(East Los Angeles, CA) September 29, 2020 [From The Editor’s Desk]: It was a beautiful 2020 Fall, but COVID-19 tainted evening, here in the City of the Angels, and the LAFC were back on their home “pitch,” the beautiful and dynamic Banc of California Stadium, in a regular season encounter that was critical for LAFC due to the standings and the pending playoff implications. Odds on favorite were the LAFC due to the severe (6-0) pounding they had given to the Vancouver Whitecaps, only three days earlier. And, adding to that, LAFC had defeated the Earthquakes in all six of their matches, stretching back to 2018.
Setting up the “Pre-Match” festivities, the LAFC Public Address announcer informed all invited guests present that the MLS Player of the Week, Bradley Wright-Phillips was being honored as the “MLS Player of the Week,” and that high attributes, support, and thanks were also accorded to our State’s First Responders, and our California Wildfire victims. Also included was the Club’s “virtual” fan’s untethering of their team mascot, the resplendent and fierce predator, Falcon, setting the stage for the start of the match. To see the match highlights, click here.
Photo Gallery: Javier Perez, Student Intern, Cal State Dominguez Hills, For East L.A. Sports Scene Productions, LLC.
First Impressions: This was our first official media credentialed game with LAFC and we’d kindly like to thank, Aubrey Freckman and colleagues for granting Javier Perez, Photographer and myself, Rico Cabrera, Sr., the opportunity to cover the match “Live” while becoming more familiar with the Banc of California Stadium, despite not being able to see, feel, and hear the thousands of fans who would have been in attendance, led of course, by their great and passionate cheering section, “El Grupo 3252”-“Faithful Forever.”
Match Recap: (1st Half): Although no fans were in attendance, there was match-long audio programming, and quite realistic crowd noise, driven by what was El Grupo 3252’s playlist of songs, cheers, and pulsating rhythms. For the first 2o minutes of the skirmish the LAFC maintained solid control of the tempo and showed great edge in time-of-possesion for at least 15 of those minutes. Up to this point, it was mostly another “back & forth” tussle with very few shots on goal and fewer corner kicks.
At the 30′ mark, the Quakes had two back-to-back goal attempts inside the box but were both blocked by goal keeper, Pablo Sisniega. LAFC countered on their next possession and came up with their own attack in the box but the header by Brian Rodríguez was blocked. A Yellow card was issued shortly thereafter and came at the 32:35′. It was issued to the Quakes’, Andy Rios.
At the 31st min’ Diego Rossi found himself deep into the box and struck a shot on-goal attempt but there was a great save by the Quakes goalie, James Marcinkowski, who wisely batted it high and away. Score still tied at (0-0). Then, in their next attack on-goal, as time was winding down in the period, a successful LAFC strike was promptly and precisely made by Mark-Anthony Kaye from the direct center of the box at the 45′ minute mark, which technically occurred during the stoppage that was added by the Referee.
HALFTIME SCORE: LAFC 1 San José Earthquakes 0
(2nd Half): The period started with great anticipation by the LAFC to play a stiff defense, with hopes that there would be a few more goals to add on for the night, resulting in a big home win. However, the Quakes had other ideas as evidenced by their defensive play to counter their opponents. At around the 68′ marker, an offensive scoring trend appeared in the making by LAFC, as Brian Rodríguez netted a goal but it was denied due to an off-sides call. Following that, at the 70th minute, Mark-Anthony Kaye had a good look at the net, but missed high. It went back and forth for a few more trips down to each other’s attack zones when at the 76′ minute San José took a direct shot in front of Pablo Sisniega, who easily blocked it. On their next possession, LAFC’s Rodríguez had a great angle to score but his attempt was equalled with a great save by San Jose’s goalie, James Marcinkowski.
Here’s where the tide began to turn for the Quakes. At 79’45, and out of nowhere, they struck for their first goal, nicely netted by substitute, #6 Shae Salinas, tying the match at (1-1). It came from just inside the left side of the 20 yard box. Now, the stakes went sky-high to determine who would, or could score a winning goal, with only 10 minutes left in regulation. Although the scoreboard clock had reached 90′, the Referee added 4 minutes of stoppage time. Then, like an unexpected, big ground tremor, which came at the 92′ mark, the Earthquakes’ midfielder, Jackson Yueill, snuck in a fantastic 3 foot, point blanker, on a timely assist from his midfielder, Cristian Espinoza. It appeared that LAFC goalie, Sisniega didn’t have enough time to react to the quick striker, that secured the Quake’s much-hoped for victory, (2-1). There was abundant and wild joy shown by the visitors, in contrast to the looks of disbelief and shock by the home team. But, the MLS season must move on towards its finish with the rest of the schedule that is now available to soccer/fútbol fans all over the world.
With the loss, LAFC now stands with a (5-6-3 for 18 points) record and good for 7th place in the Western Conference.
NEXT UP: Real Salt Lake, Rio Tinto Stadium – Sandy, Utah; October 4, Sunday – 6:30 PM PST – 2020 MLS Regular Season – Week 15. STREAMING: MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; on DAZN in Canada; LOCAL TV: YouTube TV [LA region only], EstrellaTV 62, KMYU
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