Dio Surrounded By 5 VAN Players 181021 IMG

Records are black and white. You either break them or you don't.

When a team or individual sets a record, no one says you didn't break it by enough. It's just a new record.

Except, that's exactly how LAFC feels after its 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. The point earned set a new record for points by an expansion team in an inaugural season with 57 - breaking the record set by the Chicago Fire in 1998.

But it should be 59 points.

  • LAFC 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps
    • 5' LAFC - Diego Rossi | WATCH
    • 15' LAFC - Diego Rossi | WATCH
    • 22' VAN - Yordy Reyna (pk) | WATCH
    • 65' VAN - Jordon Mutch | WATCH

It took Diego Rossi just five minutes to open the scoring. By 15 minutes, Rossi had his brace. And LAFC looked primed for more. A first-half penalty brought the 'Caps within one goal, but LAFC still looked very much in control. A third goal never materialized though, and Jordon Mutch found Vancouver's second from almost 40 yards out. As if it came to be out of thin air. 

Here are the takeaways from LAFC's 2-2 draw with Vancouver:

Brilliant Rossi

He probably should have had more. Two goals didn't do Diego Rossi's day on the pitch justice. And had he got a softer bounce on one opportunity, he would have had his second hat trick for LAFC and ensured all three points.

The first goal is the one that should make MLS teams shudder.

Rossi has been so good at going beyond defenses this season, but mostly by being played through after cutting in from a wide area. No one in MLS is better. But against Vancouver, Rossi added a bit of nuance to his game. 

Cutting inside, Rossi kept the ball on his right while going against the face of the defense. In that moment, he's so unpredictable. His body is between the ball and his defender, and on his dominant foot he can shoot, dribble or pass. In this instance, he found Carlos Vela centrally and continued his run for a textbook give-and-go at the top of the penalty area. 

This type of movement from a wide player with Rossi's quickness and touch is nearly impossible to defend. 

Team Golazo

I love this goal so much. From the buildup to the number of passes from one end of the pitch to the other to the cutback across the penalty area, there are so many layers to Diego Rossi's second goal. This is a team goal and the essence of LAFC's style in the truest sense.

Watch this whole clip, it's worth it.

There's a reason Bob Bradley is smiling. Nine passes in that move. LAFC carved Vancouver up. It's all angles out of the back then vertical to Lee Nguyen, and again to Carlos Vela, and LAFC is flying down the pitch. Capped off by a smart first-time ball across the heart of the box by Aaron Kovar, like guest analyst Maurice Edu said, this goal will make Bradley happy. If I could channel my inner Bob Bradley, I think he'd say, "That's just good football, man."

Davies Is The Real Deal

Rarely is any space given to opposing players in the takeaways, but if you watched this match, you had to be thinking the same thing.

I'm not breaking any new ground here, but Alphonso Davies is legit. He had six successful dribbles and three key passes against LAFC, and was basically just a one-man wrecking ball. Bob Bradley had his team well aware of Vancouver's penchant for sitting deep and looking to counter, but it's another thing when you've got Davies running full speed at you, on or off the ball. 

And he's not just speed. He knows you're scared by his pace and he uses it as a weapon. His feints and use of his body position caused all kinds of problems, including cutting between Danilo Silva and Lee Nguyen to draw Vancouver's penalty. 

LAFC had more of a handle on him in the second half, but Davies definitely did his part on Sunday.

Draining Defending

One of the things Steven Beitashour made mention of postgame was the defending LAFC had to do over long distances against Vancouver.

The Whitecaps pressed LAFC a bit early, and were put to the sword, as shown by the second goal. From there, they settled into a low block and looked to break.

LAFC was actually pretty good in its transition defending. The only real chance Vancouver got on the counter was the play that led to the penalty. But that's not to say it didn't factor into the match. Having to rush back 50, 60, even 70 yards to defend takes its toll, especially when each time you have to start again to build an attack with the opposition sitting back once more. 

That's where LAFC's counterpress is so vital. If players can step to win the ball back right away or at least delay the runs of the opposition, then defenders aren't having to all-out sprint towards their goal to break up plays. For long stretches, LAFC was diligent in getting a man to the ball right away, but a few too many times they played slack passes into areas that gave Vancouver a free run. 

That type of loose play opens matches in a way LAFC can't afford against better teams come playoff time.

Room For Optimism

After the match, Bob Bradley ended on a positive note. So I will, too.

Despite the disappointment of two points dropped, LAFC still finds itself with everything to play for. In the final match of the season, the Black & Gold know a win will capture the top spot in the Western Conference. Those are the moments you play for. It's all the work the previous 33 matches have culminated in to get the team to this spot.

Remember, no expansion team has won its conference in its inaugural season. Then again, no expansion team had 57 points going into its final match of the regular season either.

I'll let Bob close out this week's takeaways with something he said, that if it doesn't fire you up for the match in Kansas City, I don't know what will:

"We're always optimistic about our football. We always think we can show up and play a great game. Do things that allow us to control matches, create chances, and score goals. Kansas City is a great team. They've got a great stadium as well, a great environment. So, the idea that the last day of the regular season, we go to Kansas City and have a chance to put our best football out there against their best football to see if we can win the conference...

"Yeah, how could you not love that idea?"

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