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LAFC Loses First Home Match To Austin FC

Vela Scores On Penalty Kick – Rally Falls Short.

(East Los Angeles, CA) May 24, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Top team in the MLS Western Conference was still undefeated at home with a (7-2-2=23 pts) record, and they faced the visiting Austin FC, who at (6-2-3=20 pts), were in the 3rd spot in the standings, on the day of this 5/18 week-night match.

However, never take an opponent or the enemy lightly. It can be a very dangerous and humiliating affair as we would all venture to guess. With that said, the Black & Gold” were ready for the encounter. The weather was a perfect 65 degrees at “kick-off” time.

(Pre-Match Festivities/VIPs): The Falcon’s Flight performance with Ken Miknuk and “Olly” were accompanied by the (18) year NBA veteran, 1 x World Champion, and former L.A. Lakers forward, Ron Artest, then Metta World Peace, but now, Metta Sandiford-Artest since 2010to set the mood and tenor of the match.

(Match Summary): {1st Half} At the (01:30) minute mark of match, LAFC was on the attack and managed to get a short-on-goal attempt but it was missed. They kept applying offensive pressure on Austin’s outstanding goalkeeper, Brad Stuver, while managing to fire off more bunches of shots right up to the (10:00) minute mark.

To view the Match Highlights, please click here.

But it would be Austin FC who drew first blood with a goal made within the Box at the (13:00) minute mark, by Defender, Ruben Gabrielson. He was able to fire a shot from above the endline and past Maxime Crépeau. Less, meaning goals scored, was more in this scenario, (1-0) Austin. At minute (22:00) they then missed a golden opportunity to add another goal but a direct shot from inside the Box sailed well above the netting and into the amped-up 3252 crowd.

(Photo Gallery Credits): Javier Perez, East L.A. Sport Scene Productions, LLC. –  Intern, Cal State University of Dominguez Hills (CSUDH)

LAFC answered slowly with their counter-attacks but missed the chance to tie when their last shot of the period veered off and to the right of the goal post.

There was only the “ebb and flow” of the squads going on attacks to their opponents goal for the rest of the period. In stoppage time, LAFC again threatened to score but only came away the deep groans of “oooooohs” and “aaaaaahs” from their fans.

(HALFTIME SCORE): Austin FC  1   LAFC  0

{2nd Half} The half started with the same script and intensity level as the first, with LAFC taking aim early and subsequently often. Coach Steve Cherundolo must have stressed the importance of protecting the Banc of California’s turf against suffering the Club’s first home loss.

At the (52:00) minute mark, loud and strong boos rained down on the referee, Armando Villareal for a decision made on the pitch during an LAFC movement that caused stoppage. Play resumed at the (55:00) minute mark. Subsequent corner kicks by Black & Gold were unsuccessful after they remained on that side of the field for at least (2:00) minutes in attack mode.

At minute (68:00), the Black & Gold took off on a fast-break with a (3-2) advantage, but could not manufacture a goal. It was blocked out-of-bounds by goalkeeper, Stuver. The offense was relentless but not accurate with their passes.

Then at the (79th) minute, the “dagger to the heart” shot by Diego Fagúndez rattled all the hopes for a draw, as their goalie Stuver remained invincible with his fantastic net protections.

Taking pause at the next phase of the match, during a lull in the hostile verbal and physical environment on the battlefield, and shortly after resuming play, another Penalty Kick from inside the Box was awarded to LAFC at minute (84:00), when Stuver tackled Carlos Vela at the 10 yard space. His shot was good for the score, making it now, Austin 2, LAFC 1. The Black & Gold immediately went to their rally cleats and Grupo 3252’s support looking for the equalizer.

Then what appeared to be another foul committed by Austin FC inside the Penalty Box on #12/Diego Palacios, was denied. A yellow card was issued against Austin FC for a FREE kick. Then Referee Villarreal went to the sideline  to consult with the VAR unit to make his decision on the Palacios play.

It withstood the MLS Rules test and play resumed with LAFC fighting for every touch and possession in their effort to earn a late draw of the match. But time simply ran out and the match ended with Austin FC taking the (3) victory points with them.

(Of Significance): With the single goal made by LAFC at the (86:00) minute, El Capitán, Carlos Vela, reached the 100th goal of his LAFC career. In the post-match Press Conference when he was asked about his future with the team, he simply stated, “I want to be here..the Stadium and the fans are great! “

(FULL-TIME SCORE): Austin FC  2  LAFC  1

(NEXT UP): L.A. GalaxyWednesday, May 25th at 7:30 PM in the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Tournament; To Watch: ESPN+; To Listen710 AM ESPN, ESPN LA App, KFWB 980 La Mera Mera

Photo Credit: LAFC

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