Cristian Arango scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season and also added his first MLS assist to boost LAFC's playoff hopes in a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Danny Musovski added his fourth goal off Arango's early back-heel feed as LAFC, for the moment, moved within a point of the seventh and final Western Conference place in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC and Real Salt Lake – all currently within two points or fewer of LAFC in a crowded West table – are scheduled to play later this weekend during MLS Week 30.
Carlos Fierro pulled a goal back off a corner kick for the Earthquakes, who now sink four points behind LAFC and five off the playoff pace after their third consecutive defeat.
The Quakes actually led LAFC 15-11 in shots and 7-5 in efforts on target, but conceded three or more goals for the third consecutive match and fifth time in their last six.
- 3' - LAFC - Danny Musovski
- 28' - LAFC - Cristian Arango (PK)
- 61' - SJ - Carlos Fierro
- 88' - LAFC - Cristian Arango
- THE BIG PICTURE: Arango only made his MLS debut in August, but if he can be the addition that pushes LAFC over the playoff line despite Diego Rossi's loan departure and Carlos Vela's injury issues, he may be the front-runner for MLS Newcomer of the Year. As for the Earthquakes, they welcomed striker Jeremy Ebobisse back from a six-game injury absence, but he might have to go on an improbable scoring run in San Jose's last five games to salvage hopes of back-to-back postseason appearances.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: If LAFC reach the playoffs and San Jose miss out, it may be Arango's second goal – set up by Brian Rodriguez's work down the left – that proves the turning point for both clubs, as it sealed the three points in this critical encounter.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Cristian Arango, of course. After a short dry spell of three matches, the Colombian forward proved what we all suspected watching him so far – that he can be a dual-threat. Check out his slick feed on the opening goal to Musovski, who also did well with his finishing touches to make it 1-0 early.
- LAFC: Wednesday, Oct. 20 at FC Dallas | 5pm PT (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)