Official LAFC Reporter
By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
April 17, 2021: LAFC 2 – 0 Austin FC
LAFC: Pablo Sisniega; Eddie Segura, Diego Palacios, Tristan Blackmon; Jesus Murillo, Latif Blessing, Mark-Anthony Kaye (José Cifuentes, 74′), Eduard Atuesta; Carlos Vela (Kwadwo Opoku, 21′), Corey Baird (Raheem Edwards, 74′), Danny Musovski (Francisco Ginella, 80′)
Austin FC: Brad Stuver; Jhohan Romana, Matt Besler, Ben Sweat (Zan Kolmanic, 69′), Nick Lima, Tomas Pochettino (Diego Fagundez 69′); Alex Ring, Dani Pereira, Danny Hoesen (Jon Gallagher, 58′), Cecilio Dominguez (Kekuta Manneh, 86′), Rodney Redes (Jared Stroud, 58′)
The Los Angeles Football Club welcomed inaugural side Austin FC to the league with a 2-0 shutout at the Banc of California Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The 2-0 victory makes LAFC the second team in MLS to win their first four season openers.
A day before the Black-and-Gold took the pitch, the club announced that they and goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer had mutually agreed to part ways – which put Pablo Sisniega in goal for the marquee match. With most of the squad returning to kick off their fourth season, only new additions Corey Baird and Raheem Edwards made their debuts.
Despite kicking off the match strong after a brilliant run by Mark-Anthony Kaye, the pace of the game quickly slowed giving Austin time to find their footing.
The most talked about moment of the match came in the 22nd minute after Carlos Vela was subbed out for Kwadwo Opoku after some miscommunication with head coach Bob Bradley on the sidelines. Vela stretched to get a diagonal ball and just missed it, seeming to tweak his quad in the process. After receiving medical attention from the training staff, Vela was ready to reenter the match. The captain was unsatisfied with the call made by the prolific head coach – a mistake that could have been disastrous for the club later in the match.
Baird opened his scoring account with a breakthrough goal in the 60th minute after sliding one past Austin’s Brad Stuver. The 25-year-old’s strike energized Austin as they fought to find the equalizer.
Shortly after José Cifuentes and Raheem Edwards entered for Kaye and Baird, Musovski almost added to LAFC’s tally, as Cifuentes and Edwards connected for a counter. Unfortunately the forward was clobbered by Matt Besler at the last second to send his attempt wide of goal. Musovski carried on for a few minutes, but was unable to proceed and Francisco Ginella replaced him in the 81st minute.
Danger struck in the 83rd minute after Atuesta goes down in a hard collision with an Austin FC player. But because the Colombian did not have a head injury – he continued since the Black-and-Gold had no more substitutions.
Despite being down a man, the Black-and-Gold were undeterred as José Cifuentes doubled the lead in the 90th minute. Opoku stole the ball from Besler and Dani Pereira, laying it across to Cifuentes and giving Stuver little time to react.
Next up, the Black-and-Gold will host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, April 24. Kickoff is set for 5 pm PST.
Feature Image: LAFC
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