The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) returned home to resume the Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season to face their rivals the LA Galaxy. This marked LAFC’s first game in Banc of California Stadium since March when the COVID-19 virus turned the world upside down causing a global pandemic halting all sporting events.
Since then LAFC participated in the MLS is Back tournament in Orlando, Florida where they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by their host Orlando FC. The team that went to Orlando is not the same team that returned on Saturday.
In Orlando, LAFC was missing their captain Carlos Vela, who opted out of the tournament due to family concerns. Vela returned Saturday to once again lead the team on the pitch. Forward Adama Diomande went with the team to Orlando but found himself injured after the first game and then through mutual agreement parted ways with the team.
Also out for the game were Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez for the Galaxy and Eduard Atuesta for LAFC who was out with a foot injury.
Unlike their match in Orlando where LAFC trounced the Galaxy 6-2, Galaxy won Saturday’s match 2-0 holding the Black and Gold to just three shots on goal. The Galaxy win was historic making it their first away win in the “El Trafico” rivalry.
LAFC gave up a goal in each half due to some bad defensive breakdowns. In the 26th minute, Ethan Zubak scored for the Galaxy off a header when LAFC forgot to mark five players in their box off a short corner kick.
In the 54th minute, Sebastian Lletget made it 2-0 redirecting a Julian Araujo cross past LAFC goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer, Lletget was completely unmarked as he stepped into the shot stunning LAFC.
Things went from bad to worse quickly, just mere minutes later Vela went down holding his knee untouched by any player. He quickly asked to be taken off and was limping noticeably as he was substituted from the game.
After the game, coach Bob Bradley could only speculate but noted Vela blocked a shot and it might have aggravated his MCL.
LAFC never mustered a comeback and Bradley gave his assessment after the match stating:
“It was a terrible game for us…we didn’t look like ourselves…we looked second best throughout the game.”
Defender Tristan Blackmon gave his succinct assessment on behalf of the players: “We didn’t show up.”
Without Vela and Atuesta for the foreseeable future, LAFC does not have the luxury of not “showing up” going forward.