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West top seed LAFC defeats Houston

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Sunday’s match against the Houston Dynamo had the feel of a Western Conference coronation for LAFC.

Sure enough, LAFC sent another reminder on Sunday night as to why they were the best in the West. A brace from the penalty spot from Carlos Vela and a second half goal from Ryan Hollingshead enabled LAFC to avenge a loss to the Dynamo two weeks earlier with a 3-1 win at Banc of California Stadium.

“During the whole season, the team has demonstrated great quality and unity,” LAFC defender Eddie Segura said. “It is what is reflecting in the standings. All that confidence and hard work is a result of that what we have been building all season. We have been able to demonstrate what we are capable of and he [Steve] knows what we are capable of doing. We like to play at a high level to keep fighting toward our objectives.”

Sunday’s match could have given LAFC the opportunity to clinch the West on the field, but LAFC instead got some help from Nashville, who played second-seed Austin to a 1-1 draw a day earlier. With one goal behind them (clinching the top spot in the West), LAFC (20-8-4, 64 points) can now turn its attention to another goal; winning the Supporters Shield. LAFC is well in position to do that, as Sunday’s win tied the Philadelphia Union on points for the Shield with two matches to go in the regular season for both sides. LAFC have the tiebreaker advantage at this point with more wins.

“It is super important to us,” Hollingshead said. “There are three trophies to win this year and [US] Open Cup we lost too early so now we got Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup and we want to win both of those. There is a lot of ups and downs on the season. A lot of movement here in the Club bringing guys in, moving guys out so getting into a good rhythm is difficult with all of that. But you can tell with the veterans that we have and the guys that we brought in we have a squad that should and could win the Supporters’ Shield.”

LAFC was on the move right from the start. Cristian Arango dribbled past Griffin Dorsey in the penalty area, Dorsey made a desperate attempt to stop Arango, grabbing and holding him up from behind, and referee Kevin Stott blew his whistle and signaled for the penalty spot. Vela stepped up to the spot, keeper Steve Clark dove to his left, but he guessed wrong, as Vela sent the shot straight into the back net. Houston however were angling to once again crash the party, and they got the equalizer in the 25th minute, as Adalberto Carrasquilla sprung Corey Baird with a long ball over the LAFC defense into the penalty area, and the former LAFC player touched a ball past keeper Maxime Crepeau into the back net to level the match.

LAFC however got another break right before halftime. It started just as the first half was heading into stoppage time, as Kellyn Acosta sent a corner into the penalty area, the ball went off the hand of Fafa Picault inside the box, but neither of the officiating crew saw the ball go off Picault’s hand, the Dynamo cleared the ball out, but Stott soon got the call from the Video Review Assistant Jair Marrufo to take a look, which Stott did, and it was confirmed that the ball went of Picault’s hand, and Stott once again signaled LAFC to the penalty area. Again Vela stepped up to the spot and sent the penalty to his left side, and while Clark guessed right this time, he still could not stop Vela from getting his second goal from the spot, which reclaimed the lead for LAFC.

LAFC did not let up in the second half. LAFC added a third goal in the 52nd minute, as a Denis Bouanga blocked shot fell to the feet of Hollingshead, who then faked a shot that sent Adam Lundqvist to the ground, which left Hollingshead with a sightline, and he capitalized, blasting the shot past Clark into the upper back net.

“Our players succeeded in achieving the objective tonight, which was to win,” LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said. “We were very clear with them before the game. We’re also happy with our players off the bench who had an impact on the performance as well and were quite bright and did exactly what was expected of them.”

LAFC will have some time off to prepare for a very important match, as they head to the Pacific Northwest for a massive, nationally televised match against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on October 2.

The post West top seed LAFC defeats Houston appeared first on Prost Amerika.

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