Set-Pieces help LAFC overcome Red Bulls pressure in dramatic win at home

LAFC overcome Red Bulls
LOS ANGELES, CA — AUGUST 11: Eddie Segura #4 of Los Angeles FC celebrates his goal with Carlos Vela #10 and Eduard Atuesta #20 of Los Angeles FC goal during Los Angeles FC's MLS match against New York Red Bulls at the Banc of California Stadium on August 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles FC won the match 4-2 (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images).

Los Angeles, California — After a rocky few weeks, LAFC have once again found themselves on the right side of a run. Extending their unbeaten stretch to a modest three games with their latest win, LAFC have all but cemented their place at the top. Hosting a New York Red Bulls side fighting for their playoff lives, the victory was anything but easy.

Set-Pieces help LAFC overcome Red Bulls pressure in dramatic win at home

In truth, both sides were able to execute their respective game plans throughout the match. The Red Bulls wanted to press, putting pressure on the midfield of LAFC, creating chances on the counter-attack. LAFC, as they have all season, wanted to come out attacking. They played the ball out wide, set up passes and through balls into the box for clear looks.

LAFC got on the scoresheet first, when Carlos Vela swung in a perfect free-kick, finding a leaping Jordan Harvey. His goal in the 23rd minute was his first in two years. Just two minutes later, LAFC found another goal, when Eduard Atuesta found Steven Beitashour, who found Latif Blessing. A diving Blessing was able to chip the ball over Luis Robles, giving the home side an early two goal lead.

New York was not to be beat that easily. Once the shock of getting punched in the mouth wore off, the Red Bulls settled in with a full-pitch press. Christian Casseres gave his side a boost when he conjured a goal from thin air in the 42nd minute. Aforementioned pressure led to another chance minutes later.

However, LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller was helpless as the ball hit the post, then his backside, into the net, sending it to the half level. However, a 60th minute penalty awarded to LAFC spelled the end for a gritty New York side. Vela converted the penalty for the lead. Meanwhile, a fourth goal late from Eddie Segura sealed the win.

Focus is Key

The end of the MLS season is near, with only 10 matches left in the regular season, most teams around the league are fighting for seeding. Having sat at the top for all but four weeks of the season, LAFC find themselves close to clinching the top seed. However, tonight was more proof that you can lose a lead just as easy as you built it.

The fact that New York was able to get two goals that quick is a bit concerning. In addition, the injuries along the defense and the questions around who the number one keeper going forward should be. The best thing for Los Angles would be to wrap up the Supporter’s Shield as soon as possible to be in a position to rest some guys heading into the playoffs.

Record Setter

Vela finished the match with one goal and two assists. That brings him even with Sebastian Giovinco for most combined goals and assists in a single MLS season, standing at 38. With 10 matches left, Vela will likely surpass that record and set one of his own. All season long Vela has stressed the importance of keeping focus not on the individual awards, but on the mission of winning MLS Cup. Undoubtedly the heart and soul of the team, Vela will be ready to lead his team to even more records, and even more history, come playoffs.

Defense in Relapse

The results have gone LAFC’s way all season, so it would be no surprise if you blindly accepted them for faultless. However, even the most golden framed fan could see the struggles on defense for LAFC the last month. Tonight, was just another example of how vulnerable at the back this team can be. Several times three — if not all four — of the defenders found themselves rotating in the final third of the pitch. While this tends to work out in attack for LAFC, tonight showed just how fast it could go wrong. The last thing LAFC need is a shaky defense heading into the postseason.

The Look Ahead

LAFC will be back on the road, though staying on the West Coast, traveling to face Real Salt Lake. RSL announced earlier today that they terminated head coach Mike Petke. Sitting in the sixth seed, RSL will be just as motivated as the Red Bulls were. However, given their current situation, LAFC should make easy work of them and come away with the three points. As mentioned, the best thing for LAFC will be to win now, secure the Shield, and begin preparations for the final test of the season.

 

Photo: Embed from Getty Images

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