LAFC In The World Cup
The FIFA World Cup in Russia begins on June 14. The squads of the 32 competing countries are set, and the players are ready to challenge for the biggest prize in sports.
As the MLS club with the most participants in this year's World Cup, LAFC had multiple players called in by their respective national teams. Below is the list of players named to World Cup squads for 2018 tournament:
Carlos Vela - Mexico
A veteran of the 2010 World Cup, Carlos Vela was a consistent starter during Mexico's 2018 qualifying campaign. With his start against Germany in Group F, Vela has now appeared in his second World Cup. Follow Carlos and Mexico's matches with the schedule below.
|6/17||Mexico vs Germany||W 1-0|
|6/23||Mexico vs South Korea||8:00 AM PT|
|6/27||Mexico vs Sweden||7:00 AM PT|
Mexico vs Germany - Matchday 1
It's been 62 years since a country has repeated as World Cup champions. Mexico did its part to keep it that way in the opening match of Group F on Sunday.
The last time Germany failed to win its opening match in a World Cup was 1986. Mexico hadn't defeated Germany since 1985. But none of that mattered as El Tri stunned the Germans with a clinical counterattack in the 35th minute. Hirving Lozano got the goal, but it was a well-worked combination between Chicharito and captain Andrè Guardado that created the opening.
He didn't figure into the match-winning goal, but Carlos Vela put in a stellar performance in his 58 minutes on the pitch.
Starting in a central attacking role behind Chicharito, Vela was the maestro behind multiple dangerous counterattacks from Mexico. Had Chicharito been a bit sharper in his passing during a 2v1 break early in the second half, Vela may have found the back of the net. The LAFC Designated Player was removed in the 58th minute in favor of the more defensive Edson Álvarez, but not before Vela marked Germany's Toni Kroos out of much of the match.
The 1-0 win puts Mexico atop Group F, with Sweden and South Korea set to start group play on Monday. Vela and El Tri take on South Korea in Matchday 2 on June 23.
Omar Gaber - Egypt
Omar Gaber was one of the 23 players chosen by head coach Hector Cuper to Egypt's first World Cup squad since 1990. The 26-year-old defender is a veteran of World Cups in youth tournaments for Egypt, and now has his chance at a first appearance in the senior competition, but has made 22 appearances for the Pharaohs since his first senior call-up in 2011. Follow Omar and Egypt's matches with the schedule below.
|6/15||Egypt vs Uruguay||L 0-1|
|6/19||Egypt vs Russia||L 1-3|
|6/25||Egypt vs Saudi Arabia||7:00 AM PT|
Egypt vs Uruguay - Matchday 1
Egypt’s first World Cup match in 28 years was a back and forth affair until the 89th minute. Uruguay eventually found the back of the net on a José Giménez header after a slew of set pieces opportunities in Egypt’s defensive third.
Unfortunately, had to make do without Mohamed Salah, who was an unused substitute along with Omar Gaber against Uruguay. Now the Pharaohs have their work cut out for them in the next two matches. Egypt face tournament hosts Russia, who routed Saudia Arabia 5-0 in their first match, in Matchday 2 on Tuesday.
Egypt vs Russia - Matchday 2
Heartbreak for Egypt in its second match of the tournament. Mohamed Salah returned from injury, but it was not enough as the Pharaohs fell behind the hosts Russia in the 47th minute via an own goal from defender Ahmed Fathy.
Egypt dug itself a deeper hole, conceding twice more in the space of three minutes. A late 73rd minute penalty from Salah was merely consolation, as Russia ran out 3-1 winners on the day. For the second straight match, LAFC’s Omar Gaber remained on the bench. And to add to Egypt’s woes, Uruguay defeated Saudia Arabia 1-0 the following day to end Egypt’s chances of moving on to the knockout stages of the tournament.
Marco Ureña - Costa Rica
Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez cut right to the chase, naming his final 23-man roster well before the June 4 deadline. LAFC forward Marco Ureña was named as part of that squad, making his second World Cup appearance. The forward scored once for the Ticos during the 2014 World Cup. Follow Marco and Costa Rica's matches with the schdeule below.
|6/17||Costa Rica vs Serbia||L 0-1|
|6/22||Costa Rica vs Brazil||5:00 AM PT|
|6/27||Costa Rica vs Switzerland||11:00 AM PT|
Costa Rica vs Serbia - Matchday 1
Marco Ureña's first start in a World Cup match was also a first for his Club.
Taking his usual spot up top for the Ticos against Serbia in the opening match of Group E, Ureña became the first player in LAFC history to participate in a World Cup. Unfortunately, it was not all good news, as Costa Rica dropped its opener 1-0 thanks to an Aleksander Kolorav free kick in the 56th minute.
Having made all four of his previous World Cup appearances off the bench for Costa Rica, Ureña got his first World Cup start just over a month after having surgery to repair a facial fracture. Leading the line for the Ticos, the forward went close to opening the scoring when he was played through on goal just 10 minutes into the match. Ureña couldn't quite get his angles right though, as Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojković was there to make the save.
Kolarov's free kick broke the deadlock after a scoreless first half, forcing Costa Rica to send numbers forward in search of an equalizer. But after his opportunity in the first half, Ureña was unable to get much service from his teammates. He was subbed off for Joel Campbell in the 67th minute.
Costa Rica now has the difficult task of facing Brazil in its next match. The Ticos will be in search of their first points of the tournament.
LAFC World Cup Watch Parties
|Friday, June 15||Garage On Motor - 3387 Motor Ave, Los Angeles|
|Portugal vs Spain||11:00 AM|
|Saturday, June 16||La Cita - 336 S Hill Street, Los Angeles|
|Argentina vs Iceland||6:00 AM|
|Peru vs Denmark||9:00 AM|
|Croatia vs Nigeria||11:00 AM|
|Sunday, June 17||The Parlor - 7250 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles|
|Mexico vs Germany||8:00 AM|
|Brazil vs Switzerland||11:00 AM|
|Monday, June 18||Ye Olde King's Head - 116 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica|
|Belgium vs Panama||8:00 AM|
|England vs Tunisia||11:00 AM|
|Saturday, June 23||Tom's Urban - 1011 S. Figueroa St, Los Angeles|
|Mexico vs South Korea||8:00 AM|
|Germany vs Switzerland||11:00 AM|
|Saturday, June 23||WSS - 3101 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles|
|Mexico vs South Korea||8:00 AM|
|Germany vs Switzerland||11:00 AM|
|Sunday, June 24||Pineapple Hill - 4454 Van Nuys Blvd N, Sherman Oaks|
|England vs Panama||5:00 AM|
|Japan vs Senegal||8:00 AM|
|Poland vs Colombia||11:00 AM|
|Wednesday, June 27||BiergartenLA - 206 N. Western Ave. LA, CA 90004|
|South Korea vs Germany||7:00 AM|
|Wednesday, June 27||La Cita - 336 S Hill Street, Los Angeles|
|Mexico vs Sweden||7:00 AM|
|Serbia vs Brazil||11:00 AM|
|Switzerland vs Costa Rica||11:00 AM|
|Thursday, June 28||Ye Olde King's Head - 116 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica|
|England vs Belgium||11:00 AM|