Recap — For the second straight season, the Seattle Sounders FC have eliminated LAFC in the MLS Playoffs. For the second season, the Sounders won with a 3-1 score line. In fairness, Seattle were the favorites coming into the match.
However, it doesn’t ease the disappointment any less.
Seattle Sounders Eliminate LAFC for Second Straight Season
Seattle wasted no time getting on the board, with Nicolas Lodeiro on the end of a fantastic Jordan Morris flick, scoring in the 18th minute. Only three minutes later it looked as if LAFC would level proceedings after Carlos Vela drew a penalty off a Nouhou foul. However, the shot from the spot was saved comfortably by Stefan Frei, keeping the Seattle lead at one. The rest of the first half was a masterclass in possession with both sides keeping the ball in the middle of the pitch.
The second half saw the separation between a championship team and a team still searching. The Sounders picked up the passing early on, and in the 53rd minute Jordan Morris missed a sitter for the second. It wasn’t too long a wait for the home side, with a corner in the 66th minute leading to a goal. Vela headed the incoming ball, only for it to find Raul Ruidiaz back post, for a laser into the net, blowing past the hand of Sisniega.
LAFC finally showed a bit of fight in the 77th minute, pulling one back. Vela put in a picture perfect cross into the box and onto the foot of a streaking Eduard Atuesta. However, the comeback came to an abrupt end in the 80th minute. A lob pass from Lodeiro found Ruidiaz, who then found Morris on an open run. Morris made up for his earlier miss, scoring Seattle’s third and securing the win.
"The process of getting better never stops. The fact we're now out of the playoffs doesn't stop us from trying to push our team forward."
— LAFC (@LAFC) November 25, 2020
Rough End to Rough Season
This year has been one that will likely never be talked about again among LAFC supporters. Losing the MLS is Back Tournament to an inferior Orlando City side was just the start of what was a roller-coaster ride. In many ways, it felt like what could go wrong did, from injuries to key players for extended periods of time, lacking consistency, poor form and players with positive COVID-19 results.
While the regular season may have ended with a whimper, the longest year continues with Champion’s League just a month away. LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye made clear trophies are still the goal. “We have the opportunity to win a trophy. A lot of MLS teams are fighting for one right now and we have an opportunity to fight for another, so we need to put all our focus towards that” Kaye said after the loss.
No Bite Up Front
The night in attack for LAFC can be summed up with the imagery of Vela’s penalty. Lackluster, nonchalant and reliant more on the opposition making a mistake. Missing Rodriguez, Rossi, and having Danny Musovski as a late scratch, was never a recipe for goals. However, to see a poorly taken penalty from Vela, in addition to not having others contribute, was tough. LAFC finished the match with only four shots on goal, less than 50% possession, and twice as many corners (8). Typically, this would be the time to assess the line-up, focus on the off-season, and move on to next season, but with CCL around the corner, issues need to be resolved now if a trophy is still in the cards for 2020.
— LAFC (@LAFC) November 25, 2020
The Last Word
For the third season in a row, a very talented LAFC team has met a very disappointing end. While this year may be wildly different than any other year, it’s hard — for me at least — to completely blame it all on the times we are in. Every team in the MLS faced the same situations as LAFC, every team had to battle an odd schedule, balance social issues and mental health, along with tactics and training.
Every team faced the same adversity, and once again, the league’s most consistent team, Seattle, are making a run. A team that was built to mirror the Lakers has so far looked like the Clippers. While the seat for Bob Bradley is far from hot, it should be getting toasty, with 2021 set to be a year with all the expectations.