Which coast was best? It was a draw but there was a clear winner. Carlos Vela’s soft-spoken demeanor and quiet diligence on the field belies the spirit inside. His brace for LAFC equalized NYCFC both times they led on the scoreboard. It’s been five days since Tata Martino left him off the roster for Mexico’s friendlies against Chile and Paraguay, but that hasn’t stopped Vela from progressing in his own form. Vela did not let his national team concerns get to him as he capitalized on two errors by NYCFC today to give his team a point as they fly back to sunny Southern California. First, in the 43rd minute, he got to Latif Blessing’s through ball and poked it from the right side into the back of the net. Next in the 76th minute, he leveled the score again on a penalty kick goal and added to his 5-for-5 all-time penalty kicks record.
As for NYC, their comfort in the midfield grew, controlling a large portion of the game and showed promise for their future. Alexandru Mitrita got his first goal for his new team, opening up the scoring in the 39th minute. Alexander Ring scored his own in the 62nd minute. In spite of all their efforts to block LAFC’s long ball, Yankee Stadium’s restrictive dimensions couldn’t provide enough hindrance to stop Vela from foiling the home team’s leads. New York City will have to live with another draw and a growing drought since their last win in October 2018.
A couple changes to Bradley’s lineup from the past two matches were necessitated by injuries. Steven Beitashour’s concussion kept him off the travel roster and Bob Bradley inserted Danilo Silva in as right back. Latif Blessing, took injured Lee Nguyen’s starting spot in midfield. The changes were discomforting for a while. Controlling the ball through the midfield was an issue for LAFC, with NYC dominating possession for over 60% of the match. A little luck and a soft penalty allowed for Vela’s second equalizer. Luck ran out for them though when right at the end of stoppage time, Adama Diomande’s left-footed shot from the center of the box went wide.
In the end, Vela comes away the biggest winner and the clear man of the match for LAFC.