LOS ANGELES (March 4, 2019) – LAFC didn’t start too hot, but they finished on fire and an Adama Diomande goal at the death gave them a deserved three points on the night, beating Sporting KC 2-1 in their opening match of 2019.
Adama Diomande Wins it at the Death for LAFC
Sporting KC started the party inside the first 20 minutes. They looked lively considering their travels, and pushed hard for a goal. They were rewarded in the 16th minute as the ball cycled out to Johnny Russell. Russell beat his defender an found an unmarked Krisztian Nemeth in a pocket of space, whose first time finish nestled perfectly into the right hand corner of Tyler Miller’s net.
LAFC responded with plenty of pressure and had a strong 15 minute spell of chances, mostly offside though. It went into halftime 1-0. Almost immediately from the restart, Diego Rossi received the ball wide right in space, cut back on Graham Zusi, and unleashed a beautiful curling effort that Melia just couldn’t get enough on to deflect it away from the net.
Roger Espinoza saw a red card in the 84th minute, after earning his second yellow of the match for a pretty late and clumsy challenge on Kaye. Sporting KC saw numerous yellow cards for persistent infringement and tactical fouls, as they attempted to slow down the LAFC attack. Whether or not the red-card had anything to do with the ending is up for debate.
- Sporting KC looked very tired in the second half. An un-rotated squad from Thursday’s CONCACAF Champions League matchup at high-altitude, Sporting didn’t quite look tired in the first 30-45 minutes. But it really started to sink in during the second half. Tired minds, tired legs led to plenty of mistakes from Sporting KC, and likely cost them at the end of the game. It’s early though, and they won’t pay too high a price for it, considering there are 33 of these things left.
- LAFC still leave themselves prone to counters. Outside of Mark Anthony Kaye in the midfield, LAFC are still as gung-ho as ever. They might’ve been burned more if it wasn’t for a tired Sporting side. The attack looks nice, don’t get me wrong, but they’ve left themselves exposed too many times, and if an opponent has a sharper night than that, they’ll be in trouble.
- A preview of the 2019 Western Conference Finals? For my money, these two are the best two teams in the Western Conference, and they’ll be jostling each other at the top of the standings in the West. Seattle will certainly have something to say about it, yes. But right now, who would bet against either of these two?