LAFC are Western Conference League Champions as the Black and Gold beat Houston Dynamo 2-0 at the BMO Stadium.
Goals from Ryan Hollingshead and an own goal from Franco Escobar was enough for LAFC to book their ticket to Ohio to face Columbus Crew, who won the Eastern Conference League against FC Cincinnati 3-2.
It’s now or never for LAFC to defend their MLS Cup and be the fourth team to win it back-to-back. The last time a team did a repeat was LA Galaxy back in 2011 and 2012.
According to popular online sportsbook, BetOnline, LAFC are +120 underdogs to lift the MLS Cup heading into the finals. Check out SportsBetListings.com’s BetOnline review for more information about the betting site.
During the game, there were some key points and moments to discuss, so let’s dive in.
As predicted earlier, LAFC needed to start the same lineup against the Seattle Sounders, and manager Steve Cherundolo did the work. The Dynamo game plan was to waste the game and look for a counterattack or a silly mistake from LAFC.
But LAFC was strong and got the goal right on half time through Hollingshead, who got the rebound. In the second half, Houston opened up to tie the game, but LAFC was strong at the back. Giorgio Chiellini and Jesus Murillo performed well, while Hollingshead played well at right back and midfield.
However, in attack, LAFC was slow. Carlos Vela had a poor link-up play, while Denis Bouanga and Cristian Olivera were dangerous but failed to score. Although they failed to execute the Diego Palacios cross led to former LAFC player Franco Escobar’s own goal.
The player that needed to shout out as well is Maxime Crépeau who was excellent in the game yet again back-to-back clean sheets. Crépeau, in the knockout rounds, kept three clean sheets and conceded two goals against the Vancouver Whitecaps
Although LAFC beat Houston Dynamo, it was the Seattle Sounders game that stood out the most. The Sounders may have experienced players and played in the knock-out rounds.
LAFC still has the same players from last year, out of the eleven players that started against Phildehina Union in the MLS Cup final. Eight players started against the Dynamo in the Western Conference league final. LAFC reaching the final proved loads of neutrals fans wrong, and now it’s time to defend it.
Carlos Vela may have played his last home game, and lifting the trophy in front of fans and family it’s a clear sign that he could be going.
Vela’s contract with the Los Angeles outfit expires on 31 December this year, and he has yet to renew.
Even though he wants to stay at the club, he may leave the club due to major league soccer’s outdated salary structure.
“My part is there,” Vela said, “but if the other part doesn’t work or doesn’t work in the way that I want, I won’t be here.”
Vela was the first designated player in LAFC history.
The Mexican joined the club in 2018 and he scored a total of 93 goals.