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LAFC: 1-0 Season opening win over Inter Miami CF

LAFC Carlos Vela
Carlos Vela (LAFC) chipping the ball towards goal | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | March 1, 2020

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) kicked off its 2020 MLS season against the expansion Inter Miami CF with a 1-0 home win, thanks to their captain Carlos Vela who scored the lone goal in the 44th minute.

LAFC was looking to get started on another season and hoping for continued regular season success at Banc of California Stadium. For Inter Miami it was about the beginning of a lot of firsts in their inaugural season.

LAFC vs Inter Miami FC
Inter Miami FC attacker Lee Nguyen trying to get past LAFC players Carlos Vela and Eduard Atuesta | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | March 1, 2020

Los Angeles was able to dominate possession and push the tempo in the game, but Inter Miami had their chances to get onto the scoresheet.

Despite the tight affair Inter Miami learned what the rest of the MLS already knew, you can’t let Carlos Vela get space with the ball on his left foot.

LAFC vs Inter Miami FC
Carlos Vela (LAFC) before the match against Inter Miami FC | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | March 1, 2020

Vela celebrated his birthday by giving a gift to the 22,000 in attendance, creating another magical moment in front of the stadium.

Vela kept the ball and avoided the Inter Miami defenders while bringing the ball into the box and then chipped the ball past Inter Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles into the back of the net.

A sublime moment to take the team into the lead at halftime.

After the game LAFC defender Jordan Harvey described the team’s reaction to Vela:

“Anytime he gets the ball on that left foot we all hold our breath waiting for the magic to happen”

For the rest of the game both goalkeepers kept the score as it was, Robles made nine saves during the game and new LAFC goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer had seven saves to get the clean sheet.

LAFC vs Inter Miami FC
LAFC goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer making the spectacular save | Photo by Juan Contreras for LA Soccer Nation | March 1, 2020

It was back-to-back clean sheets for LAFC the first time they had done that since August of 2019.

Coach Bob Bradley praised the team effort:

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“After the effort on Thursday winning today was a team win…”

Bradley praised the collective defensive effort:

Kenneth makes a couple big saves a new goalkeeper who settled in a good way…Jordan (Harvey) filled in today and Jordan is just a dependable guy…Dejan (Jakovic) is a great story…certain things have clicked and he’s been incredible so far.”

With the win, LAFC will get a week off after playing twice in four days. With Vela’s magic and the collective defensive effort, they are well on their way to being favorites in the MLS again.

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