Vela makes history; LAFC clinches playoff spot in 2-0 win

In a wild match in Salt Lake, 10-men LAFC defeated 10-men Real Salt Lake 2-0 at the Rio Tinto Stadium. With this victory, LAFC became the first side to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Bob Bradley only made one change to his starting lineup for this match. Walker Zimmerman returned from his suspension and slotted into his regular center back position.

Adama Diomande had two opportunities early on in the match. His first, in the 15th minute, raced onto a pass inside the box and forced Nick Rimando to make a fine save. Then, five minutes later, Diomande smacked the right post with an effort from just outside the area.

There was a bit of confusion in the 25th minute that forced the referee to overturn both a penalty and a red card. 

Jordan Harvey stormed into the penalty box was taken down before laying the ball off to Latif Blessing. Then Blessing continued the move by feeding Diomande who had his attempt blocked on the line. 

Referee Baldomero Toledo pointed to the spot immediately and showed Aaron Herrera a straight red card. However, after video review, Toledo rescinded both errors.

With minutes remaining in the first half, Tyler Miller came up with one of his few saves of the night, stopping Jefferson Savarino at the near post. 

After just coming back from suspension, Zimmerman was shown a second yellow card two minutes after the match restarted for bringing down Everton.

Vela sets record

Shortly after the hour mark, Carlos Vela was hauled down inside the box Herrera, who was shown a red card that would not be overturned this time. Vela stepped up to the spot and beat Rimando with an excellent spot-kick. 

The captain’s goal was record-setting. He broke the MLS record, which was held by Sebastian Giovinco, for the most combined goals and assists in one season with 24 goals and 15 assists.

Diomande finally got on the score sheet in the 82nd minute. Lee Nguyen found the striker in space, who took one touch to settle the ball into space before firing into the far side of the net.

Next Up

LAFC have a big week coming up, playing two more matches with just a few days of rest.

First, they take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday. Then, they take on the LA Galaxy on Sunday. Both matches are set to kick off at 7:30 PM.

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