LAFC vs. Portland Timbers
MLS 2021 Season - Match 14
Saturday, July 21, 2021
7:30 p.m. PT
TV: FS1, FOX Deportes
RADIO: 1110 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
Three matches in a row, nine points taken. After strong showings on the road at Real Salt Lake and Austin FC, last Saturday night LAFC took its third straight, defeating RSL again, the Club’s first three-wins-in-a-row since 2019.
Forward Diego Rossi gave the Black & Gold the lead early in the game only for Salt Lake to draw even before the half. LAFC would keep up the pressure throughout, and even after a missed penalty kick by Carlos Vela, the Club continued to press with Vela eventually knocking in the game-winner in the 79th minutes amidst a flurry of chances that saw them set a new Club record for most shots in a half with 18 in the second half.
“Overall, it was a really good team game. We started with great tempo and got a goal,” said LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley. “We lost a little bit in the first half. We got spread out and the tempo dropped. We recommitted ourselves in the second half, finished with a really good game just in terms of the collective football tonight.”
Up next, the Club will be searching for its fourth-straight against a familiar foe in Western Conference rival Portland Timbers at Providence Park. The two side’s all-time regular season series sits in LAFC’s favor at 3-1-4, however the road record paints rougher picture for the Club at 1-1-1.
The Timbers have had a rough go lately, incurring at times an injury report that ballooned to ten names, though the side broke a three-game winless streak last match in a 1-0 victory against FC Dallas.
The Timbers are a veteran team led by Diego Valeri and Diego Chara - who in the past has given LAFC fits as they try to move through the midfield. However, the Timbers will be missing a major piece in Eryk Williamson, who is on duty with the US Men’s National Team. Against LAFC the Timbers have largely played in a low block stye, and as they continue to navigate depth issues, look for more of the same.
A BUDDING FRIENDSHIP
LAFC newcomer Kim Moon-Hwan did not have the easiest transition to life in MLS after arriving in Los Angeles for the first time in preseason, having to nurse an offseason injury and acclimate to a whole new setting, language and everything else that comes with moving halfway across the world. Amidst all these challenges he pushed through, and since he was moved into a starting role five matches ago, the Club has gone 4-0-1 with Moon picking up a goal and assist along the way.
When asked about major factors in helping integrate into the squad , one of the first places he went was his relationship with the 2019 MLS MVP, Carlos Vela.
“As far as Carlos as a player, what can I say? He’s a fantastic player, a world-class player, something that I feel on a day-to-day basis while training with him,” added Moon. “As far as off the field as a person, Carlos was one of the people in the beginning to come to me as the captain. He welcomed me and told me a lot of advice and gave me tips in order for me to get better. I integrated with the team and I’m happy to call somebody like him as my friend and somebody that I really respect as a player.”
With their first combination for a goal coming last match, keep a look out for these two.
LAFC WILL WIN IF
They can win in the midfield. If LAFC can make it through the pressure of Diego Chara, they will find success.
PORTLAND CAN WIN IF
They can finish clinically. The Timbers in the past have hurt LAFC late in matches by the finishing of Jeremy Ebobisse in the waning moments and if they can summon some of this, they have a chance.
Inspired by One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975).