LAFC power through against Real Salt Lake

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) extended its winning streak to three with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Banc of California Stadium.

Diego Rossi gave LAFC the lead early in the game while Carlos Vela score the winner 11 minutes from the end, delighting the sellout crowd of 22,490.

Photo courtesy of LAFC

“Overall, really good team game,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “Started with great tempo. Got a goal. Lost a little bit in the first half. We got spread out and the tempo dropped. Recommitted ourselves in the second half, pushing up and getting the distances right so that now there’s more short passes so when balls turn over we have more people around the ball.

“Had to work hard for it, and it’s a night where certainly we could have scored more goals but we’re creating a lot of chances,” Bradley continued. “Great finish by Carlos to nail down — to nail the lead down.”

From the opening whistle, LAFC were on the attack, forcing RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa to make three saves in the opening five minutes.

The home side would finally break through in the 10th minute when Diego Rossi played a quick give-and-go with Jose Cifuentes before slotting a low shot past Ochoa, to put the home side up 1-0.

The goal was Rossi’s team-best fifth of the season, while Cifuentes now has a goal or an assist in each of LAFC’s last four games.

Photo courtesy of LAFC

After the goal, LAFC would keep up the attacking pressure, only for Salt Lake to hit them on a quick counterattack to tie the score in the 18th minute. Defender Aaron Herrera provided the finish, scoring with his team’s only shot of the opening half.

That goal was the first allowed by LAFC goalkeeper Tomas Romero since June 26, ending a string of 201 minutes without conceding a goal. Despite outshooting RSL 11-1 in the first half, LAFC were even more dominate after the break.

The club nearly went back in front in the 60th minute, only for Vela, who finished the game with eight shots while also hitting the woodwork twice, to see his penalty kick saved by Ochoa, keeping the score 1-1.

Photo courtesy of LAFC

Vela would eventually grab the game-winner in the 79th minute when he took a cross-field pass from Kim Moon-Hwan and fired a left-footed shot into the net from a tight angle to give LAFC the 2-1 victory.

“LAFC is a club that is expected to dominate games and for us to be able to take the game and to play our philosophy of football, and for us to take the game to the opponent each game, game in and game out, that’s the type of football that we want,” Moon-Hwan said.

The goal came on one of LAFC’s 18 second half shots, setting a new club record for shots in a half. With the win, LAFC is now 6-4-3 for 21 points and tied for fourth place in the Western Conference standings. LAFC back Marco Farfan said the team just kept pushing through as a unit to secure the victory.

“A lot of positives but a lot of things to work on, as well, the counterattack, but the mentality of the group going into the game was very positive and confident and even when we got scored on, we knew we could get the win especially at home. So we kept pushing and we didn’t let our guard down,” Farfan said.

LAFC returns to action on Wednesday, July 21 when it hits the road to face the Portland Timbers. That game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes.