on goal in the first half but they had plenty of chances. One Carlos Vela free-kick went just over the bar, a corner kick rattled around in the box but the Timbers managed to get out of danger, and the Timbers Claudio Bravo put a ball onto his own post but it stayed out.
The surprise coming out of halftime was the substitution of Carlos Vela who remained on the bench for the entire second half. The Timbers continued chippy play caught up to them, Claudio Bravo picked up his second yellow card resulting in his expulsion. Combined the Timbers had six yellow cards in the game.
Despite being down to 10 men, the Timbers remained structured in the back and continuously prevented LAFC from scoring. That was the story until Rodriguez found Fall and the Black and Gold salvaged the draw.
Now everyone must wait to find out if Vela will accompany the team to Miami for their next match. Regardless if Vela is with the team, LAFC will have to figure out a way to unlock their offense with or without him.