The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) remained undefeated with a convincing 3-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday night at Banc of California Stadium. Ryan Hollingshead scored his first two goals of the season while Carlos Vela had a goal and an assist to give LAFC a second consecutive victory. With the win, LAFC is now 3-0-1 on the season for 10 points, remaining atop the MLS standings.
It was the visitors that opened the scoring in the 12th minute when former LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon poked the ball home off a rebound from close range, giving Vancouver a 1-0 advantage.
The score was level 15 minutes later when Hollingshead scored his first LAFC goal, heading home a Vela corner kick to tie the score at 1-1.
LAFC took the lead in the 38th minute when Vela scored his fourth goal of the season, tying him for the league lead. Mahala Opoku dribbled through a trio of Whitecaps defenders and played a cross to the near post for Vela. His first shot was saved, but he was able to volley the rebound past Vancouver goalkeeper Thomas Hasal to send LAFC into the halftime break with a 2-1 lead.
Hollingshead put the game out of reach with his second goal of the game, giving LAFC a 3-1 lead in the 70thminute. The Whitecaps were unable to fully clear an LAFC corner kick, and Hollingshead fired a right-footed volley through a maze of defenders and into the net for the first multi-goal game of his nine-year MLS career.
The Black & Gold will look to stay undefeated when they return to action on Saturday, April 2 on the road against Orlando City SC. That game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast locally on KCOP 13 (ENG), Estrella TV Ch. 62 (SPA), ESPN 710 AM, and 980 AM La Mera Mera.
* NEWS & NOTES:*
- LAFC is now undefeated after four games for the third time in the club’s five-year history. The 10 points are tied for the most in club history at this point in a season, equaling the team’s total from its record-breaking 2019 campaign.
- This was the first multi-goal game of Hollingshead’s MLS career and his first goals for LAFC. He now has 20 goals in 197 career games.
- Carlos Vela’s first half goal gives him four on the season and places him in a four-way tie for the most in MLS this season.
- Vela, who also had an assist in the game, was making his 90th regular season appearance with LAFC. In that time he has 61 goals and 36 assists, each of which are club records.
- Vela has a goal or an assist in 61 of the 90 regular season games in which he has played.
- LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta played the 200th regular season game of his MLS career tonight. He is the 181st player in MLS history to play in 200 games.
- Acosta, who will join up with the U.S. Men’s National Team for World Cup Qualifying on Monday, was called upon to play right back this game. He is LAFC’s third different starting right back through the first four games of the 2022 season.
- Defender Jesus Murillo made his 40th regular season appearance for LAFC. He has started all 40 of those games.
- LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau made one save to earn the win against the team that he played for the last three seasons.
- Crepeau has yet to allow more than a single goal in a game this season.
STEVE CHERUNDOLO: LAFC HEAD COACH
RE: Overall thoughts
“Another home game and another victory, which makes us happy. We are happy with the result and very happy with the reaction after going down with a goal in the first half. Two elements of the game tonight that we were not ecstatic with were in the first half. Our ball movement was a little slower than we wanted. We wanted to move the ball quickly and laterally first, and then expose them deep in some pockets and channels. We were not able to do that, and we let the guys know at half time. There was also a little bit of concentrated moments on set pieces, which we were disappointed in. Again, we lost a little focus in those moments, but other than that our build up, our reaction, counter press and offensive pieces worked really well. There was a lot to take from this game and something that I have got to know from this group is their ability to react to situations and come together and find a way to win. They did that again tonight and I am pleased with that.”
RE: Improvements during this game
“It was a better performance than last week. We connected more passes and we created more high-quality chances. Our buildup was much better, which we spent a lot of time working on. But we can get much better and I think that it’s very important and I shared that with the guys. We are satisfied with the effort, with the action, and the result. However, we are not satisfied yet with our play throughout the course of the night.”
RE: Positions/combinations for the next couple of games
“It’s week to week. It is really about looking at who we are playing and finding good match ups to break them down as well as finding weaknesses in our opponents. It is also about who in our roster can give us the best chance at winning those games and seeing what combinations work. However, it is more about rotating than finding the right eleven. I am a big believer in smaller groups and seeing who gels with who. We must look at the right flank, the left flank, the front 3, our 3 midfielders, and the back 4, so we can see who is working well in these smaller groups and which players are connecting in these groups. Those are the things we are looking for, so it goes beyond just the qualities of the players. It goes into areas such as characteristics, personality, and the who gets along with one another. These are all the thoughts and factors that we take into consideration for the starting lineup.”
RE: First career brace
“It is a good feeling. As a defender, I am not in goal-scoring opportunities enough to get braces very often but I do sneak some goals in there. Every year I am in the 4 to 5 goal range, which I love but let’s double it up this year.
RE: Set pieces and mentality
“We’ve been talking all season that we need to win the set piece battle. We want to be positive on set pieces so I got a header back so that matches but defensively we know that’s one of the ways teams are going to try and beat us. They can’t break us down and they’re not going to get in behind us. It’s catching us sleeping in a set piece. It is something we’re emphasizing and working on. We need to be better on it. We’re also really dangerous on attacking set pieces.”
JESÚS DAVID MURILLO
RE: Estilo de juego del equipo
“Siento que lo estamos viviendo (el vínculo de equipo) de manera diferente día a día y se refleja en el campo. Tenemos muchas cosas que corregir, y somos conscientes de que con la calidad de jugadores que tenemos podemos dar más. Esto es lo que vivimos hoy y por lo que estamos trabajando mientras somos conscientes de que podemos dar más. Somos un equipo con gente de gran calidad, estamos contentos, pero somos conscientes de que podemos construir cada día ya seas suplente o titular. Como decimos en Colombia somos parte de una familia fuerte.”
RE: The importance of building chemistry amongst the players.
“I feel that we are living it (team bond) differently day to day and it reflects on the pitch. We have many things to correct, and we are conscious that with the quality of players we have we can give more. This is what we live day today and what we are working for while being conscious that we can give more. We are a team with great quality people, we are happy, but we are aware that we can build every day whether you’re a substitute or a starter. As we say in Colombia we are part of a strong family.”
RE: Cosas por corregir
“Además de lo que dijo Ilie (Sánchez), sabemos que equipos como Vancouver a veces no tienen opciones más allá de buscar un contraataque de anotar a balón parado. Debemos reforzarnos y saber que nos enfrentaremos a muchos equipos con ese perfil.”
RE: Things needed to correct or improve on
“Adding to what Ilie (Sánchez) said, we know teams like Vancouver sometimes do not have options beyond looking for a counter-attack of scoring on set pieces. We must reinforce ourselves and know that we will face many teams with that profile.”