(East Los Angeles, CA) – [From The Editor’s Desk]: July 30, 2010, The LAFC remain the “Talk” of the “MLS Is Back” Tournament as well as here in the City of Angels, as they press forward into the quarterfinals. Earlier in the week, they soundly and convincingly eliminated their Western Conference foe, and current reigning MLS Champions, the Seattle Sounders FC. High expectations by the LAFC fan-base and its “Grupo 3252” have been set for another victory today as their team takes to the pitch against the Orlando City SC .
There’s no doubt that Latif Blessing and Diego Rossi have taken the team to the next level by showing consistent game preparation to know their opponents weaknesses, coupled with the on-field ability to execute Head Coach Bob Bradley’s game plan to its fullest. He urged his team to play with the mind-set of closing out their opponents in the 2nd half and that’s exactly what they did to win by a going-away final mark of (4-1).
[Game Recap By Correspondent: Javier Pérez]: After an exhilarating Group F stage performance from LAFC, and a rather weak and weary one from Seattle, the two teams clashed once again in the Knockout phase of the “MLS is Back Tournament.” The match was basically a repeat of their 2019 dramatic finish of the MLS Cup which saw Seattle crowned champion after a (3-1) upset victory that turned LAFC’s historic season into a bitter-sweet memory.
But that was last season, and this one, a re-start of another historic season, has been anything but normal due to the combination of each match’s pre-game salute to the Black Lives Matter movement and the merciless, but deadly Corinavirus (COVID-19) that is still plaguing our country and many other countries around the world. Just days before, LAFC closed out their last Group F stage match with a (2-2) tie against the Portland Timbers while Seattle closed with a (3-0) win against the Vancouver Whitecaps. An LAFC win would have proclaimed them victors of the Group F stage.
Seattle came out with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Stefan Frei at goal, Shane O’Neill and Xavier Arreaga playing center backs, along with Kevin Leerdam and Nouhou Tolo on the defensive wings. Gustav Svensson and Cristian Roldan played the center defensive midfield positions while Handwalla Bwana, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Jordan Morris adopted an attacking role to aid lone striker Raul Ruidiaz.
LAFC started with a classic 4-3-3 formation. Kenneth Vermeer was sent out on goal, replacing Pablo Sisniega per Coach’s game-day decision. He was on the pitch with Eddie Segura and Dejan Jakovic along with Diego Palacios and Tristan Blackmon as fullbacks. Occupying the midfield was Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta and Latif Blessing. Playing all the way up-top was newly christened superstar, Diego Rossi along with Bradley Wright-Phillips and Brian Rodriguez.
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LAFC started the goalfest early in the 14th minute with a penalty kick from Diego Rossi. Their attack pushed forward as a deflected curl from Latif Blessing, hit his opponent’s right shoulder and then ricocheted into the net. The unexpected play left Sounders goalie Frei standing and watching the sphere pass through the net. LAFC then confidently went into the locker room with a (2-0) lead.
The second half started off with Portland having to play with more urgency, obviously due to the goal deficit. And, the Sounders seemed to be refreshed with their attacking angles which led to a 75th minute goal from substitute, Will Bruin, coming as a result from a beautifully placed crosser into the back of the net, pulling the score back (2-1). Then, in classic LAFC fashion, Rossi came through again after a Timbers huge defensive mistake, to widen the gap, making it (3-1). Another costly Timbers defensive mistake allowed Brian Rodriguez to seal the fate for the Sounders and send them on their return trip home, (4-1) losers to the LAFC.
LAFC now advances to the quarter final round where they face Orlando City FC on Friday, July 31st at 4:30PM PST. Here’s how you can watch this outstanding match-up…..TV: FS1, UniMás, FOX Deportes; TSN, TVAS2 in Canada. STREAMING: FOX Sports App, TUDN App; TSN App, TVAS App in Canada.
About Our Correspondent: Javier Pérez is a Film, TV and Media Major with a Minor in Photography at Cal State University Dominguez Hills. He is a 2018 graduate of Marquez High School, located in Huntington Park, CA, and earned varsity letters in both Football and Soccer. Javier is now going into his Junior year at CSUDH.