A Weekend of Reunions
Once again LAFC showed why they are the early favorites to lift the MLS Cup this season. A 3-1 victory over the Whitecaps helped them maintain first place in the Western Conference. Tied on points with Real Salt Lake but in first due to goal difference. This game would be a good test for the club and a reunion for two key players. Tristan Blackmon who was the third overall pick by LAFC in the 2018 SuperDraft would make his return to the Banc. The defender had 64 appearances with the club and was one of the LAFC originals. Another reunion would be for Maxime Crepeau, who was traded from the Whitecaps to LAFC for 1 million dollars in allocation money. Both were key players for their previous team and are now key players for their current clubs.
LAFC Easily Defeat The Vancouver Whitecaps
First Half Recap
On to the football aspect, this was a good measuring stick for the Black and Gold to see where they currently are this early in the season. LAFC would go down early in this matchup due to a set piece. It would be the former LAFC defender, Tristan Blackmon who would get the first goal of the match. It would not take long for the Black and Gold to tie things up. Just 14 minutes later in the 26th minute the game would be all notched up at one. A corner kick taken with precise execution by Vela would allow Ryan Hollingshead to connect with a potent header. Making it 1-1. Then in the 38th minute some slick moves by Kwado Opuku on the right sideline allowed him to get by three defenders. He would play a pass to Vela whose initial shot was blocked, Vela would get his own rebound and put it in the net. Thus making it 2-1 just a few minutes before halftime.
Second Half Recap
LAFC would continue to keep pressuring Vancouver throughout the second half. They would not let their foot off the pedal until they got a third goal. Once again through a corner kick in the 70th minute Ryan Hollingshead would get his brace! This would mark the first time the defender has scored two goals in a professional game! LAFC would play more leisurely after being up 3-1 and would continue to be a threat. However goalkeeper Thomas Hasal played a huge role in the game not becoming a thrashing.
One Big Issue for Cherundolo
While LAFC continue to thrive under Cherundolo’s charge he does have one massive issue to solve. How can he get 2021’s Newcomer of the year more playing time. Chicho Arango has only been a starter in one of the four games LAFC have currently played. While that may not sound like an issue it could eventually lead to Arango becoming disgruntled. Last season he was relied on heavily by his teammates, due to Vela being injured for the majority of the second half of the season. This is a good problem for Cherundolo as this means his team is responding to his ideology and style. He doesn’t have to worry about swapping players to see where they can fit. Hopefully Chicho can get some much deserved playing time. He will be a critical player for LAFC especially if they are to challenge for the title.