Late goals by the Los Angeles Football Club would give them a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis City SC. Since 2019, LAFC has been undefeated against expansion teams in their inaugural season. This marks their sixth win over MLS newcomers.
“You got to win ugly sometimes,” said LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta. “In the past games, the ball wasn’t going our way but for us just to find our joy again, it starts with training. Even in the difficult moments, we need to find ways to bring that happiness again.”
LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo mentioned that the message for the team coming into the match was to remain patient and to not let St. Louis outwork them.
LAFC defeated St. Louis City 3-0. Midfielder Kellyn Acosta explains how their defense impacted the win. pic.twitter.com/mSZ3MvIb3o
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“You have to be good in second ball situations, and in those transition modes defensively and be quite narrow,” Cherundolo said.
LAFC secured the win after enduring a three-game skid and a draw. Goalkeeper John McCarthy explained how the win was a team effort.
“Everyone from top to bottom that played 90 or played 20 or 10 minutes really performed,” McCarthy said. “That’s what you need.”
Team captain Carlos Vela put the Black and Gold on the board at the 72nd minute, besting St. Louis goalkeeper Roman Bürki who his second in the MLS in saves. Vela barreled down the pitch before kicking the ball from the center of the box to score, midfielder José Cifuentes assisted the shot.
“The first half, his ability to switch the ball was crucial to give us opportunities on the other side, even though it wasn’t as effective going forward for him, it helped the team,” McCarthy said. “When he feels good and is at the top of his game, he scores and gets assists when we need him to.”
The defending MLS Cup champions LAFC have lost eight of their last 12 games coming into the match-up. Acosta noted how the LAFC’s priority was to score first.
“The stat from today is when we don’t score the first goal, I think that’s what caused us a lot of trouble,” Acosta said. “I think for our game plan was we need to score our first goal. When we do so, we’ve had positive results.”
Rookie forward Stipe Biuk was subbed in in the 62nd minute and scored the second goal of the night 20 regulated minutes later. Forward Dénis Bouanga made the assist. Cifuentes sealed the deal by scoring a goal in extra minutes.
“I don’t think it’s a secret to say that we haven’t been at our best in the past couple weeks for many reasons,” Cherundolo said. “So it makes me very happy to see some of the combination plays in either the passing or spacing and our attacking in general was much better in the second half.”
LAFC will battle Minnesota United on July 15 at 5:30P.M.