The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) had an uncharacteristically rough night on defense against the Philadelphia Union as a wild game at Banc of California Stadium ended in a 3-3 tie.
LAFC coach Bob Bradley acknowledged the ups and downs after the game:
“A weird early season game, different than other games we’ve had, the disappointing part is giving up three goals.”
Give LAFC credit as it seemed that every time they conceded they immediately went on the attack and were able to tie the game up. Despite holding possession better and making the greater number of passes LAFC committed some costly turnovers that created chances for the Union who were able to capitalize.
LAFC on their part created a lot of chances putting 11 shots on goal but Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made eight saves saving his team time and time again to preserve the tie.
Los Angeles goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer looked shaky being beaten twice from outside, once on Sergio Santos goal to start the scoring and then on an amazing 40-yard free kick from Jakob Glesnes.
LAFC Defender Dejan Jakovic spoke about Vermeer after the game stating:
“Just to keep pushing. Sometimes when players come in it takes a little bit to adjust to the league. I think he’s done well. He made a couple big saves in the game. Just keep pushing forward.”
In the end, though Vermeer saved the team making a kick save to preserve the tie after a shot had bounced off the goalpost. Vermeer will have to be sharper moving forward after back-to-back shutouts as he did not play his best Sunday night.
It was captain Carlos Vela who got the team going after the Santos opener tying the game at one-all in the 38th minute with a perfectly placed free kick from just outside the box.
For Vela, it was his 50th MLS goal scored in 61 league games making him the third-fastest player to get 50 goals in MLS history.
In the second half after the Glesnes goal, LAFC quickly equalized when at the 49th minute Diego Rossi curled a shot into the upper corner avoiding the hands of Blake. Rossi was unlucky to score more, Blake was able to save three of Rossi’s shots on goal, the one he missed tied the game at two.
After another Union goal, Los Angeles again equalized, this time in the 71st minute. A corner kick created a scramble in the Union goal, defender Eddie Segura was able to lash his foot on a blocked shot that deflected off Blake and into the net.
Segura’s first goal tied the score at three goals apiece and it was also the last of the game. Despite a continued effort to get the full three points, LAFC was unable to solve Blake for the win.
It will be a quick turnaround and LAFC will have to do better keeping the ball out of the net. Their next challenge will be the home and away matches against Liga MX side Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
If LAFC plays like they did Sunday night, they will find themselves out of that tournament and start their MLS season on the wrong foot.