Match Recap

Unbeaten In 10 Straight

The club-record streak that began after a loss to San Jose rolls on after the rematch in L.A. – with a grateful goalscorer along for the ride.

062224 Bogusz Bouanga Kamara LAFC

“Unfortunately, not the best performance from our boys tonight.”

Those were Steve Cherundolo’s first words at his postgame media session on May 4, moments after his team fell to 4W-4L-3D on the season following a humbling 3-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.

“On the road we kind of find ways to beat ourselves,” Cherundolo continued. “And we did it again tonight. That's something that needs to be corrected. The good news is that all of the tools that we need to correct the situation are in our locker room.”

Fifty days and eight MLS matches later, the number next to the “W” in LAFC’s record has swelled to 11, and the number next to “L” remains unchanged: four. Three of the seven league wins LAFC has collected in that span have come away from home; Cherundolo’s team has not tasted defeat of any kind since that afternoon in the Bay Area. Their coach was right. There was no magic fix. Just the sharpening of a few tools.

After its 6-2 win over San Jose on Saturday night, LAFC’s tenth straight result without a loss across all competitions, Cherundolo harkened back to the disappointing match that ignited this franchise-record run. “Yeah, I think that game we conceded, I wanna say two set pieces,” Cherundolo recalled. “Up until that game, our set pieces, especially away from home, were not good defensively. That's something we cleaned up.

“Our ball losses in build-up play were careless and were leading to chances and goals from opponents, that we also cleaned up … We don't lose very many balls in build-up play anymore.”

Added defender Eddie Segura: “It got to the point where we realized that we were missing something.” Speaking through a translator, the Colombian veteran recalled the aftermath of that May 4 loss to the Quakes: “We had to do internal analysis and review all that. The internal work led us to where we are now, led us to change. We resolved those issues that we identified and due to all the hard work internally, we're now enjoying this good stretch.”

In the eight league games LAFC has played since its last loss, the Black & Gold has outscored opponents 19-4. Add in LAFC’s Open Cup victories over Loudoun United and Las Vegas, and the team’s overall record swells to 9W-0L-1D since May 4, with a goal disparity of 25-5.

Defending and details have been part of the solution, along with the play of a pair of attackers.


Among the biggest reasons for LAFC’s club-record run are the recent performances of its leading goalscorers, Denis Bouanga and Mateusz Bogusz. The 22-year-old Bogusz, who has played all three forward positions this year in addition to his customary attacking midfielder role, scored two goals and added an assist Saturday night against San Jose, giving him a goal or an assist in all eight games during LAFC’s current MLS unbeaten run—and placing him in rare company. Only Carlos Vela has scored or assisted in eight straight regular-season games for the Black & Gold.

Bogusz has nine goals and five assists in MLS play this year, both career highs.

Bouanga’s goal and two assists on Saturday gave him 13 goals and eight assists on the season. The 2023 Golden Boot winner is one of just four MLS players with 20 or more goal involvements (goals and assists) in 2024. The others are reigning MVP Luciano Acosta, current Golden Boot leader Cristian Arango, and Lionel Messi.

The best nickname for LAFC’s two-headed attacking machine remains a subject of debate. (Boganga? Bouangusz?) There is greater certainty about their potential trip to Ohio in late July for the MLS All Star game. To support their case, consider their roles in four of LAFC’s six goals Saturday night:

Bogusz capped off a sequence of 11 completed passes by sprinting and diving head-first at the far post to finish right back Sergi Palencia’s cross and open the scoring.

Left back Ryan Hollingshead made the seventh and final pass of a sequence that Bouanga finished crisply with his left foot to put LAFC ahead 2-0.

A string of 14 consecutive LAFC passes ended with Bogusz’s looping service to Kei Kamara, who outjumped a center back 13 years his junior to drive home a header for LAFC’s third goal and the 146th of Kamara’s career, placing him alone in second place on MLS’ all-time scoring chart (more on that below).

In the 42nd minute, Bouanga received the 14th consecutive pass in a possession sequence, then attacked the penalty area. His dribbling run was ended by a daring tackle, but the ball rolled straight to Hollingshead, whose shot made the score 4-0 LAFC.

LAFC’s fifth goal was as direct as it gets. Four forward passes covering fifty yards, the last one a bullet across the box from Bouanga that Bogusz finished at a tight angle to put LAFC up 5-1.

