(East Los Angeles, CA) April 19, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The LAFC Fans who attended their team’s Opening Day 2021 match of the season, were treated to a huge (2-0) shut-out W-I-N! Both the festive, and also the somber airs were gently but passionately swirling inside the Banc of California Stadium on a bright and sunny day in L.A.
First, the festive..The Home Opener with El Grupo 3252, and regular fans were all gearing up for the return of that electric feeling one gets at an LAFC match. Second, the somber..The painful news that Mauricio “Mo” Fascio, El Grupo 3252’s, Founding Father, and Vice President, had succumbed to COVID last month. El Group 3252, made sure to pause and pay its fullest respects to him with 1) “A Moment of Silence“; 2) the distribution of a commemorative arm-band to all fans and players; and 3) the innovative raising of a large banner as a noble gesture to a dearly departed, but never forgotten fellow-fan.
But, make no mistake about it, once the game started, the party was in the air and El Grupo 3252 was in mid-season form, bringing lots of energy to the team, especially to the 4,900 fans and media in attendance.
Now, let’s get you all caught up on what happened in the match, coupled with what appeared to be an early, but questionable “Coach’s Decision,“ to sub-out Carlos Vela at the 22nd minute of the first half. Heads were scratching on that move by most in attendance whether you were a player, a fan, or a member of the media. When it was noted that Vela was injured in a leg “bang-up” with the opponent, the medical staff immediately rendered on and off-field medical treatment. During this time, Vela was then substituted by Bradley for Kwadwo Opoko. On his return to the team bench, Vela and Coach Bradley exchanged a brief comment along with a body language gesture. The early exit excluded Carlos from returning to play.
(Match Summary): The first half bode fairly even for the visiting, and new Major League Soccer expansion team, Austin F.C. But they could not penetrate the Black & Gold’s tough defensive blanket to any impactful degree. Goalie Pablo Sisniega was not too busy, but when he was, he made great and instinctive saves . Thus, after the “feeling-out” process for one half, the score ended in a tie at (0-0).
The 2nd half scoring came at the 61st minute when newly acquired Stiker, Corey Baird, took a clean shot at the left side of the Austin goal, but while in its brief flight, it deflected off an Austin F.C. player’s leg and then squirted into the left corner for the score. Baird was assisted by Danny Musovski. (1-0), LAFC. Then nearly 30 minutes later, at the 90th+ minute, José Cifuentes converted a “wide-open” shot at the goal line, tapping it in with no defender in sight. The assist on the shot was credited to K. Opoku. That goal sealed the victory. (Of Significance): Diego Rossi was a late scratch due to a Coach’s decision.
(KEY Game Stats): Total Shots, LAFC 24/ATX 12; Shots On Goal, LAFC 9/ATX 3; Passing Accuracy, LAFC 80%/ATX 83.8; & Corners, LAFC 10/ATX 7.
(FINAL SCORE): LAFC 2 Austin F.C. 0
(Next Up): Seattle Sounders @ Banc of California Stadium, Saturday, April 24th at 3:00 pm.|Media coverage – TV: ESPN Deportes. | Radio: 710 AM ESPN (ENG) & KFWB 980 “La Mera Mera” (SPA).