PORTLAND, Ore. (June 1, 2019) – We may be a month from July, but last night had all the fireworks expected from a Portland Timbers match. Portland had planned a celebration to coincide with the re-opening of Providence Park, but LAFC had other plans. Both on the pitch, and in the stands, the Los Angeles Football Club mad their presence known.
LAFC Spoil Portland’s Providence Park Home Opener
The first half went about as perfect as it could for the visitors. Carlos Vela opened up scoring when he was able to intercept a pass from Keeper, Jeff Attinella, and finished calmly, giving them the lead in the sixth minute. After a stunning miss earlier in the match, Diego Rossi found redemption in the 34th minute, getting on the end of a Tristan Blackmon ball in.
LAFC hold off Portland in physically played match at Providence Park
With a two goal lead at the half, and playing as close to perfect as they could have, it was looking like an easy three points. However, Portland were not about to just let the visitors crash their housewarming party. Within seconds of the second half kickoff, Christhian Paredes found the net on a second chance, after Tyler Miller stopped a point blank Brian Fernandes header.
Just when it seemed as though Portland would make a go of it at Providence Park, Latif Blessing crushed their comeback hopes. In the 54th minute, Jordan Harvey sent in the most picturesque cross seen this season, and blessing snatched it from the silver platter, getting his foot on it to finish. LAFC keeper, Tyler Miller, did all he could to keep out the Portland peppering of goal. However, in the 84th minute Brian Fernandes pulled out a bicycle kick, giving Portland their second and final goal.
This is a rivalry
These two teams proved once again last night, that they very strongly dislike one another. LAFC hold a 3-1-1 advantage in the series between the two after last night’s win. However, aside from a 4-1 LAFC rout earlier this season, all matches have been close. In addition, all matches have been physical.
A fraught final 20 minutes included, four yellows, several dangerous challenges, a scuffle, and eight minutes of stoppage time. It seems the physicality between these two teams will never die down, so expected a harder fought matches in the future.
It is rare in a match where a keeper concedes two goals, you come away feeling like they were the man of the match. However, for Miller, that is exactly what it looked like. Consider first that both conceded goals were not your typical goals.
One, a goal after an incredible save that kept out the original shot, the other, a bicycle kick sent in after a great headed pass. Not to make excuses, but considering he finished the night with five saves, it’s safe to say Portland may have won easily without Miller’s performance. This continues a great run of form for the keeper, who will represent the USMNT in the upcoming Gold Cup tournament.
Ill timed break at Providence Park
LAFC are the best team in the league. They are on pace to break several records, and Carlos Vela continues to cement his name as this year’s MVP. What’s more? They have only lost once. In a middle of the week match, on short rest, on the road, with a slightly rotated squad. Three matches aside, they have looked as close to unbeatable as a one loss team could look.
Unfortunately, that momentum and chemistry will be put to the test in the coming month. With the Gold Cup Tournament set to start in two weeks, many who will represent their respective countries, will start to depart for camp. LAFC have a handful of players set to participate in the upcoming tournament, and depending how far some get, many could be gone until early July.
The look ahead
LAFC have only one match between now and June 28, having the majority of the Gold Cup tournament, off. However, that one match is one that will provide a chance at a trophy. The fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup will take place June 11, as LAFC travel to face Real Salt Lake. RSL are no strangers to knocking LAFC out of tournaments, having eliminated LAFC from the playoffs last season. Los Angeles will be reliant on their youth and reserve players for this match, providing many with a glimpse at just how deep this LAFC team are.