On Wednesday night, LAFC relinquished themselves from their five-game winless streak and most importantly secured the 2019 Supporters Shield for the Black and Gold fans in their LA home stadium ( Banc Of California Stadium).
The game kicked off with high intensity on both ends, the back-to-back shots and nail-biting moments of the first half gave every audience member a reason to be at the edge of their seat.
In the 21’ LAFC brought in their touch and go game, finding Blackmon on the far right, who played the ball into the box to Uruguayan forward, B. Rodriguez, dashing in only to take a foul from Struna in the 18. The penalty gave Vela, MLS Golden Boot leading scorer, the chance to shoot and claim his 30th goal of the season.
While LAFC dominated possession over the ball in the first half, Houston Dynamo tried to move the ball closely into their opponents end. Six minutes after the opening goal by Vela, Houston’s Defender #3, Adam Lundkvist, took a corner and landed the ball right in the heart of Miller’s zone, unwillingly causing him to score an own goal and equalizing the match.
The momentum between the two teams was entirely felt throughout the first half. At the 30 minute mark the referee called a penalty in favor of, LAFC’s Midfielder, Lee Nguyen, who was taken down just near the 18-line. As this penalty could have determined the outcome of the game, the play was reviewed and alternatively called a free kick. Moving into the last minutes of the first half, Vela took the free kick to potentially clinch his 31st goal of the season but instead chiseled the top post.
It goes without saying, LAFC came in second half to claim what was rightfully theirs Wednesday night.
With high domination and constant attempts on target, Black and Gold came in with the tie-breaker. In the 69’ minute, right outside the box, Eduard Atuesta opened it far right to Tristan Blackmon who crossed the ball in. In an attempt to clear it, Defender Maynor Figueroa, kicks the ball off the crossbar for Diego Rossi to beautifully finish with a dive-in header.
With much effort, Houston Dynamo held their ground, but LAFC knew what came with a victory that night. So much so, even Goalkeeper Tyler Miller took to his risky moves and dove for a header just outside his box in an attempt to push out a loose ball. As Steven Beitashour put it “everyone’s heart goes to their stomach” when Miller goes for balls outside his zone.
The night turned Black and Gold at the 81’ when Latif Blessing was awarded a foul just outside the penalty area. The young Colombian, Eduard Atuesta, took the free kick and laid out a beautiful and swift back post goal, claiming the victory and the Supporter’s Shield for the team.
To cap off the night, during the last five minutes of the game, Alberth Elis attempts a header coming from a corner shot to find Lee Nguyen playing hero with a great block of the header, clearing the ball out of the box.
It was a momentous night for LAFC, especially for LAFC fans and supporters claiming the Shield. It was a hard loss for Houston, but for LAFC it was an opportunity to touch their first trophy in their own field. As Head Coach Bob Bradley put it “Tonight brought joy to winning something…It’s still early and there’s now lots of work ahead…” LAFC has two more games coming up, these next two matches will determine the fate of the Golden Boot race between Vela and Zlatan. For Mexican Forward, Carlos Vela, it could be a tie or new record of single-season goals scored in MLS history.
By Brigitte Flores