It's not too often you can say picking up a point after playing down a man more than half the match is a let down. But LAFC's 1-1 draw with D.C. United felt that way.
Diego Rossi had the Black & Gold ahead late in the first half, but Dejan Jakovic's red card in first-half stoppage time eventually took its toll on LAFC. And Darren Mattocks ensured D.C. wouldn't leave Banc of California Stadium empty-handed.
Here are the takeways from the 1-1 draw:
Rossi Back On The Scoresheet
It's probably unfair to expect a 20-year-old newcomer to deliver every match, but with the way Diego Rossi started the season, the expectations seemed warranted.
Then, a bit of a lull. Rossi hadn't scored in six matches heading into Saturday. He still had moments during that stretch, but the young attacker wasn't influencing matches the way he did to start the season. With Rossi floating in and out of matches as of late, Bob Bradley told me this week he wanted the forward to force the issue a bit. That meant not resorting to finding comfortable places on the pitch when things weren't working out, and to attack the opposing goal without hesitation.
Goals usual cure all that ails a striker. And with Carlos Vela heading off to the World Cup, Rossi will need to be a talisman for LAFC over the next couple of weeks. Seeing Rossi pounce on a loose ball and finish with confidence is a good sign for the Uruguayan.
The Missed Chances Are Piling Up
The red card changes this match without a doubt. But imagine if LAFC had converted on any of the multitude of opportunities they had even before Rossi's goal.
This team has too much firepower to be finishing just one chance a match. The missed opportunities are piling up and points are being left on the table.
The Red Card Complicates More Than This Match
Jakovic's red card has implications beyond the D.C. match.
Laurent Ciman is headed to join Belgium on Sunday. He's expected to miss at least one match, and maybe more if he heads off to the World Cup. And Jakovic will be suspended for LAFC's next match.
João Mountinho filled in admirably at center back during the second half of Saturday's match. Will he partner Walker Zimmerman when he returns from duty with the US Men's National Team? Or is there another option at center back? Either way, there's decisions to be made.
Blackmon Shows Glimpses In His First Start
We've seen third-overall pick Tristan Blackmon in limited minutes so far this season. On Saturday, Bradley gave Blackmon the nod from the start. And he had a solid match.
Coming into the season, Blackmon's biggest obstacle was defending at a high level. He has the sheer athleticism to make plays going forward, but the rookie got caught out from time to time because of late or poor decisions. Against D.C., he shook off some early bad touches and had a steady performance on the right side of the LAFC backline.
United made attacking the flanks a priority and did there best to overload the LAFC fullbacks. This left Blackmon with tough decisions in isolated areas, but the defender was excellent in 1v1 situations. He finished the match with two tackles, four interceptions and four clearances in his first full 90 minutes of the season.