Carlos Vela scored his sixth goal of the season 17 minutes after entering as a halftime substitute, and LAFC ensured their long wait through inclement weather was worth it with a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field on Saturday night.
José Cifuentes also scored as LAFC overcame more than four hours of total weather delays to snap a three-match winless run and go at least momentarily back above Austin FC atop the Western Conference table. Austin play at home Sunday against Orlando.
Maxime Crépeau made three saves to keep his first clean sheet since a 2-0 home win over Minnesota United FC on May 1 and hold Columbus scoreless for the sixth time in their last eight matches.
Yaw Yeboah twice appeared to give Columbus the lead, only for each to be rightly ruled offside. The latter - coming only three minutes before Vela opened the scoring - required a Video Review.
- 62' - LAFC - Carlos Vela
- 73' - LAFC - Jose Cifuentes
- THE BIG PICTURE: Playing on the road only three days after a 2-1 loss to Austin and against an opponent on a full week of rest, LAFC were always likely to rotate their squad. And it's something they've continued to do exceptionally. The goals from Vela and Cifuentes were Nos. 9 and 10 scored by manager Steve Cherundolo's substitutes this season.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Columbus had controlled most of the opening hour, but Vela made them pay when they switched off for only a moment on a break that resulted from Eloy Room's goal kick. It was a slick finish, and his first not from the penalty spot since a 3-1 home win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 20.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Carlos Vela. Reports of the Mexican star's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Not only did Vela score, he won 80% of his seven duels in 45 minutes of play and contributed a pair of key passes. Time will tell if this performance convinces Cherundolo not to drop him from the starting XI again, or to limit his workload a bit more in hopes of more efficient performances.
LAFC: Wednesday, May 25 at LA Galaxy | 7:30 pm PT (ESPN+) | U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals