Last night was another example of why sports aren’t played on paper. On paper, LAFC were the favorites. More talent, on paper, looking to rebound off of a loss, and playing at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps, where they rarely lose. While LAFC were able to salvage a draw, avoiding a second straight loss, they once again looked less than convincing.
Fiery Vancouver Leave LA with Draw, LAFC Salvage Point in Second Half
Both of Vancouver’s goals came in the first half. The first, in the 25th minute courtesy of Déiber Caicedo. A through ball had enough on it to get past Moon-Hwan, who got a toe on it, and land at the feet of Caicedo for a tap in. Cristian Dajome would double the Vancouver lead in the 38th minute. Defending against set pieces have been the Achilles heel for LAFC, and this was no different. A free kick from well outside the box, found itself placed perfect near the penalty spot, where a leaping Dájome got his head on it. Tomas Romero, who’s done well in recent matches, could do nothing but watch as the ball raced into the far side of the goal.
However, this time LAFC had a response in them. Just two minutes later, the home side put on a passing clinic of their own after recovering the ball on a tackle from Raheem Edwards. The magician of the midfield, Eduard Atuesta, sent in a perfect pass that found Carlos Vela at the end of his run, and he slammed home the goal with his right foot. The goal cut the deficit in half just before the break, igniting a bit more from the home crowd. Fans would have to wait until the 75th minute for the equalizer. Defender, Diego Palacios, sent in a perfect cross far post, that found Jose Cifuentes who didn’t need a touch before sending in a rocket, securing the point for LAFC.
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) July 25, 2021
Another match where LAFC had a rocky start. Play was slow, passes were sloppy, possession was sharp, and the attack was left toothless. Vancouver took advantage of the staggered start from the home side, and got two first half goals. Luckily for the black and gold, their trend of giving up last minute goals didn’t continue, though it wasn’t without effort. The whitecaps nearly stole a win on the road, but the defense held up just enough to finish the match splitting the points.
In a season where wins have been hard to come by, and the conference arguably tougher, and closer, than we have seen in recent years, it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity. By the time LAFC kicked off their match, one team above them lost, and another had been losing by two goals. With the top two teams facing off Sunday, meaning a potential third team losing. Hosting the worst team in the conference, on paper, should’ve been three points in the bag, and an ever bigger step in getting back into the title conversation. Instead, it was another performance that leave many with more questions, then answers.
The Last Word
The only consistent aspect of this season, has been the inability to reach levels of the past. A level that many, myself included, still feel LAFC capable of reaching. At best performances this season have been above average, and none have left you feeling like this is the team that can take the crown from Seattle. However, a result is a result, and a draw is far better than a loss. This also is just the first of three straight at home. The next two, Minnesota United and San Jose Quakes. If there was a time to start gathering momentum before All-Star, it’s now.
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