Danny Musovski Francisco Ginella celebrate SEA 201011

Black & Gold Endgame | LAFC 3-1 Seattle Sounders 10/11/20

LAFC 3-1 Seattle Sounders

MLS Regular Season – Game #16

Oct. 11, 2020

 

For the first time in the 2020 MLS regular season, the Los Angeles Football Club has won back to back matches, after defeating the Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders 3-1 on Sunday at Banc of California Stadium.

A true team effort was needed by the Black & Gold in one of the most surprising victories in Club history, without all three of their Designated Players. LAFC turned in a gritty, hard-nosed effort despite missing 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela and four players including MLS leading scorer Diego Rossi to World Cup Qualifying.

Danny Musovski scored two goals and registered an assist, giving LAFC the lead on a header in the 15th minute and then putting the finishing touches on the game with a goal in the 84th minute. In between, Pancho Ginella scored his first MLS goal in the 65th minute and Nicolas Lodeiro scored for Seattle in the 77th minute.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “Tonight is more just about a really good mentality and an important, really good team win.”

 

PAINFUL START

It was truly a nightmare start for LAFC on Sunday vs. Seattle. Just six minutes into the match, 2019 MLS All-Star midfielder Mark Anthony Kaye was reaching for a ball in the Sounders end of the field when he was met with a crunching challenge from a Seattle defender.

Kaye’s right ankle turned, and the Canadian was forced to remain on the ground for several scary moments before being helped off the field, to be replaced by Andy Najar.

“You never want to see anyone go down like that,” Musovski said. “We just try to fight through it and I think everyone who came in after that did a good job of stepping up.”

Najar entering the game moved Latif Blessing to the midfield, but Najar’s time on the field was short-lived, lasting only seven minutes before he was forced to leave due to a hamstring injury.

“I feel bad for Andy,” Bradley said. “He’s continuing to be hampered by these kinds of injuries in his return to play. You feel like you’re starting to get him going a little bit and there’s a setback and that’s obviously frustrating.”

Kaye was frustrated to leave the match so early, and the way he left brought LAFC fans back to July 2018 when he suffered a fractured ankle and missed the remainder of the season.

“The first word is that the x-ray [on Mark-Anthony Kaye] was negative,” Bradley said. “It appears to be a bad sprain, and we will see how bad. I think it is one that we will need a little bit more time to give a full assessment.”

Bradley couldn’t remember another exact game when he had to make so many forced changes so early, but he was impressed with the way his team responded.

“Great mentality to win a game where there are so many things that just seem to be going against us,” Bradley said.

 

MUSOVSKI FITS RIGHT IN

With two of LAFC’s vaunted attacking wingers with the Uruguayan National Team in World Cup Qualifying matches, Danny Musovski was called on to fill the high-octane scoring void. The conventional wisdom was that this LAFC attack would struggle to score goals without Diego Rossi, the leading scorer in MLS this season and dynamic and athletic assist machine Brian Rodriguez.

But in just his second ever MLS start, and the first time he has played a full 90 minutes in his MLS and LAFC career, Musovski was more than ready to answer the challenge.

“We got a great game from Danny Musovski,” Bradley said. “We certainly feel good about the improvement we’ve seen in him, and so tonight is a big game for him.”

Playing in just his 11th MLS game and playing over 60 minutes for the second time in an MLS regular season game, Musovski erupted for two goals and one assist, joining Rossi and Carlos Vela as just the third LAFC player in Club history to match those totals.

“My job is just to play,” Musovski said. “I just try to do well when I get on the pitch. I’m happy to get the brace and I’m happy for the team to win. That’s where my focus is.”

Signed by LAFC on Dec. 10, 2019 as an under the radar acquisition, Musovski has scored goals wherever he has played. Originally drafted by San Jose with the 30th overall selection in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, Musovski scored a total of 18 goals in 2018 and 2019 for Reno 1868 FC in the USL. The Las Vegas native set the Nevada High School record with 58 goals in his senior season, and the goal-scoring continued at a frantic clip in college at UNLV.

“Eduard [Atuesta] just played in a good ball,” Musovski said about his first goal. “I did a good job of withholding my run a bit to stay onside and tried to place that one in the corner. On the second one, Latif [Blessing] did a good job of fighting for the ball and luckily I was there for the rebound and I just wanted to re-direct it.”

 

WHO IS SHORTHANDED?

With regular starters Carlos Vela and defender Tristan Blackmon injured heading into Sunday’s game vs. Seattle, and Diego Rossi, Brian Rodriguez, Diego Palacios, and Jose Cifuentes all with their respective national teams for South American World Cup Qualifying matches, LAFC was looking to face the first place Sounders down six regular starters.

Mark-Anthony Kaye and then Andy Najar leaving early in the match due to injuries made the situation seem even direr.

But the LAFC bench was able to come in and stabilize the game.

Mohamed El-Munir came on for Najar and helped to settle the game down, and after a hectic opening sequence, LAFC was able to emerge from the first 15 minutes up 1-0 thanks to Musovski’s first goal.

“Some guys that haven’t played regularly did an excellent job tonight,” Bradley said. “We used Mo as a right back after Andy goes down and he did a good job. He’s played there a little bit in training but that’s not his regular position. He still had the mentality that he could go in and certainly help us.”

El-Munir made a huge tackle to break up a Seattle fast break early in the second half, one of the biggest defensive plays of the match that exemplified the Black & Gold attitude throughout the night.

“It is a night that’s more about everybody sticking together on the field,” Bradley said. “And finding a way to see the game out.”

 

ACADEMY TIME

Christian Torres became the first LAFC Academy player to appear in an MLS game when he made his debut against Seattle on August 30. Before Sunday, he had made two other brief appearances, but when injuries and national team call-ups affected the lineup vs. the Sounders this time – Torres was called on to play the entire second half, the most minutes the 16-year-old has ever played in his professional career.

“I thought Christian came on and did a very good job in the second half,” Bradley said. “He continues to make progress every day in training, as does Tony Leone and Erik Dueñas.”

Bradley was impressed with the way the Academy product reacted in a difficult situation.

“Christian’s way of moving on the field and timing, he’s got a good way of seeing things quickly,” Bradley said. “There are some really good starting points, and I thought he did a good job coming on at halftime. He helped us in the second half.”

 

MLS DEBUT

Officially signed by the Black & Gold just six days ago, 19-year-old forward Mahala made his MLS and LAFC debut on Sunday, coming on as a substitute and playing the final moments of the match.

The Accra, Ghana native and product of the Attram De Visser Soccer Academy in Ghana is hopefully the first of many players to join LAFC from the new partnership between the Clubs.

“It was good to get Mahala on the pitch,” Bradley said. “Tonight is something that everybody feels good about, and hopefully we can build on it.”

 

BOB STILL MOVING UP

Bob Bradley continues to make history with LAFC. One of the most decorated coaches in American soccer, Bradley is a three-time MLS Coach of the Year award winner and is now just one more victory away from another milestone.

The win vs. Seattle on Sunday was Bradley’s 168th career victory. He is just one win away from tying former Houston and San Jose coach and current Galaxy assistant coach Dominic Kinnear for third in all-time coaching wins.

Bradley can surpass Kinnear with two more wins this season and that will put him into third place all-time, behind just Sigi Schmid (240 wins) and Bruce Arena (216).

 

ALL-TIME COACHING RECORDS

 

W

L

T


 

Sigi Schmid

240

183

125

.
 

Bruce Arena
 

216
 

127
 

104
 

.
 

Dominic Kinnear
 

169
 

137
 

135
 

.
 

Bob Bradley
 

168
 

113
 

75
 

.
 

 

 

 

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