By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
After splitting points with Dallas last weekend, the Los Angeles Football Club turned the early lead into an impressive 4-2 win over the Montreal Impact at the Banc of California Stadium on Friday night. With goals from four different players, LA enjoyed their first three-goal first-half lead since April 6th.
The roster was back at full strength with one slight change. Eduard Atuesta returned to the middle and Tristian Blackmon started at left back in place of Steven Beitashour – who is out due to injury.
LAFC did not waste any time, when Christian Ramirez forced an error on Evan Bush, getting the early lead in the 7th minute. Bush tried to clear the ball near the penalty spot, but Ramirez stepped right in front in time to deflect the ball into the back of an open net. It was Ramirez’s third goal of the season and his first in his last six matches.
The early goal would be the first of three goals in the opening half as it started a ripple effect. Carlos Vela carried a through ball from Atuesta toward the goal and slotted it past Bush for his 15th goal of the year – surpassing his 2018 record of 14 goals.
Then less than three minutes later, Vela found Diego Rossi on the left post, who reached Latif Blessing in front of the goal with the assist; Blessing backheeled the pass in for his first goal of the year.
Multiple early false alarms followed after the restart including an attempt from Ramirez and a potential goal from Vela that was later called offsides. Hungry for more goals, in the 55th minute, the Mexican captain connected with Blackmon on a corner kick; the right back’s header in front of the energized 3252 grew the lead to 4-0. It was Blackmon’s second start and first MLS career goal of the season.
However, after a thrilling start, it became clear LAFC was starting to get a little comfortable with the lead about midway into the latter part of the second half – giving the Impact the chance to force mistakes.
Eddie Segura was in the wrong place at the wrong time as Montreal’s Maximiliano Urruti pressured the home side with a shot from outside the box in the 70th minute. Initially, Tyler Miller saved the shot. But it deflected off the center back’s knee rolling into an open net – resulting in an own goal and putting the visitors on the board.
Fourteen minutes later, Walker Zimmerman received a caution for a tackle on Anthony Jackson-Hamel, and Villarreal awarded Montreal the penalty. And Saphir Taider stepped up and converted the penalty by inches – cutting LAFC’s lead in half.
The final chance fell to Diego Rossi in the 87th minute to put the icing on top. But his right-footed shot went wide of the post by a few inches. And finally, Tyler Miller‘s last-minute save to deny Hamel’s volley helped the team extend their winning streak in a 4-2 win.
Next up, LAFC will return on the road as they visit the Portland Timbers in their newly renovated stadium on Saturday, June 1.
Photo credit: @LAFC
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