By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Wednesday, August 8: 3(7) – 3(6) Loss
Los Angeles Football Club‘s U.S. Open Cup run came to a devastating end in Houston on Wednesday. Diego Rossi’s hat trick would give the push the club needed but despite all efforts – their luck would run out during the penalty shootout.
Diego Rossi kicked things off to an exciting start with the opening goal putting the black-and-gold ahead just six minutes into the match. Though, it wouldn’t take long for Houston’s Andrew Wenger to answer Rossi with the equalizer when he chests a ball home before the stream started working.
Even after having scored an early goal, the black-and-gold continued to play sloppy defense, including having a difficult time maintaining possession giving Houston multiple chances to turn over. The lack of urgency would become costly in the 26th minute when Mauro Manotas breaks through the black-and-gold’s defense to give Houston the 2-1 lead. LAFC would struggle to level it by going into the half down by one.
In the 76th minute, Memo Rodriguez would increase the Dynamo’s lead by 3-1. Coming hot off of the bench, Rodriguez gets around Steven Beitashour and slams it into the lower left corner. Fortunately, Rossi is quick to respond and pulls one back when he lightly taps one in past Joe Willis making the score 3-2.
Just when all hope seemed lost, something miraculous happened during stoppage time. Rossi sparked life back into the match by scoring his hat trick forcing Houston into extra time.
Aaron Kovar and Latif Blessing came close to scoring early shortly after the restart. Having already used all substitutes during regular play, the remaining of extra time saw both sides going back-and-forth – clearly struggling to keep up.
Going into their first-ever penalty shootout, a limping Tyler Miller fought through the pain to attempt to save the penalties. Miller was victorious in the fourth round when he denied Boniek Garica. LAFC’s chances looked good as Carlos Vela converted his pk, however, danger came again when Laurent Ciman‘s chance was saved. Again a steady stream of pks continued until it came down to Latif Blessing, unfortunately, his missed snapping LAFC’s historic run; LAFC (6) – Houston Dynamo (7).
Although it would have been great to watch the black-and-gold advance to the finals, I commend LAFC for getting this far during their inaugural season.
Featured image: @LAFC
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