In front of a crowd of 22,342 tonight, on the New York Red Bulls (11-10-4) first visit to Banc of California Stadium, LAFC (17-3-4) outpaced last year’s Supporters’ Shield winner to a 4-2 victory with goals from Jordan Harvey, Latif Blessing, Carlos Vela and Eddie Segura. LAFC continue to sit at the helm of the Western Conference and league, now with 55 points and a 40-goal differential poised to win the next Supporters’ Shield so long as they retain their untarnished undefeated home record.
The first goal of the evening came at the 23-minute mark courtesy of Harvey’s header (and a Vela assist), ending his two-year goalless dry spell. Two minutes later, Blessing extended his leg in front of a Steven Beitashour assist and extended the host’s lead to 2-0. Slowly New York picked up their pace and eventually chipped away at the home team’s confident lead. First, Cristian Cásseres Jr. shot past Tyler Miller in the 42nd minute. Then three minutes later, at the end of the first half, Cásseres set up the equalizer passing it to Danny Royer who then crossed the ball to Brian White. White’s shot landed on Miller’s back and went in as an own-goal.
After what must have been a rousing halftime locker room chat, LAFC came out with newfound energy. It was also Vela’s moment to shine. After having what they thought was the go-ahead goal by Mark-Anthony Kaye be called back, LAFC still managed to break the tie at the 60th minute. Newly signed Rece Buckmaster fouled Eduard Atuesta in the box and Vela did not miss his penalty kick opportunity.
Next, in the 72nd minute, Vela lobbed a ball to Segura just outside the six-yard box, and Segura headed in the goal, marking a milestone – his first league goal, and the last goal for the night.
In the end Carlos Vela took home a goal and two assists, tying Sebastian Giovinco for the most combined goals and assists in a season. The question of whether or not his move to MLS was a sound one remains to be seen but if the points speak for themselves, he chose wisely. And, it seems he feels he the same. “… In the end I’m not a striker. I’m not just scoring goals. I’m not always just in the front waiting for the ball. I’m trying to involve all of my teammates. I’m trying to help them. I’m trying to make some plays for them,” Vela remarks when asked to comment on his goals plus assists record.
Carlos Vela now the highest-scoring Mexican player in @MLS history. Pretty good career choice joining @LAFC!! #MLS
— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) August 12, 2019
With 2 assists and a goal on the night @11carlosV has tied Sebastian Giovinco for the most combined goals & assists in a single @MLS season. #LAFC pic.twitter.com/uR4DkFccGg
— LAFC (@LAFC) August 12, 2019
In the end, somehow LAFC lost their 2-goal lead, and rather than letting that defeat them, they came together as a team and nabbed 2 more to stun the opponents and fans. That’s growth, and a far cry from the late losses that had taken them by surprise last year.
Featured image courtesy LAFC