The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) played to a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers Sunday night at Banc of California Stadium with Mamadou Fall scoring the equalizer for LAFC in second half stoppage time. LAFC outshot the Timbers 25-10, including 17-2 in the second half, and it was with the last of those shots that the home side finally got its breakthrough to earn a share of the points and remain undefeated in 2022.
With the draw, LAFC is now 1-0-1 with four points to open the season.
The Timbers won all three meetings with LAFC last season and they started brightly in this game, taking a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. A Cristhian Paredes shot was blocked by Fall in the center of the penalty box, but Yimmi Chara reacted quickest to the rebound and his overhead kick looped into the net to give the visitors the lead.
After the goal, LAFC began to take control of the game and put heavy pressure on the Portland goal with Carlos Vela denied a 33rd-minute equalizer by Timbers goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic.
LAFC stayed on the attack in the second half and the Timbers were reduced to 10 men in the 62nd minute after Claudio Bravo was shown a second yellow card for pulling down Cristian Arango. Despite the man advantage and keeping the ball in the attacking third of the field for the majority of the second half, LAFC was not able to equalize until the third minute of stoppage time. Latif Blessing started the build up to the goal, playing a quick pass out to Brian Rodriguez on the left wing. Rodriguez dribbled past his defender and hit a low cross across the face of the goal that Fall redirected into the net from close range, tying the score at 1-1.
Less than a minute after the Fall goal, the Timbers nearly reclaimed the lead only for Maxime Crepeau to deny Chara a second and help his team claim a 1-1 draw.
The Black & Gold are back in action on Saturday, March 12 when they hit the road for the first time in 2022 to take on Inter Miami. That game kicks off at 10:30 a.m. PT and will be broadcast nationally on Univision/TUDN and on the radio on 710 AM ESPN and 980 AM.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING….
‘I HAD TO EAT MY DINNER’ SAYS MAMADOU FALL AFTER STOPPAGE TIME GAME-TYING GOAL VS. PORTLAND
STEVE CHERUNDOLO - LAFC HEAD COACH
Overall thoughts on the match:
“Great atmosphere tonight, compliments to the 3252 and the rest of the fans here tonight. Lots to talk about, good and bad. Our group showed good spirit and showed that they are a team. We don’t like to lose, so I am happy with them. Things we need to improve on would be creating more quality chances. If you’re having that much possession and dominating the game so much, we need to create more clear chances.”
On Carlos Vela and what happened at halftime, as well as comments on injuries to Franco [Escobar] and Kellyn [Acosta]:
“Carlos [Vela] we took off at halftime as a precaution. We are still assessing exactly what it is, but it didn’t seem severe. Like I said, it’s just precautionary and I don’t think it is anything serious, but the doctors are assessing and we will have more information moving forward. Kellyn just stubbed his toe on one of those last plays. I think it was fatigue more than anything else. For Franco, it was more cramping and tightening rather than an actual injury, but we will have more information in the next couple of days.”
His Thoughts on breaking down Portland’s defense and the impact of Brian Rodriguez on the game:
“Look we all know Portland, we all know what they do well. They are very successful at playing that way. They are results oriented and pragmatic and they are very good at it. Compliments to Portland for defending very well. It’s not easy to stay disciplined for that long and then with a man down as well. In those situations, you need special players making special plays and Brian made one at the end. I thought he was very good tonight and he made a special play to get us on the scoreboard. It could have been 2, we could have lost, so these games are always very tight against Portland. They are a very good team, a very disciplined team and a team we respect very much. I think if we created 1 or 2 more chances we would have come away with 3 points, but we have to be happy with the draw today.
On What were you telling the guys coming in to try and break down Portland?
“We can’t just expect to go down the flanks and cross the ball in from very wide. It’s not going to work against Portland, it’s exactly what they want. You’re going to have to break into their box on the ground and create more chances in those half spaces. It becomes difficult, but once we do break into the box finish we need to finish our runs. Finish a run and good things will happen. It isn’t us trying to make the game ugly for a lack of a better word, but if it does end up being that way you have to finish the game that way, you have to find a way to win that way and we found a way to get a point tonight.”
BRIAN RODRÍGUEZ – LAFC FORWARD
RE: Pensamientos generales
“Solamente luchamos hasta el final. Creo que fue lo más importante del equipo. Dejamos una gran imagen peleando hasta el final. Es un equipo muy fuerte. El espíritu del equipo estuvo. Estoy en contento que logramos un punto.”
RE: Overall thoughts
“We fought until the end. I think that was the most important thing for the team. We left a great image fighting until the end. Portland is a very strong team. The team spirit was there. I'm glad we got a point."
RE: Crecimiento del equipo
“Fue algo grupal al final. Creo que el espíritu del equipo sobre salió al final. Esa es la mentalidad que tenemos que tener, pero cuando jugamos en casa no necesitamos a sufrir tanto. Creo que lo pudimos haber ganado y con uno menos también. Logramos un punto y a seguir para el próximo partido. Creo que las cosas van mejorando.”
RE: Team’s growth
“It was a group effort at the end. I think the team spirit really came out in the end. That is the mentality that we have to have but when we play at home we don't need to suffer so much. I think we could have won it and with one less [player] too. We got a point and we have to move on for the next game. I think things are getting better."
MAMADOU FALL -- LAFC DEFENDER
RE: Scoring the goal
“I think it is really important when you score to show love the way they  show love during the entire 90 minutes. I am happy.”
RE: Goals this season
“We were working the whole pre-season. I’ve been improving a lot to help my team the way they help me. It’s always great to score but it was the work of the team. Everybody got involved. It’s like they were cooking and served me a plate so I have to eat my dinner.”
RE: Breaking down the Portland defense
“There wasn’t a lot of breaks going forward. We had a couple chances but didn’t score. I saw a chance and I couldn’t miss and scored right away.”