Going into Friday's match against WC giants Sporting Kansas City, LAFC had gone a whopping eight games without a win. To make matters worse, they were missing seven key players from a combination of injury or international duty, including Carlos Vela, Kim Moon-Hwan, and Brian Rodriguez. Oh, and their lead scorer Diego Rossi? They just sold him to Turkish club Fenerbahce two days prior.
So it was with no small amount of ecstatic glee the Black & Gold cheered on 18-year-old Mamadou Fall when he scored his debut goal for the club with a leaping header over SKC's Andreu Fontàs, giving the home side an unexpected lead in the first half.
But the Senegalese defender wasn't done scoring just yet. Following a red card for SKC's Roger Espinoza in the 55th minute, Fall scored yet another header off a set piece delivery from captain Eduard Atuesta.
The brace alone from a young newcomer would be news in itself, but with renewed confidence, LAFC continued the goals, with Colombian striker Cristian Arango notching his second club goal ten minutes later.
With SKC seemingly self-destructing at this point, LAFC continued an offensive onslaught that could have resulted in a match 6, 7, 8-nil. Danny Musovski earned the home team a PK after going one-on-one with SKC keeper Tim Melia. Atuesta, with two assists already under his belt, got on the scoreboard himself, confidently finishing off the penalty and securing a statement-making victory for LAFC.
With 13 games left in the season, LAFC are still just outside of playoff range, a hard reality for many fans and analysts accustomed to high-scoring performances. Interestingly, Bob Bradley's squad has continued to produce a high xG this season, but have struggled to convert these chances and manage early leads. That, coupled with an ailing Carlos Vela, has given rise to an increasingly vexed fanbase and a plummeting team morale. Friday's victory is a happy surprise for both fans and management, who will want to parlay this winning feeling into the next few weeks.
LAFC v RSL, Sept. 12 @ 7:30pm
SKC v Chicago, Sept 11 @ 5:30pm