BLACK & GOLD ENDGAME
LAFC 1-2 NYCFC
May 29, 2021
Despite the Black & Gold’s dominating possession for much of the game, LAFC fell short to NYCFC 2-1 on Saturday. With Carlos Vela clocking his first full match in 2021, LAFC sought their first-ever win against NYCFC following a goal from Corey Baird off a Mark-Anthony Kaye cross in the 56th minute. However, following a NYCFC equalizer in the 70th minute (Jesus Medina), set pieces would prove toward the club’s downfall in the waning moments of the game. NYCFC’s Ismael Tajouri-Shradi found the back of the net, short-handed, off a corner kick in the 90th minute of the match.
“In the end, a very, very frustrating day,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “Frustrating way to have a game at home. I feel like we were playing really well and to not come away with any points is frustrating. It is a game that we should not lose.”
SEASON OF FIRSTS
With the Black & Gold donning the “PRIMEBLUE” kits made with Parley Ocean Plastic for the first time this season, Carlos Vela saw his first full match of action (90 minutes) in 2021. Vela ended the day with 52 touches and three shots, but is still working to get back to full strength.
“I do not feel 100 percent,” Vela said. “I feel like it’s a still a long road to get to my highest level. I am working hard to get there as fast as possible. You achieve it by training and games. This [international] break will allow me to prepare myself better so that when the league returns, I will be able to give my team what it expects from me.”
Corey Baird found the net for the third time this season, now tied with Diego Rossi as team leader in scoring this season, and continues to adjust to playing with the high-scoring LAFC duo of Rossi and Vela.
“I think Carlos brings so many things to the team, with his leadership, what he can do on the ball, off the ball, so, I think for us, we’re excited he’s back,” Baird said. “I think the next couple weeks between now and the next game is going to be great for his fitness and just getting up to full strength. He’s obviously had a couple injuries in the past and then one at the beginning of the season, so I think once this break is over, you’re going to see him at his best fully fit again and I think that’s going to make everyone else on our team that much better because of the attention he draws as such an elite player in this league.”
GETTING IT RIGHT
After suffering their third loss of the season, LAFC now has 21 days in between matches to work on getting back on track. The team will have to wait a long time to get the bitter taste of only their fifth regular season loss ever at home out of their mouth.
“It’s a game that we should not lose,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. We had a good first half, it was a tactical type of game that continued into the second half and we were able to take the lead.”
After Baird scored to give LAFC the 1-0 advantage, Bradley and LAFC were frustrated by their inability to hang on in the final 35 minutes for the three points.
“I really thought that our ability at 1-0, just to keep pushing things forward and get the second goal in that moment and step our play up and raise out level – that was missing,” Bradley said. “I thought we controlled the game until somewhere around the 80th minute, where there is just a few times where we are getting stuck with some balls and their subs came on and gave them a little energy.”
Corey Baird understands the frustration, but also feels the Black & Gold are close to putting it all together.
“I don’t think there’s one specific answer for what is the one thing we need to do to get to our best level,” LAFC forward Corey Baird said. “I think throughout a lot of the season we’ve played some great soccer and we’ve been on top of teams. I just think there’s times where maybe our mentality slips a little bit, our focus slips a little bit, and I would say today, we’re the better team for so much of that game. After the goal, I think the next ten minutes we were really putting pressure on them, and then we tried to play out of the back and it doesn’t quite work. But we’re a team that wants to have the ball, we’re going to be looking to play out of the back, so stuff like that’s going to happen occasionally, it’s the risk we take to play that style of soccer.”
Tristan Blackmon made his fifth start on the season.
Making their seventh start in the 2021 season, Jesús Murillo and Pablo Sisniega remain as the team leaders with most minutes logged in 2021 (630 minutes).
Head Coach Bob Bradley’s career record against the Eastern Conference is now 18-8-10.
Raheem Edwards substituted into the game at the 73rd minute, marking as his third career appearance in the Black & Gold.