There was no shortage of scoring in LAFC’s preseason match with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday. Down two goals on two separate occasions, the Black & Gold fought its way back to a 4-4 draw thanks to two strikes from Carlos Vela. With three draws in three preseason matches, LAFC remains undefeated in the lead up to its inaugural season, but is still in search of its first victory.
Here are the key takeaways from the preseason friendly with Vancouver:
Vela Opens His LAFC Account
After sitting out the Club’s first preseason match following his return from international duty, Carlos Vela has gone 90 minutes in two straight matches. Against the Whitecaps, he wasted no time making his presence known.
Going on a mazy run through the heart of the Vancouver defense just two minutes into the match, Vela was dragged down 25 yards from goal awarding LAFC a dangerous free kick. Stepping up to finish what he started, Vela unleashed a masterpiece of a free kick off his left boot and past the outstretched hands of Whitecaps goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Vela bagged his brace 74 minutes later, finishing from the spot after teammate Diego Rossi was scythed down from behind in the penalty area.
Blondell To Reyna Connection
Vancouver forwards Anthony Blondell and Yordy Reyna gave the LAFC defense fits. After Vela opened the scoring, Blondell took over scoring goals in the 10th minute and 29th before setting up Reyna for the Whitecaps’ third in the 38th minute.
After LAFC closed the gap to 3-2 in the second half, the big-little combo came through for Vancouver once again as Blondell found Reyna to make it 4-2. Blondell’s size and strength afforded the smaller Reyna pockets of space in dangerous areas throughout the match. Subsequently, two minutes after Blondell was subbed off, LAFC found an 84th minute equalizer.
Finding Balance In the Midfield
Bob Bradley hasn’t hidden the fact he is in the market for a midfielder or two to round out his squad. The need for quality to balance the side was evident throughout much of the Vancouver match.
Fielding an attack-minded trio of Vela, Benny Feilhaber and Mark-Anthony Kaye, LAFC were hit numerous times on the counter by Vancouver as the three midfielders were caught ahead of the ball. As a result, the LAFC back line was left with little protection and sent scattering to pick up runners. While Bradley said after the match he felt his defenders were a little too passive, it’s no doubt a midfielder that can clog up the middle while playing from deep would go a long ways to balancing the side.
Now Is The Time To Make Mistakes
After the match, LAFC center back Walker Zimmerman was less than pleased by the score line but he noted that preseason was the time to take some risks.
“This is the time where we can take chances and we can be a little more aggressive,” Zimmerman said. “So you’ll see a lot of us, especially coming from the back, where we’re trying to split lines. We’re trying to make plays into good spots.
“There are passes that are sometimes are going to get cutout. In a real game maybe, you do decide not to do that. But right now, [Bradley] wants us to try and make something happen, split lines, try to look forward first, and not be so cautious.”
The 3252 Make Themselves Heard
The Vancouver match was the first time a large contingent of Supporters got a chance to see their Club in the flesh. And they did not disappoint.
The LAFC Supporters went the full 90 minutes-plus, chanting, bouncing, and drumming from before the opening whistle, clear until the LAFC players came over to salute them after the match. It was a small taste of what to expect when Banc Of California Stadium opens for the Club’s historic first match in late April.