LAFC shake the Quakes, 5-1, for three points at The Banc

LAFC vs. San Jose
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Los Angeles, Calif. — LAFC’s second match at home couldn’t have been any different than the first time. The sweltering humidity replaced by a stereotypical SoCal evening, complete with breeze. A small contingent of the 3252 set-up camp across from The Banc. With flares and voices that typically permeate throughout the stadium. Even the moon, rose full with a golden hue. This, was a different match, and LAFC played like it.

LAFC Shake the Quakes for Three Points at The Banc

The first half went the way of the home side. While the confidence for LAFC last night was palpable, it was the passing that immediately let you know this time would be different. Creating chances, finding open spaces and winning early corners, Los Angeles had San Jose grasping at air. Finishing the half with nine shots, it was the lone shot on goal that would be enough for the black and gold.

The 21st minute saw Diego Rossi take possession of a great pass in the box. While he did have a difficult angle on the shot, the Uruguayan made it look easy with a curler that got past the keeper and gave LAFC the lead. The match turned physical as San Jose did what most teams do, try to out-muscle the black and gold. San Jose finished the half with nine fouls.

The second half went much like the first, with LAFC opting for all gas no brakes. In what is becoming the signing of the season, Bradley Wright-Phillips found himself on the score sheet again. A great run in the 49th minute put him just behind the defender, giving enough touch to get past the goalkeeper for the team’s second goal.

With that goal, the floodgates were opened, and LAFC proceeded to put this match away. A deflection in the box gave Jose Cifuentes the chance to turn and shoot. That was all he needed to open his LAFC account in the 64th minute. The rest of the half finished without much from the Quakes. Los Angeles showed no mercy, finishing the match with five goals.

Takeaways

Confidence is Crucial

From the moment they took the pitch for warm-ups, you could sense something different with the LAFC squad last night. The sense of swagger that seeped from their pores in 2019, the confidence that had seemingly evaporated in 2020, was back. While there were still mistakes being made throughout the early part of the first half, what was different was the lack of lowered heads. No longer was every mistake met with dejection, but instead a calm that, like always, things would be okay if they settle in and play their football. And it worked. San Jose or not, a match like this is vital to build momentum for the upcoming rivalry match.

What A Blessing

Latif Blessing is Swiss Army knife personified. While he has yet to don the goalkeeper gloves, he has appeared just about everywhere else. While a great option in attack given his pace, it has been his performances at RB that have stood out. Always giving up the height advantage, he never loses a battle without a fight. He’s constantly in the right positions to make a critical stop and that pace comes in handy when chasing down opposing attackers. While he may be a bit undersized, perhaps it would benefit the team seeing him in defense more often.

Managing the Midfield

The biggest absence for LAFC — for this writer anyways — is Eduard Atuesta. Arguably the most important player for Los Angeles, the Colombian midfielder has been out with injuries. However, if last night is to set a tone for the future, one youngster is emerging as the perfect bridge.

Cifuentes has been a bright spot in the middle of the pitch the last couple of matches. Last night, he put in another stellar performance, even adding a goal to the score sheet. There continues to be rumor and speculation surrounding Atuesta’s futures, and while a transfer is all but inevitable, fans can rest easier if Cifuentes can continue his rise.

Look Ahead for LAFC

LAFC will stay in Los Angeles County, traveling to Carson in a few days time for their rematch against the Galaxy. The word revenge will be overused and the thoughts of the shutout will still be on the minds of the players.

After a match like last night, look for LAFC to come out with the same swagger. They will likely still be without Vela and Atuesta, so sustaining momentum from last night will be go a long way to avoid another disappointing derby result.

 

 

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