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LAFC Waver Against Toronto FC, Manage 1-1 Draw with Stoppage Time Goal

Updated: Oct 9, 2019


LAFC came home after 9 days on the road, and a four-game winless streak, to eke out a 1-1 draw against visiting Eastern Conference contenders Toronto FC.

Toronto drew first blood with a goal in the 19' from Tsubasa Endoh, after a bad touch in the box from LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye led to a quick cross to Endoh and a clinical finish past Tyler Miller.

LAFC's equalizer came in the 95th minute after Jack-of-All-Trades midfielder, Latif Blessing, playing as an outside back, drew a foul in the box.

The meet-up on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Banc of California Stadium was undoubtedly more consequential for TFC, as LAFC has already secured a spot in the MLS Playoffs and could have potentially clinched the Supporters' Shield had they posted a win today.

In a surprising turn of events, The Reds were instead the dominant side for the first half, as LAFC struggled with quality, making unforced errors, passing out of bounds, and managing only two shots on goal.

This was notably the first match LAFC captain Carlos Vela and recent Uruguayan acquisition Brian Rodriguez have played together, a configuration no doubt implemented since LAFC striker Adama Diomande voluntarily entered the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program just days ago.

LAFC thought they had equalized at 33' when winger Diego Rossi deftly took on multiple players and finished to a roaring crowd, but the goal was correctly called back for offsides.

In spite of LAFC's enviable Rossi-Vela-Rodriguez attacking trio, Toronto's backline—especially Brazilian defender Auro and center back Chris Mavinga—decisively kept them at bay. As a whole, Toronto looked the physically stronger, more threatening side. It's a familiar tune, as LAFC have had trouble squaring up with more physical teams in the past. In the post-match press conference, head coach Bob Bradley acknowledged as much, when he explained LAFC isn't the kind of team that knocks it wide to cross it in the box. The implication being LAFC isn't looking to score goals off headers and win balls in the air. They are, understandably, a passing team with players of smaller stature that do best when they can weave and move.

LAFC emerged in the second half with marked focus, posting 15 shots on goal versus TFC's one attempt. They were rewarded in the last minute of stoppage time after a cross from Eduard Atuesta to Blessing led to a PK, which Vela finished to secure a draw for his club, and maintain his current lead in goals this season. Vela is now at 29 caps, with Josef Martinez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic close behind at 26. With Martinez suffering a potentially serious injury on Saturday night's Atlanta match against San Jose Earthquakes, and Zlatan's knack for regularly posting hat tricks, the race for the Golden Boot may come down to the rival captains of L.A.

The match was also a family affair of sorts with former LAFC captain Laurent Ciman now playing with Toronto, and LAFC manager Bob Bradley's son, Michael Bradley, captaining the Canadian squad.

Up Next:

LAFC play Houston Dynamo on Wed, 9/25, at 7:30pm PDT

Toronto FC face Montreal Impact for the Canadian Championship on Wed, 9/25, at 4:30pm PDT

To reach Christine Kwon, email criskwon2000@gmail.com


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