Recap — The roller-coaster season continues for LAFC. After winning two-straight for the first time all year, they are back in the loss column. While this was far from the side that put six past the Vancouver Whitecaps last time out, the match felt winnable, if not for continued poor play.
A short-handed LAFC came into the match dealing not just with the several key players off injured, but also had to deal with the group of players away on international duty. However, even when close to full strength, LAFC have struggled to capture their proper form, all season.
Short-Handed LAFC Fall to Vancouver Second Time Around
Proceedings got off to an ominous start for those watching from Los Angeles. While the early part of the match was all Vancouver, most of the first half was unwatchable for LAFC fans — literally. Technical difficulties led to blank screens, which may have been for the best, as they didn’t see the Whitecaps goal to put them behind. In the 30th minute, precise passing, and a great attack, led to a close-range Lucas Cavallini goal.
The second half started well enough for LAFC, but it didn’t take long for Vancouver to extend their lead. Cavallini found himself with space in the same exact spot as before, though this time launching a side-kicked rocket past Pablo Sisniega, in the 59th minute. Showing no quit, Los Angeles found themselves with a penalty opportunity late in the match. Eduard Atuesta stepped up to the spot and pulled one back for LAFC in the 83rd minute. However, it wouldn’t be enough to to push for a result, and the Whitecaps got revenge and the three points.
The Obvious: LAFC Absences
With all due respect, this was as close to a ‘reserves’ side as we’ve seen from LAFC. In addition to the continued absence of Carlos Vela and Tristan Blackmon, due to injury, the black and gold were missing a recently injured Mark-Anthony Kaye and Andy Najar. They were also without Cifuentes, Rodriguez and Rossi, as all three are away representing their respective countries. That made way for several debuts, and a lot of youth within the line-up, against a team not only looking for revenge after a rout last time they faced LAFC, but also fighting for a postseason spot.
The lack of chemistry at every part of the pitch was painfully evident. The defense wasn’t able to recover well enough to stop counter-attacks, players marking the wrong attackers, and the fluidity of their own attack, never seemed to get going. LAFC finished the match with just one shot on target, the penalty conversion in the 82nd minute. Much like last match, this was tough to watch from a play perspective for the black and gold. They never seemed to find their rhythm and never felt comfortable with being able to stop Vancouver. Unfortunately, unlike the match against Seattle, they couldn’t overcome for the result.
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) October 15, 2020
Glimpse Into The Future
The gold lining to the black cloud from last night, are the foundations of the future look really good. Two LAFC Academy players made their MLS debuts. Christian Torres, at just 16-years-old, got his first MLS start, while Erik Dueñas, 15-years-old, made his MLS debut as a sub, coming on in the 71st minute. In addition, new signing, 19-year-old “Mahala,” made his LAFC debut as a sub in the 71st minute as well. While non of the young players made enough of an impact to change the match, they did provide enough to prove the future, regardless of who comes and goes, is bright for LAFC.
Last Word on LAFC vs. Vancouver
Most of the season has been spent scratching heads, wondering when this team will ‘turn it on,’ a-la Seattle Sounders. However, the time has long passed to admit that day will never come. This team hasn’t been there before and nothing in their history shows they can overcome a slow start to achieve a championship. It doesn’t mean they can’t win it all, it just means expecting to see the 2019 LAFC team, this year, is pointless.
While they currently sit in fourth, they are only three points clear of missing out on the playoffs, with five tough matches left in the season. Next up, is their first of two remaining matches against the Portland Timbers. Portland are in second, but tied with Seattle on points, and will be looking to take the top spot. A win would be ideal, but finding consistency is the biggest goal, because getting to the postseason means nothing if you’re headed home in the first round.
"It's a crazy year. You can spend all your time complaining but that doesn't get you very far."
— LAFC (@LAFC) October 15, 2020