LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Football Club maintained its early-season dominance over Major League Soccer on Thursday, overwhelming FC Dallas without having to push itself to do so while securing a 2-0 victory at Banc of California to begin a string of three matches in nine days.
Carlos Vela found the net in the opening half and Diego Rossi added to the Black & Gold tally late in the match as LAFC swarmed Dallas while remaining stout on the defensive end.
Bob Bradley’s side led 1-0 at the half following Vela’s league-leading 13th goal, one off his 2018 total despite playing 15 fewer games.
The 30-year-old LAFC captain connected in the 39th minute as LAFC’s attack and counter press pinned Dallas in its own end.
Battling to retain the ball in the attacking third, LAFC center forward Christian Ramirez and midfielder Eduard Atuesta scrapped to create a turnover. Rossi gathered the ball and the Uruguayan started a sequence in which seven LAFC players touched the ball, eventually setting up Vela off an assist by Atuesta, his fifth of the season.
Rossi’s seventh goal of the year came in the 83rd minute after referee Allen Chapman determined Adama Diomande, who entered the game at the hour mark for Ramirez, was onside as he delivered the ball to the young winger.
Vela could have completed a first-half hat trick, and as the game advanced into its late stages he pressed for more. The Mexican knocked a direct free kick off the crossbar in the first quarter hour of the match, then hit one off the post 15 minutes later. All told, he tied his season high for shots at eight.
LAFC didn’t rely solely on Vela to create chances, and Dallas goalkeeper Jose Luis Gonzalez was forced to make three first-half saves to keep the game competitive. He added another as LAFC pushed to increase its lead late in the match.
The visitors, meanwhile, couldn’t manage a shot, corner kick or cross through the first 45 minutes. Dallas (5-4-2, 17 points) managed seven shots in the second half, none that required a Tyler Miller save.
Miller hasn’t needed to make more than two saves in a match since LAFC’s only defeat of the season at Vancouver on April 17.
The only action around the LAFC goalkeeper came when the American leaped in the air to corral a ball and kneed Dallas midfielder Michael Barrios in the chin. The Colombian was forced off the field early in the second half as Dallas fought to make a dent in the game.
The result, LAFC’s third consecutive shutout, keeps them atop the MLS Western Conference and gives them 30 points to lead the Supporter’s Shield race.
LAFC (9-1-3) didn’t hit 30 points until June 30 last season.
The team heads to Dallas for a rematch this Sunday before welcoming Montreal to Banc of California Stadium on May 24, its last home date until July 6.
More to come on this story.
Lucky number 13
— LAFC (@LAFC) May 17, 2019
— LAFC (@LAFC) May 17, 2019
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