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After a tough loss at home to Austin FC on Wednesday night at Banc of California Stadium, LAFC is looking to rebound quickly in a busy month of May. The 1-2 loss to Austin was LAFC’s first home loss of the season, and just the eighth MLS regular season loss at the Banc in Club history.

“When you lose a game, you’re never happy. You feel like you didn’t do enough,” LAFC forward Carlos Vela said. “It is nights like this where we do many good things, but it is football and sometimes losses happen. But, after two losses in a row, I think it is a good chance for us to  show the character and personality of this team and get back to winning and being at the top of the table.”

In what is becoming a disturbing trend for LAFC, they found themselves trailing early once again when Austin got on the board first in the 13th minute.

“It’s our second loss in a row which is disappointing,” said LAFC Head Coach Steve Cherundolo. “These were two games where I think we’ve made some poor decisions defensively and have been punished for them. In some ways as a coach, you can be happy when you’re punished for defensive mistakes and the learning curve can be pretty quick, so hopefully we learn from this and turn it around.”

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CONTINUING THE BUSY SCHEDULE

The Black & Gold have had quick turnarounds throughout the month, playing during the week in the U.S. Open Cup and MLS matches every weekend, giving them eight matches in 28 days. It is a brutal stretch, made all the more difficult by key injuries depleting the Club’s depth. After losing defender Ryan Hollingshead with a knee injury vs. Colorado on May 14, it was midfielder Latif Blessing who was forced off on May 18 vs. Austin in the first half due to a knee injury.

Despite the losses, LAFC heads into their nationally televised game on Saturday, May 21 at 12:30 p.m. on Unimas/TUDN looking to get the win.

“We’re going to Columbus to get three points, every game we want three points and that’s our mindset,” said LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau. “It’s one game at a time right now, there’s three matches left before the break; with Columbus first, and then we will focus on the Galaxy, and return home to focus on San Jose. We can’t put ourselves a little bit too forward.”

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VELA MAKES HISTORY

Carlos Vela had an amazing start to the 2022 MLS season, scoring three goals in the season opener against the Colorado Rapids. He cooled off slightly, adding a goal and assist vs. Vancouver on March 20 before scoring his fifth goal of the season on a penalty kick in the 83rd minute May 18 vs. Austin.

It was that goal that made history, making Vela the third fastest player in MLS history to register 100 combined goals and assists. It took the 2019 MLS MVP just 98 games to get the record, placing him behind Sebastian Giovinco who registered 100 goals + assists in 95 games for Toronto in 2018, and Robbie Keane, who recorded 101 goals + assists in 96 games for the Galaxy in 2015.

“I don’t think about it,” Vela said about securing another spot in the MLS record books. “In my head, I have only one goal, and that is to win the MLS Cup. Personal records are always fun, and you feel good about yourself, but if you don’t win and get the trophy you feel like you missed something.”

Vela received the game ball signed by all of his teammates in the locker room from Cherundolo on Thursday morning at the LAFC Performance Center before training.

“I always say I love L.A. this stadium and playing in front of the fans,” Vela said. “I want to help this club lift a trophy.”

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BLESSING GETS THE MINUTES

LAFC forward Latif Blessing also earned a piece of history on May 18 vs. Austin. “The Game Changer” became the Black & Gold’s all-time leader in minutes played three minutes into the match, passing Diego Rossi who was in first place with 8,856 career regular season minutes played.

Along with Vela, Blessing is one of the only two LAFC Originals remaining on the roster from the 2018 inaugural team. Blessing was acquired from Sporting Kansas City in the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft and has continued to make an impact on the field and as a fan favorite.

Blessing is doubtful for adding on to his team-leading minutes tally on Saturday vs. Columbus due to a knee injury suffered in the first half against Austin that forced him to leave the match early.

“I don’t have an update right now,” Cherundolo said about Blessing after the game. “But I hope that it is nothing too severe. Latif is obviously a big part of this Club.”

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