(East Los Angeles, CA) November 11, 2020 [From The Editor’s Desk]: As our Headline says, it’s Decision Day for many MLS teams as we hit the last match of the regular season. Everyone’s jockeying for those final few seeding spots for the upcoming playoffs during this COVID-19 coronavirus plagued season. With our national CDC data indicating new cases screaming out at over 10,000,000 since the beginning of the outbreak in February of this year. Now, in November, the virus is at “2nd Wave” status. We kindly implore all of our followers and viewers to be extremely cautious and careful as we go deeper into the Fall season.
So, in light of those negative, but true comments, we are still grateful for being able to cover the Black & Gold’s attempt to secure a good seed in the upcoming post-season tournament. They entered the match alone in 5th place, while the Portland Timbers were in 3rd and who were also without the services of their top players, Sebastian Blanco and Jeremy Ebobisse.
Coming into today’s match, Coach Bob Bradley had to lay claim to a good playoff seed by clamping down with his defense. For this season finale, it was very timely for the home team to come out with a nearly a full roster that now includes a healthy Carlos Vela and an almost 100% Mark-Anthony Kaye.
(Photo Gallery #1): Javier Perez, Student Intern, Cal State Dominguez Hills *(Contains 1st half pictures only. 2nd Half pictures coming shortly)
To watch the match highlights, click here.
Match Summary: (1st Half) – For the on-field pre-game activity, and just before the match’s opening kick-off, both teams took the knee during the solemn moment in honor of Black Lives Matter, with full support by the MLS’ Black Players Association,
The LAFC began with an aggressive formation and played as if their season would positively be extended into the playoffs. Vela’s playing minutes have been increasing match-by-match, while Diego Rossi’s explosiveness in striking gold for the Gold Boot Award, has re-invigorated the offensive machine that was on full display at the 2/3 mark of the season.
The first goal of the match came rather quickly at the 4:55′ mark, when #10 Carlos Vela, banged it in from just outside of the right side of the goal, off a rebound from a block by goalie, Steve Clark. It was a Latif Blessing direct attempt on goal that began the chain of events culminating in the score, (1-0), LAFC. At the 21′ minute mark, LAFC had taken only 2 shots on goal to none for Portland.
The defense was doing its job and this transitioned into more attacking time than the Timbers managed. It was back & forth with no give by each squad. The only difference from the last 15 minutes was that LAFC was credtied with one more shot-on-goal, giving it 3 for the 1st half at the 36′ mark. Both teams had 4 fouls each. Other than corner kicks, the teams looked to be playing even, except for the opening goal by Vela, and the 2 near-goals by Rossi that hit the goal’s wooden struts. A bit later, Head Coach Bradley and Vela’s teammates held their collective breaths at the 41′ minute mark when he got tangled up at midfield and went down to the ground. He took an extra couple of seconds to rise, gathered himself, and signaled he was OK. In his first start since August, it was Vela’s 4th goal of the season that was the difference maker in the opening period.
(Halftime Score): LAFC 1 Timbers 0
(Final Season Records): Seattle/3rd place/39 pts/22 games/11 wins-5 losses-6 ties; LAFC: 7th place/32pts/22 games/9 wins-8 losses-5 ties).
(2nd Half): The match tempo was still strong for LAFC to begin the 2nd period. At the 53rd minute, Rossi just missed a goal when he hit the right goal-post and then had it carom away to the right sideline. At the 63′ mark, the stats showed the following for both teams: Goals/LAFC (1), Portland (0); Shots-on-Goal/ LAFC (5), Timbers (0); Saves/Portland (4) LAFC (0); Corners/LAFC (3), Portland (1); Fouls/LAFC (9), Portland (6). Question from fan-base…will key LAFC players have enough gas in their tanks to finish strongly and convincingly? Black & Gold’s defense was still very sound. At the 79th minute a Timbers shot on goal by Diego Valeri but saved by Kenneth Vermeer. On subsequent 1-on-1, VerMeer dove to secure the live ball in the box, but paid the price of being hit in the face by an opponent as his shoe scraped his face in leaping over him. He was attended by the Team’s medical staff and then given the OK to remain in the match. On one of the final plays of regulation time, Portland scored their huge tying goal by Jorge Villafaña at the 89:45′ marker, with the assist going to Valeri. The match was now equal at (1-1). Six minutes was tacked on for stoppage time. (Of Note)…#14 Mark-Anthony Kaye made his long-awaited entry into the match for all of stoppage time.
(FINAL SCORE): (1-1) Tie.
(Final Team Stat-Line): LAFC: Goals-1/Shots-on-Goal-7/Including Blocked-14/Saves-2/Corners-3/Fouls-13/Possession-51.5%; Portland Timbers: Goals-1/Shots-On-Goal-3/Including Blocked-8/Corners-4/Fouls-13/Possession-48.5%. (Post-Game Fact): Diego Rossi was declared the MLS winner of the Golden Boot Award with 14 goals.
(Next Up): Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs–Round One, #3 Seattle Sounders FC vs, #7 LAFC @ CenturyLink Field–Seattle, Tuesday, November 24– 7:30 pm/PST. BROADCAST TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports; STREAMING: ESPN App in US.