Galaxy 2-1 LAFC
May 8, 2021
Despite controlling much of the game in the first edition of the 2021 rivalry series with the Galaxy, LAFC fell behind on an early goal in the 11th minute in transition from Javier Hernandez. 2020 MLS Golden Boot award winner Diego Rossi evened the score at 1-1 in the second half in the 62nd minute, and as the Black & Gold pressed to get the win on the road, it was Jonathan dos Santos who secured the game-winner in the 79th minute. It was the first loss of the season for LAFC, who are back in action this Sunday against the Seattle Sounders.
Despite the difficult loss to their bitter Southern California rivals, the Black & Gold were able to take a few positives from the 2-1 defeat. LAFC controlled the tempo and offensive flow for the majority of the game, pummeling Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathon Bond and firing 17 total shots.
“In the first half, I thought we controlled most of it,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “In the first half we still controlled things, and then to start the second half we had some good half chances. Then we got that really good goal. So overall, there were a lot of good things in the first half, and we pushed the game in the second half in a good way, until we let them take the lead.”
After Rossi tied the match at 1-1, there were opportunities to take the lead, but LAFC was not able to capitalize.
“When it was tied, we needed to really take control and finish them off,” Bradley said. “we just didn’t find a way to do that so that hurts.”
LAFC defender Kim Moon-Hwan, who was signed on Jan. 11, 2021 made his MLS debut against the Galaxy on May 8. Moon came on as a substitute for Eddie Segura in the 70th minute. For a player who has been fighting a nagging injury throughout 2021 that has came him off the training field at times, it was an auspicious moment to make his first LAFC appearance in a high-intensity match.
“We thought about [the pressure of the game], Bradley said. “But we still felt that he could give us about 20 minutes, so we made the decision to make the change and move Tristan [Blackmon] into the middle when we were pushing the game at that point.”
A member of the South Korean National Team, Moon has played in big matches before, including two 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Overall, Moon has 11 appearances for the national team.
After missing the first three games of the season due to minor injuries, Moon is still a work in progress as he continues to adjust to LAFC.
“It has only been in the last week to 10 days that he has been able to push through a full training session,” Bradley said. “His ability to play longer periods will take time. I think he is still adjusting to certain parts of the way we play and the relationship that you have to have with the player in front of you – like when to be wide or when to be inside.”
Moon, 25, played the last four years for Busan IPark in the K-League, making 120 appearances across all competitions and recording nine goals and seven assists.
ROSSI RIPS OPEN 2021 ACCOUNT
LAFC forward Diego Rossi has developed into one of the most feared goalscorers in all of Major League Soccer. The 23-year old was the youngest player to ever lead the league in scoring when he did it last year, and big things are expected of him in 2021.
A hamstring injury kept Rossi sidelined for the first two matches of this season, and he returned on May 1 vs. Houston and played 90 minutes, but the effects of the injury lay-off were apparent.
Against the Galaxy on May 8, Rossi was able to score his first goal of the season – tying the game temporarily in the 62nd minute off a brilliant combination pass from Latif Blessing and Corey Baird.
“Diego is an important player for us,” Bradley said. “We missed him in the first games, and I think every week now you will see him getting sharper and sharper, so that is great for us.”
Rossi’s goal vs. the Galaxy was his sixth career goal against the L.A. rivals. Rossi now has an astonishing six goals and five assists in 11 total games against the Galaxy.
During the next LAFC film session, the team will no doubt be forced to watch the moments leading up to both of the Galaxy’s goals. On each play, a number of circumstances went against the Black & Gold, leading to the defeat.
In the 11th minute after LAFC cleared a Galaxy free kick, José Cifuentes received the ball in the middle of the field and headed towards midfield before he a sliding Derrick Williams knocked the ball away and perfectly into the path of Hernandez, who was barely able to stay on-side and then waltz into the left of the 18-yard box and fire a shot low past Pablo Sisniega.
“I didn’t think when the ball turned over we shut things down,” Bradley said. “When the ball got cleared, we had a chance to break and they made a very hard tackle and we didn’t move out quickly enough. That can happen in a game, but we need to move out faster.”
After evening the match, the Galaxy were able to take advantage of some LAFC miscues deep in their end to secure the game-winning goal in the 79th minute.
“I think we let ourselves down,” Bradley said about the sequence that led to the second goal. “We got careless.”