Carlos Vela returns for LAFC in LA Clásico victory over Galaxy

Carlos Vela Returns LAFC
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Los Angeles, Calif. — For the first time in months, the overcast settled over The Banc wasn’t due to poor air quality or flares, but fall. The dreary, Los Angeles afternoon set the stage for another chapter in the LA Clásico. The buzz was even more intense prior to the match as LAFC saw a return to the squad for reigning MVP Carlos Vela. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Galaxy held out his counterpart, Chicharito.

It was still a massive boost to see #10 for the black and gold available.

Carlos Vela Returns for LAFC in LA Clásico Victory

The match was even throughout the early part of the half. Neither side was able to break down the opposing defense in the final third and neither side offering up much in the way of scoring chances. The match took a dramatic shift in the 25th minute when VAR came into play on a possible penalty. While the penalty was not awarded — due to the tackle being just outside the box — the Galaxy’s Pipo González was still shown a red card.

However, even down to 10 men, the Galaxy did well to defend and finished out the half without giving up a goal.

The second half began with short-handed Galaxy trying to spark an upset, finding space in the LAFC final third. However, the home side would put an end to the rising confidence of the visitors, in the 58th minute. Galaxy keeper Jonathan Klinsmann found himself just a bit too far outside of his box and LAFC’s Danny Musovski took advantage with a classy chip for the goal. While it wasn’t the flashiest, nor was it the strongest performance from the black and gold, it was enough for the three points.

However, leave it to the reigning MVP to send the crowd home even happier. The returning Carlos Vela found a chance to extend the lead and took it in style. His 90th minute goal sealed the win and gave hope to the squad’s title chances.

Defending the Final Third

In a season where the defense is under massive scrutiny, it’s important to highlight the days they perform well. Today was one of those days. In fairness, after going down to 10 men, Galaxy didn’t have much to attack with. However, even prior to the sending off, the visitors were finding it difficult to get looks at the goal. The Galaxy finished with one shot on goal, and had only five total shots.

The last few matches LAFC have limited the opposition’s shots on goals, with Portland topping the list at six shots. While they may not look dominant, the back four has come a long way over the course of the season. Not doing too much is going to be the key to continued success. If they can limit looks on goal, they can get back to winning by wide margins.

The Return of El Rey

The biggest story of the day, regardless of result, was always going to be the return of Charlie Candle, El Rey, reigning MVP: Carlos Vela. After suffering an MCL injury in a 0-2 loss to this Galaxy side a couple of months ago, the league’s best returned without missing a beat. While he came on in the 70th minute, allowing only 20 minutes of play time, he didn’t need much more time to assert his dominance.

Not one to be outdone, Vela decided to raise the difficulty on the chip shot, after what Musovski did earlier. His goal was perfect in its proof that his presence was sorely missed. Doing what only he seems to be able to do, make something of nothing. After his “championship or the season is a failure” comments earlier in the season, he returns at the perfect time to push for the elusive MLS Cup.

Last Word

This win was a bit expected. The Galaxy are in a run of horrible form, and are uninspired with their squad selection. However, every win down the stretch is an important one. Perhaps the biggest news of all is the squad getting healthy. For the first time since the early weeks of March, this LAFC squad is near full strength. The best ability in sports is availability, and LAFC with an entire squad available, is a very scary prospect.

After what has been a rough season, the team can still achieve the one goal they set out for themselves pre-season. Winning the MLS Cup. They are getting healthier, but can they get wins when it matters most?


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