LAFC Kamara Duenas 062224 locker room


And then there was the sixth and final goal, which was the first of Tomás Ángel’s MLS career – and which tied an LAFC record for most goals in a single match.

The build-up was created by two Homegrown players, Erik Dueñas and Nathan Ordaz, whose combined age (39) is equal to Kamara’s.

“I told Erik Dueñas the other day,” Kamara said after the game, “I said this is gonna be you one day, you're gonna be playing and my son is gonna be [playing] right next to you.”

As for Ángel, LAFC’s 21-year-old striker, Kamara had no idea until recently of the family connection between Tomás and a player he used to compete against, former New York Red Bulls star Juan Pablo Ángel.

“I didn't know that was Juan Pablo Ángel's son,” Kamara said after Saturday night’s win. “One day [Juan Pablo] came in and visited the locker room and somebody said, ‘You didn't know that's his son?’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I felt so old.” Kamara and the press corps erupted into laughter as he continued:

“Every time me and [Tomás] talk, I'm like, ‘This is crazy. I used to compete against your dad, he scored a lot of goals,”—72 in 152 MLS games—"we used to chase him and now me and you are strikers.”


That was one of several classic sound bytes from Kamara’s 12-minute postgame media session, during which Major League Soccer’s newly-crowned, number-two all-time goalscorer laughed, wept, told stories, shared memories, and dispensed life advice to reporters who asked for it. The BMO Stadium press room was filled with rapt listeners as Kamara—a proud son of Los Angeles— expressed humility and gratitude for the journey that has brought him home.

“Growing up here,” Kamara said, “I remember going to Cal State Dominguez Hills, and I was one year behind [MLS’ top all-time goalscorer] Chris Wondolowski, who was at Chico State … We actually ended up playing at Houston together and that was when we started having this brotherhood, this love, to say we wanna represent CCAA [California Colllegiate Athletic Association] and represent Division II soccer, because it wasn't easy for players to make it from Division II to the league. [Wondolowski] just kept setting the bar higher and higher for me every year. And I said to him, ‘You keep going, I'm just gonna be right behind you.’ So to be one and two, it's just a dream.”

Kamara made clear that he isn’t interested in chasing Wondolowski’s record of 171 goals. “I just wanna be one and two, just me and Wondo,” he said with a smile. “It's good there.”

When Cherundolo spoke to the media right after the match, he said that his starting striker that night – who’s only five years younger than Cherundolo – had just “shared a few words with us in the locker room” after moving past Landon Donovan and into second place. “I won't repeat them,” Cherundolo said, “but I can tell you they were exemplary of what a fine human being Kei is … It's a pleasure to have him. He comes to work with a smile on his face. He works hard.”

Kamara was asked about scoring his first MLS goal back in 2006, and whether he could have imagined scoring 145 more. “No,” Kamara replied. “I was just enjoying. That's what I've always done in my career, just enjoy this journey. To come from Sierra Leone as a Muslim refugee to this country, and becoming a U.S. citizen and having this opportunity to do what I love doing, it's a blessing. It's really a blessing.”

Kamara’s voice cracked: “I went to, you know, Leuzinger High School here, Cal State Doming—”

He paused, fighting back tears. “I'm getting soft. So to come back to L.A., it's full circle and I don't want to stop now, because I feel too good.”

Later, the veteran of 11 MLS clubs was asked what makes his current one so special. “Every player in the league sees the 3252,” Kamara explained. “The addition of this club to this league obviously set the bar for L.A. and what's to come in L.A. The location of the stadium is one, the colors, you know, was two. And then … I stalked the Instagram on this club, and just seeing the family pictures after the wins, that makes a lot of players in the league want to be part of a club that celebrates family like that. I always wanted to be part of that picture then, and now, you know, I get to be part of that picture.”

Kamara closed with this: “Every club you go to, you have to prove yourself. Even with the guys here—yes, I'm one of the veterans but I feel like I wanted to prove myself to them so bad, so they can trust me, and so I can be part of this group. So hopefully I keep working on that and they can have a little more trust in me, not just to score goals, but just trust that I'm gonna help the team because the bigger goal is the MLS Cup. I wanna be part of that.”

LAFC returns to action on Saturday, June 29, when it hosts the Colorado Rapids at BMO Stadium. That match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 710 AM ESPN LA, and 980 AM La Mera Mera.

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