A few takeaways from today’s LAFC home opener 2-1 win against Sporting Kansas City.
- Bye-Bye Benny, bye-bye. It’s our turn to cry. Lee Ngyuen has inherited his spot and, along with Eduard Atuesta, had some growing pains during the first half. Ngyuen’s efforts without strategy behind his occasional bouts of creative assertion led to nothing fruitful. He calmed down in the second half, allowing Eddie Atuesta to take up the reigns by pushing forward. The coordination that ensued between them improved the play across the board.
- LAFC’s attacking third has gotten rusty during the offseason break. There was a distinct communication gap between Carlos Vela and Christian Ramirez. Clumsy. In a word, both teams were clumsy in different ways today. While Kansas City steamrolled through a timid home side during the first half, at times looking more like they were playing rugby, LAFC appeared to lack coordination through their attacking third.
- Defensively, things looked better for LAFC than towards the end of last season. After Cimán’s departure, there was a struggle that often came about in the second half of play resulting in costly errors. A reminder of that came early with a poorly marked Krisztian Nemeth goal in front of Zimmerman’s eyes. Last year, we saw a complacency that sometimes led to leaking goals in the second half after the attacking force subsided. Maintaining a lead wasn’t easy. If today is any indication, that’s not going to be the case going forwards. Whatever the halftime talk was, it worked. Coming out of the locker room, LAFC’s urgency to get back in the game was clear and the balance between the defense and offense was established.
It was not the same quick pass beautiful but aggressive style of play as last year. The more patient they are, the more they produce. The game deserved to end in a draw but because of yellow card accumulation, they were playing against a tired and unfocused SKC. To be fair, I saw this ending in a draw (in my mind). Great timing for Adama Diomande to dig deep and find that goal. LAFC next face another West Coast rival, Portland Timbers. March 10th should be another zinger! Buckle up.