(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: Although we’re very early into the start of the new 2023 MLS season, and at the time of this writing, the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), member of the Western Conference with a (1-0) record, received the East Coast’s New England Revolution, with a (2-0) record, and there you had a clash of the unbeatens, right from the top.
That was the brief “Standings only” pre-match overview that definitely applied to this encounter at BMO Stadium. A much notable pre-match activity was the recognition of former player, and fan-favorite to the max, Latif Blessing, who received his MLS Cup Championship ring while graciously congratulated by his ex-teammates. Blessing was mutually transacted to the New England Revolution in the off-season. A few celebrities spotted in the crowd were: Ivica Zubac, L.A. Clippers Center, on hand to support new player, Stipe Biuk from, Croatia, and Owen Wilson, Actor.
To watch the match highlights, please click here.
[Photo Gallery Credit]: Frankli Robles, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions, LLC
[1st HALF]: In evaluating the match’s first 10 minutes, it appeared to be similar to a boxing sparring session, as both squads offered infrequent frontal attacks while checking each other out. At the end of the first 10 minutes, the battle on the pitch was scored an even (10-10) for the round. The 3252 Group was definitely into one of their patented and driving stacotto rhythms. Then in the usual “blink of an eye,” at the (14:00) minute mark, the B&G planted themselves firmly in the attack zone and with a shot-on-goal attempt from inside the 18 yard box, a foul against Timothy Tillman was a called on the Revolution and an LAFC penalty kick was awarded. Guess who Coach Cherondulo called on to deliver the scoring blow against #99/Goalkeeper/Djordje Petrovic, just the hottest striker in the MLS, #99/Dénis Bouanga. And so he did with a straight-on direct blast just below the upper cross-bar, stretching his two consecutive match scoring total to an eye-popping four.
For the rest of the 1st period, BMO Stadium rocked and swayed in perfect harmony and rhythm with gold-colored smoke filling the pitch’s Northern end where El Grupo 3252 was perfectly positioned to cheer even louder. The remainder of the half resulted in no further scoring, but both teams were beginning to shed their early season-match butterflies as they went into their locker rooms to contemplate their next strategies in the 2nd half.
[HALF-TIME SCORE]: LAFC 1 New England 0
[2nd HALF]: Again, with squads matching each other fairly even, with no unbridled attacks or serious threats materializing, the match moved on, but always weighing on the explosiveness of the Black & Gold to seize an opportunity and then maneuvering in for the always coveted goal. Then, in the lull before another storm came, more scoring arrived at minute (66:00), when the electrifying, Bouanga, struck again with a great assist from teammate, #20/José Cifuentes. The score was now LAFC 2, Revolution 0.
The Black & Gold kept up the offensive pressure and it paid off once more, this time for the newly acquired right-footed midfielder, #11/Timothy Tillman, when at minute (83:00), he stroked in an exquisite goal on his own efforts, making it (3-0), LAFC. It was obviously a big sign of things to come from the young German player. The Coaches and the entire sold-out crowd simply loved all of the totality of circumstances connected with his acquisition in the off-season.
And the cascade of offense kept coming down on New England when it became Carlos Vela’s try on goal just minutes after Bouanga’s goal, but a great save was made by Goalkeeper, Petrovic, the goalkeeper. That was followed by another LAFC try when Bouanga and Palacios went on the attack as they gathered a 2-man game. A great display of trading lead passes was cleanly given to the fans, bringing loud cheers of encouragement to score. But no score was realized in this phase of the match as Petrovic basically lost out in the total percentages of makes vs. misses. These were the numbers in the winning formula, the Black & Gold took (8) shots on goal and made (4). The exact total number of shots in the match was (18).
In the final 15 minutes of the match, Coach Cherundol0 was treated to a very good sign of things to come from the newly signed forward, #7/Stipe Biuk, from Split, Croatia, who chimed in with his first goal as a member of the Black & Gold. It came in stoppage time at minute (90:00) + 6 with assists credited to José Cifuentes and Dénis Bouanga. This closed out the scoring for the match and moved the scoreboard to show a (4-0) victory, and a (2-0) MLS record.
[FULL-TIME SCORE]: LAFC 4 New England 0 [ATTENDANCE]: 22,007
[OF MATCH SIGNIFICANCE]: Bouanga’s performance with 2 more goals on offense and goalkeeper, John McCarthy’s on defense as he was credited with his second shut-out in a row.
[PREVIOUS MATCH RECAPS]: LAFC split their 2 Concacaf Champions League matches with Alajuelense, Costa Rica by dropping the return match at BMO Stadium by the score of (2-1). However, they recorded the League win by the aggregate score of (4-2), when they won their first match in Costa Rica by the score of (3-0). The Black & Gold will now advance to the quarterfinals. This marks their second appearance in the Champions League.
They then regathered for their 2nd MLS match against the Seattle Sounders, last week on March 18th and played to a (0-0) draw. The Club is now 2-0-0 while their next opponent, FC Dallas, is (2-1-1).
[NEXT UP IN MLS]: FC Dallas, Saturday, March 25th, 7:30 PM at BMO Stadium. Watch on Apple TV – MLS Season Pass