LAFC gave up three more points on Saturday, May 29, in a frustrating 1-2 loss to NYCFC at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. In a match that saw both sides in need of a season-lifting boost, LAFC were poised for the win, having home field advantage, the well-known backing of the 3252, and a recent victory against the Colorado Rapids.
Despite that, the Boys in Blue were able to rebound from a 1-0 deficit, with an equalizer from Paraguayan attacker Jesús Medina at 70' and the winner from attacking midfielder Ismael Tajouri-Shradi in the 90th, despite being down a man after Nicolás Acevedo received a red card in the 86th minute.
As is typical for the Black and Gold, LAFC started with aggressive attacking play, throwing players forward and controlling possession 60-40. Their efforts were rewarded in the 56th minute when Uruguayan winger Diego Rossi decisively beat NYCFC's left back and slotted a pin perfect ball to Corey Baird for an easy finish.
NYCFC then made a bevy of subs in the 66th minute, replacing Maxi Moralez with Tajouri-Shradi—whose positive form also saw him score in their previous match—and debuting 18-year-old Brazilian Talles Magno. The changes immediately provided an infusion of offensive energy, with NYCFC's high-press causing crucial turnovers and mispasses from LAFC's backline and midfield.
LAFC had a few key goal-scoring opportunities—once to retake the lead after NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson played a weak ball that's intercepted by Carlos Vela mere yards outside the box, and again in stoppage time when Danny Musovski has a wide open look at goal (thanks to some acrobatics from super sub Latif Blessing)—both of which were squandered.
One-time MLS darlings, LAFC have had an underwhelming start to their fourth campaign having to contend with a multitude of injuries (Vela, Rossi, Baird, Kim Moon-Hwan, and now Kwadwo Opoku) and a difficult early schedule that saw them face off against MLS giants Seattle Sounders twice and crosstown rivals LA Galaxy without a full arsenal.
Meanwhile, NYCFC were emerging from their own spell of bad luck: they lost 2-1 to Columbus Crew in the last 10 minutes of play after decisively dominating the match, courtesy of a pair of freakish set piece goals from Lucas Zelarayan, and drew against Toronto FC when the ref disallowed a goal later validated by PRO, which should have given Ronny Deila's side a 2-1 win.
While there's still plenty of season to go, LAFC now drop to 9th in the Western Conference, and will no doubt focus on rebuilding as the league enters a multi-week break for international play.
LAFC v Houston Dynamo, June 19 @ 8pm
NYCFC v New England Revolution, June 19 @ 430pm