(East Los Angeles, CA) November 3, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The theme for this regular MLS season-ending match was aptly proclaimed to be named in honor of the Día De Los Muertos coupled with the actual match date of 11/2, All Souls Day. The L.A. night was brisk after the City was blessed with a great Fall day temperature of 72º. The LAFC opened the gates to their premiere soccer facility, aka, The Banc of California Stadium, to an extremely anxious fan-base with its hopes riding high on a much-needed final home season winning match.
Very much at stake in this match was a possible and highly coveted “play-off” berth for the Black & Gold, assuming that it would end with a thorough and convincing win to punctuate these all-important LAFC/MLS soccer/fútbol matters.
(Pre-Match Festivities): Actor, and LAFC co-owner, Will Farrell teamed up with Olly, the female Falcon of the stable, and it all led to the most thrilling Falcon Pageantry performance, the Banc of California Stadium predatory fly-through, that is displayed anywhere in the entire world of sports fandom. El Group 3252, coupled with its all high energy levels, was up to the seriousness and importance of the “match” as it filled every seat in its designated North area of the stadium. El Grupo also proudly unveiled its gigantic hand-made cloth banner depicting a salute and commemoration to the Día De Los Muertos, in fond memories of its late members as well as for many other dearly departed souls.
Lastly, to close out the “pre-match” festivities, the LAFC paid homage to the celebration of November’s Native-American Heritage Month and presented its fans with a rendition of the Native-American National Anthem by a selected tribal member.
[Match Summary]: The match began with the teams jousting and pivoting all over the pitch, but nothing serious or aggressive came into play. And then, at the (14:00) minute mark, Vancouver found itself with its forward, #11/Cristian Dájome, caught in a great “one-on-one” match-up directly in front of the LAFC goal. Dájome took aim and then took credit for the first goal of the match, making it Whitecaps 1 LAFC 0.
In first-half stoppage time of 45+ 3, LAFC’s insistence at scoring a goal came to fruition when there was a crossing attack in front of the goal. Finally, in the mix of all of the action, a pass by Sebastian Ibeaghe was stricken forward and into the net by Momadou Fall. Vancouver appealed the score and it went to VAR for the final decision. It was ultimately ruled a valid goal, tying the match at (1-1).
(Half-Time Score): LAFC 1 Vancouver 1
To watch the LAFC Decision Day video, please click here.
To view the Match Highlights, click here.
To view the LAFC video celebration of El Dia De Los Muertos, please click here.
(2nd Half): With Mr. Momentum now on LAFC’s side, they began I in earnest to regroup and penetrate the Whitecaps defensive line. At the 49th minute, on attack mode, Chicho, one of the hottest and streakiest players in the MLS, barely missed a clean shot from the center slot. The teams went into a “back & forth” mode of possession and attempted shots on goal, but noting major materialized.
[2nd Half]: Coach Bradley then made the substitution of El Capitán Carlos Vela for Ibeaghe at the 70th minute. Surely with the thought in mind of hoping to get a decent 20 minutes of leadership and determination from his star performer. Then the 3252 chants went up loud and strong for him as he stepped onto the pitch. Would Vela be able to provide that one last “super big play” before the final whistle would sound to end the match? It remained to be seen.
A bit later, at the 79th minute and after some near fisticuffs between LAFC players Brian Rodríguez and R. Teibert, along with the Sounders’ goalie, Brian Gutierrez, tempers were quite raw. After resumption of play, a Penalty Kick (PK) was awarded to LAFC’s Carlos Vela after being fouled. He took good aim but it bent too quickly and never had a chance to enter the right side of the goal. Black & Gold goalkeeper, Jamal Blackman then came up with a big save at minute 84. Vela was used as the set-up player, and at the 86th minute, he simply didn’t have enough frontal support on his attacks to penetrate the Sounders defensive wall.
In 90+ stoppage time….“Chicho” Arango missed a header on a right crosser for the win. It zoomed by the goalie and out of bounds. And with that, there went the hopes of closing out the home season with a playoff clinching victory.
(FULL-TIME SCORE): LAFC 1 Seattle 1 (ATTENDANCE): 22,221
The Fan Appreciation Fireworks show was then offered by LAFC to its wonderful fanbase who turned out well for the entire season. inspire of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the anxious moments are still ahead, as Decision Day awaits its arrival to reveal the (7) playoff teams from both the Eastern and Western Conferences of the MLS.
(Next Up): Colorado Rapids on “Decision Day,” November 7th, Sunday. Kick-off is scheduled for 3:00 PM|PT. You can watch all of the action on MLS LIVE on ESPN+, My13 KCOP, and Estrella TV. Fans can also listen on 1110 AM ESPN, ESPN App, and 980 AM La Mera Mera.