ORLANDO, Fla. – For the first time in four months, Los Angeles FC were back on the pitch. A sweltering Florida evening set the stage for their return, with Houston Dynamo played opposition. In this recap of LAFC’s debut in the MLS is Back tournament, we dive into the match action, and look ahead at what’s next for the black and gold.
MLS is Back Recap: LAFC Salvage Result After Slow Start
The first half of the match couldn’t have gone worse for Los Angeles. Poor passing, abysmal defending, and a lethargic start led to an early Dynamo goal. Memo Rodríguez hit Latif Blessing with a nasty shot-fake, and waltzed past a leaping Blessing for the early goal.
However in true LAFC fashion, it would only take an addition nine minutes, before debutante Bradley Wright-Phillips leveled things in the 18th minute. Blessing made up for his earlier gaffe with a beautiful layoff to Diego Rossi, who put it on a platter for BWP to finish.
That was as positive as the first half would get for Los Angeles. Memo Rodríguez netted his second goal in the 30th minute, after following up a shot originally saved by Kenneth Vermeer. A perfectly executed set-piece from the Dynamo, right as the half ended, resulted in an Alberth Elis header that gave Houston a shocking 1-3 lead at the half.
While we’ve seen this play out time and time again with LAFC, you’d be forgiven for doubting a comeback would happen this time around. After all, the man typically leading the charge in these situations, was back at home with his family.
However, shortly after a group of substitutions, Diego Rossi launched a rocket at goal in the 63rd minute. In keeping with players opening their goal-scoring accounts, Brian Rodríguez brought LAFC level in the 69th minute with a nice shot to slot it past the keeper.
It would be the final goal of the night as LAFC completed the comeback enough, to salvage a point. A point, according to tournament rules, that will indeed count towards the 2020 season total.
The biggest concern for Los Angeles continues to be the defense. While individually a very talented group, they just can’t seem to find the chemistry needed to be wall at the back. With the LA Derby next, they will need to figure it out fast. The Galaxy aren’t likely to drop a two goal lead.