LAFC 0-3 Galaxy
MLS Regular Season – Game #9
Sept 6, 2020
LAFC dropped a difficult 3-0 decision to the Galaxy on Sunday, failing to take advantage of numerous first half scoring chances and then playing a man down due to a Mark-Anthony Kaye red card for the final 37 minutes.
“We played a good first half,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “But you’ve got to come away with at least a goal. We come in at halftime, still with the idea that now it is going to take 45 more minutes to really keep pushing the game, and then we make two back-to-back mistakes.”
Despite appearing to be the dominant team for much of the match, it was the Galaxy who scored the first goal when Christian Pavon floated a shot from distance over Pablo Sisniega in the 51st minute.
Moments later, LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye slid through a tackle on Julian Araujo and received a straight red card, forcing the Black & Gold to play the majority of the second half without their captain, and the Galaxy were able to capitalize.
The Galaxy put the finishing touches on their second straight win over LAFC in the 73rd minute off a set piece, as Sebastian Lletget placed a low shot to the left of Pablo Sisniega to make it 2-0. Lletget scored again in the 84th minute, taking a classy finish to make it 3-0.
Despite trailing on the scoreboard, LAFC continued to push for a goal throughout the final 20 minutes, but could not find the back of the net. The Black & Gold falls to 3-3-3 this season and not sits in 7th place in the Western Conference, with a quick turnaround and match against Real Salt Lake in Utah on Wednesday.
“We have to keep our heads high,” LAFC midfielder Latif Blessing said. “I know things are not going good, but we’re going to come back. It happens in football. So, I think we’re going to keep going. We’re going to go to training and when we play Wednesday we look at it like we have to win.”
GAME CHANGING BREAKDOWN #1
After dominating the first 45 minutes, the dangerous Christian Pavon found his way behind the LAFC defense just six minutes into the second half, and he made the Black & Gold pay.
“It’s a bad goal to give up,” Bradley said. “Especially when we had the chances in the first half.”
The first Galaxy goal started when Sisniega played the ball toward Diego Rossi, who was surrounded by two Galaxy defenders and controlled it for a moment.
“Then we've done a really bad job of moving up as a group,” Bradley said about the play. "Then when it goes out on their left side Cifu [Jose Cifuentes] slides out. Latif [Blessing] gets caught and when Pavon runs behind him Latif doesn't do a good job. Tristan [Blackmon] is too slow coming over and then Pablo gets caught in no man's land.”
The real game-changing play occurred in the 53rd minute when LAFC captain Mark-Anthony Kaye was ejected for a hard foul on Julian Araujo after missing the ball on a tackle.
“Mark gives up a bad pass and then just goes flying in for the red card,” Bradley said. “That puts us under pressure for the rest of the game.”
GAME CHANGING BREAKDOWN #2
LAFC has struggled in 2020 defending set pieces, allowing the Galaxy to score off a corner kick in their second meeting on Aug. 22, and then allowing Sebastian Lletget to get free in the box on a free kick in the 73rd minute on Sunday night or a goal that put the game away.
“On the second goal, the play is in the corner and then we don't recognize the possibilities on the free kick,” Bradley said. “There needs to be a little bit more experience at that moment, when the ball is in that position of what the possibilities are. And then at that point, you’ve just got to try to keep fighting.”
ROSSI IMPRESSES WITH HIS WILL
Despite the loss, Diego Rossi continued to impress even without finding the back of the net. The leading scorer in MLS with nine goals was shut out vs. the Galaxy, but it was his spirit and leadership that Bradley was pleased with, as Rossi wore the captains armband when Kaye was sent off.
“So, the main message for the group is that in the moment when we are facing some tough times, everybody's got to really fight harder,” Bradley said. “We had one big example of doing that tonight - that was Diego. It was incredible the way he kept going, and he kept going. I was really proud of just the way Diego kept pushing. Now we need to have a team full of guys that can push and fight through games at that level.”
With another quick turnaround and a game in Salt Lake on Wednesday, Bradley is looking for the veterans of his young team to step up in the absence of the injured 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela and MLS Best XI midfielder Eduard Atuesta.
“The main thing is the need for different guys to take more responsibility.” Bradley said. “Those guys would be Tristan, that would be Eddie Segura. That would be Mark and Diego. I think Diego is doing a very good job. We've got to have others, like Latif, now understand that when you're on a good team and you go through a tough stretch, they have got to be the ones to push the others.”