LAFC 5-1 San Jose Earthquakes
MLS Regular Season – Game #8
Sept 2, 2020
LAFC snapped its three-game losing streak in a definitive way at Banc of California Stadium, exploding for five goals in a dominating 5-1 performance over the San Jose Earthquakes.
Just three days after suffering a deflating 3-1 loss in Seattle that left head coach Bob Bradley frustrated and admitting that the Club was going through “a very difficult time,” the Black & Gold exerted their will all over the field, threatening the Earthquakes throughout the night and limited the San Jose attack so their first shot on target didn’t occur until the 76th minute.
“I think overall, it’s a great bounce-back performance,” LAFC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “I think it is a game we needed. I think we needed to bounce back from the last two results. This week it was more of a complete performance.”
Diego Rossi continued his dominant 2020 with his second multi-goal game of the season, scoring twice, and then Wright-Phillips, Jose Cifuentes and Danny Musosvski closed out the scoring to move LAFC into third place in the Western Conference standings.
“I gave everybody credit in the locker room,” Bradley said. “Because I really felt the response in the last few days after the Seattle game, with a short turnaround, you could see already yesterday there was a really good way about the group, a good focus and a good sense of just continuing to play our football and not be phased.”
BLACK & GOLD BOUNCEBACK
Facing San Jose in the midst of a small losing streak – just the second time in Club history that LAFC had dropped two consecutive MLS regular season matches, the Black & Gold was able to get back on track in a major way like they normally do over the Earthquakes. LAFC remains undefeated against the Quakes in five games and has now outscored them by a whopping 20-4 total.
“San Jose always plays with intensity,” Bradley said. “Matías Almeyda's teams are always competing and they understand the system. we have great respect for what they are all about as a team, and we always enjoy the matches with them. It's a different kind of challenge because of the way they play. Everyone knows that Matías Almeyda picks up a lot of ideas from Bielsa, so this type of football still can be so effective. It's still very dangerous going forward. And in our league, when you talk about teams with different identities and different playing styles, I think San Jose has been able to do that. We always know that it will be a really, really good test.”
Including the MLS Is Back Tournament, LAFC had actually lost three matches in a row for just the second time in Club history, but was able to get back in the winning column in a definitive manner.
“It’s something we spoke about before, we had to bounce back,” Wright-Phillips said. “I think the longer these kinds of runs go on, other teams start smelling blood and we didn’t want to be in that predicament. I think we all banded together as a team and just grinded it out.”
ROSSI KEEPS ROCKING
Diego Rossi is simply on another level in 2020. The 21-year-old who has scored some of the biggest strikes for the Club, including the first goal in LAFC history and the game-winning goal that rocketed the Black & Gold into the next round of the Concacaf Champions League over Mexico’s Club Leon. In between, Rossi has now scored 37 regular season goals in 74 games.
He added two more goals on Wednesday to his league-leading tally, giving him nine on the year. He started off the scoring in the 21st minute with a beautiful shot from 15 yards out and re-directed a cross from Diego Palacios in the 69th minute.
“Diego is in great form,” Bradley said. “This is fun to watch.”
The 2019 MLS All-Star finished the MLS Is Back Tournament as the Golden Boot Winner and Best Young Player of the Tournament, and since returning to Los Angeles, he has continued to score goals.
“Diego is a stud and he’s been an absolute baller for us,” LAFC defender Dejan Jaković said. “He’s starting to show everyone what he is capable of doing.”
In addition to scoring goals in bunches, Rossi has taken on more of a leadership role with reigning MVP Carlos Vela out of action.
“We need leadership from Diego, to really step up more and have personality and hold other guys accountable,” Bradley said. “Diego has really grown to handle that kind of a role.”
After spending much of the time away from the Club when the pandemic struck, working out at home with teammate Pancho Ginella, who moved in with him for several weeks, and fellow Uruguayan and MMA fighter Gaston Reyno, Rossi returned to action in incredible shape, and it continues to show. He now has five multi-goal games in his career following his two-goal match vs. San Jose.
“I think his biggest improvement since the start has been his finishing,” Jakovic said. “I think his accuracy has improved, his work rate is always going to be up there, but I think creating those opportunities and then being able to finish them is what has separated him.”
Bradley agreed with his veteran defender.
“Diego has improved every year,” Bradley said. “He’s been a good player from the start, but he has grown, and he’s worked hard on his finishing. You see the improvement there.”
PABLO IN THE NET
LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega made his third start of the season vs. the Earthquakes and earned his second win. He was forced to make just one save as San Jose was only able to muster two shots on target.
While he was not always in front of the net, the LAFC coaching staff was more impressed with his presence helping to lead a defense that had given up five goals in the previous two games.
“I think it was really important for Pablo,” Bradley said. “When he played a couple of games in Orlando and then we made the decision for Kenneth [Vermeer] to go back in, we talked to Pablo to make sure the next time his chance came, that we needed was a little bit more presence and a little bit more personality and command. I think we saw a lot of that tonight.”
Sisniega is now 5-2-2 in nine MLS starts for LAFC.
ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST
Two members of the Black & Gold opened their MLS scoring accounts Wednesday vs. San Jose, with Jose Cifuentes scoring on a rocket of a shot in the 61st minute, and Danny Musovski netting his first MLS goal in the 83rd minute.
“Cifu continues to make progress,” Bradley said. “He got his first goal and showed some really good ability, excellent work there.”
In his second straight start in the midfield in place of MLS Best XI performer Eduard Atuesta, Cifuentes was effective all over the pitch.
“Cifu has great ability,” Bradley said. “Now it is just being more aware of situations on the field, being a little bit more consistent with his intensity. He still has some moments where is very strong physically and reacts very quickly to situations, but other moments where the intensity drops. He needs a little bit more consistency of just his effort throughout the match.”
Musovski enjoyed his goal against the Quakes, as he was able to score against his former team. The 24-year-old was originally drafted by San Jose with the 30th pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft out of UNLV, but never appeared for them. He did play 40 games for the Quakes USL affiliate Reno 1868 FC before signing with LAFC in December 2019.
BWP CLIMBS THE LADDER
MLS legend Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his assault on the league record books. The veteran is already the fastest MLS player to score 100 goals and added to his impressive goal-scoring tally Wednesday night vs. San Jose in the 49th minute on a break-away. Wright-Phillips now sits seventh on the MLS all-time scoring list with 112 goals, just two behind LAFC assistant coach Ante Razov.
In his 201st career MLS start, the first LAFC player to score a goal in each of his first three games terrorized the San Jose backline and proved that he is healthy and ready to regain his form after an injury-plagued and frustrating 2019 season with the Red Bulls.
THE CHASE IS ON – MLS ALL-TIME GOAL SCORING LIST
6. Ante Razov 114
7. BWP 112
8. Jason Kreis 108
9. Dwayne De Rosario 104
10. Taylor Twellman 101