Tonight’s Knockout Group State entree: the 2019 MLS Supporters Shield Winners Versus the 2019 MLS Cup Champions. It was a battle MLS supporters dream of, a battle of the best.
LAFC smartly came out fighting fast and furiously, strategizing that any letup in that aggressive play would likely lead to a counter attack from Seattle. It felt like a game of chess. One team came out without hesitation. The other lying in wait, for the moment when LAFC slips up. Right? Nope. While this was a good option earlier on in the tournament, by the looks of things at the half, LAFC was not showing signs of fatigue, 10 shots at goal while Seattle only came close once. In the 13th minute, a costly penalty was conceded by Xavier Arreaga after a foul on Diego Rossi in the box. Rossi did not miss his free kick, putting LAFC on the board. Then in the 39th minute an own goal from Seattle deflected past Stefan Frei, and was awarded to Latif Blessing. Overall, not a dream start for Seattle who haven’t fallen behind by multiple goals all tournament.
The second half continued to frustrate the Sounders with a stubborn LAFC putting numbers in the back, and then stretching the Sounders to their limits with regular attacking. Seattle’s first shot on goal came in the 64th minute and was easily caught by Kenneth Vermeer. Then, while LAFC kept pressing miss after miss, their trademark, Seattle finally sprung to life. In the 75th minute, fresh legs of two substitutes, caught LAFC sleeping. The link up between Will Bruin and Joevin Jones, that led to their first and only goal, was the start of five minutes of brilliance from Seattle. But Diego Rossi had something else in mind – his seventh goal of the MLS Is Back Tournament. In the 82nd minute he kept his composure long enough to score the third goal for LAFC. And, with it, Seattle’s hopes and spirit went silent. The sound of it was all but deafening. LAFC weren’t done yet. Brian Rodríguez jumped on a misplaced touch and dug the dagger in deeper. In the 89th minute, the Supporters Shield winners made it clear, this was a game of sweet revenge on the team that knocked them out of their MLS Cup run in 2019. Final Score, 4-1 LAFC, SEA. On a personal note: this was a lot like when I attempt to play chess.
LAFC move on to face Orlando on Friday in a Quarterfinal match.
featured image: by Matt Stith & Devin L’Amoreaux | MLSsoccer.com