Eighty-nine days after its first match, Banc of California Stadium will host what will be the biggest match to date in Club history.
On Thursday, LAFC play host to the Galaxy at the Banc. Although its only seen 12 competitive matches on its pitch – 13, if you count the friendly with Borussia Dortmund – Banc of California Stadium has had its fair share of historic moments. Narrowing it down to just five is harder than it looks. But I think we can all agree on at least a few of these, and that come Thursday, the Banc will have another moment to add to this list…
The Goal That Rocked The Banc
They’d fouled Carlos Vela one time too many times. A free kick in stoppage time of a 0-0 match is so often dangerous. Laurent Ciman was particular in his placement of the ball from 35 yards out. He took one look at the keeper, then meticulously paced off his run-up.
A bit of swerve, a whole lot of dip, and a little luck later, Banc of California Stadium nearly lifted off the ground.
The General scored the first goal in Banc of California Stadium history, securing the first win in Banc history on opening night. It will forever fittingly be dubbed: “The Goal That Rocked The Banc.”
The Banc Comes Together
A simple moment. One that might go unnoticed, but in LA, is quite remarkable.
After nearly 90 minutes of boisterousness throughout the Banc, there was a lull. What followed was a brief moment of eerie silence, the type of silence you notice just before you try to focus in on a particular sound. Like the fluttering of foil in the wind, the entire stadium rose to its feet waving the mylar black and gold sheets provided before kickoff. The sound preceding the stadium-wide change of “LA-FC, LA-FC.”
Carlos Vela won a free kick moments later some distance from Seattle’s goal. Laurent Ciman stepped up to take the ensuing free kick. And well… you know the rest.
Vela Delivers In The North End
The North End of Banc of California Stadium is home to the 3252. But through 335 minutes, including two victories and one draw at Banc of California Stadium, they’d yet to celebrate an LAFC goal in their end.
Laurent Ciman’s deflected free kick rattled off the post, nearly starting the celebrations prematurely. Three minutes later, a scramble for a loose ball resulted in four players converging at the center of the NYCFC penalty area. As Carlos Vela emerged from the cluster with free look at an open net the size of a doorway, arms were already extended with relief in the North End. The first Designated Player in Club history wouldn’t let them down. The North End finally had its goal.
As the celebrations lingered, so did Vela. Basking in the cheers of the North End, the forward remained with arms outstretched in acknowledgement of the LAFC Supporters. A fitting tribute to heart of LAFC.
First Hat Trick In Club History
Four goals in less than 240 minutes on the pitch to start his MLS career, and we already knew Adama Diomande could score ahead of the Philadelphia match at Banc of California Stadium. In 55 minutes against the Union, he nearly outdid himself.
The first hat trick in Banc of California Stadium history came in the seventh MLS match at the stadium. Dio made it well worth the wait with his first goal alone. The best of the three, the striker dragged the ball from right to left, and then right again, corkscrewing his defender into the pitch at the top of the Philadelphia box. A precious yard of separation earned, the striker blistered his low shot into the bottom corner of the net. The individual brilliance of the goal rivaled only by the teamwork that created his second and third in the 43rd and 55th minutes.
Three goals to commemorate his third MLS match at Banc of California Stadium, and the first hat trick in Club history.
Into The Open Cup Semifinal
The Timbers stymied LAFC in the first matchup between the two at Banc of California Stadium. A 0-0 draw was akin to watching a marathon armwrestling match ending in stalemate. When the two sides reconvened three days later for a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, Banc of California Stadium made history once again.
A record crowd of 17,898 watched as LAFC secured a 3-2 win over Portland to reach tournament’s semifinal. Back on the pitch after his World Cup duty with Costa Rica, Marco Ureña scored his first competitive goal for the Black & Gold, the eventual game-winner.
LAFC became just the third MLS side to reach an Open Cup semifinal in its inaugural season. One step closer to the Club’s first trophy.