LAFC kicked off their MLS campaign in style with a 1-0 win away at Seattle Sounders yesterday, thanks to an 11th minute goal from forward Diego Rossi. The league newcomers then held off a second-half onslaught to claim an historic victory, and grant coach Bob Bradley his first win in the MLS since 2006.
It’s never easy being the new team on the block – particularly when your opening match is against last year’s champions, but for 23rd MLS franchise Los Angeles FC, there were plenty of positives to take from their debut performance. After almost conceding in the second minute of the game, fans began to wonder if LAFC would wilt under the hostile atmosphere of the CenturyLink Field, but when former Arsenal man Carlos Vela picked out Diego Rossi on the edge of the box, the match began to turn. Rossi managed to curl the ball around Sounders keeper Stefan Frei with a sublime finish, giving LA fans a taste of things to come.
The visitors were in control of the game for much of the first-half, but it was their second-half performance that made the debut victory possible.
“After [the first 25 minutes] it was more about fighting and defending,” said coach Bob Bradley “But when you’re starting out as a team, you have to learn how to win different kinds of games. So, a lot of positives, great to win, still a lot of work to do.
“We talked today, you only get one chance for [a first game] to show what you’re all about. And I don’t think we showed football-wise what we’re capable of. But that’s only going to get better. I’m very confident as we build this team we’re going to see some real football.”
Carlos Vela was one of the brightest sparks in LAFC’s attacking line, and will be looking to improve on the 73 goals he scored during his time at La Liga side Real Sociedad.
Bradley said of Vela: “Carlos was so excited for today and we know that he’s a special attacking player but look at all the other things he does,”
“He’s chasing back, he’s holding the ball under pressure, he’s organizing guys around him. So, the leadership that Carlos shows and that [captain] Laurent Climan shows with a young team, those players are really important. So, Carlos was great today.”