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LAFC Opens Season With Vintage Carlos Vela Performance

He Is Voted First MLS “Player of the Week” Award For 2022

Captured during one of his shots on goal, Forward/Striker, and LAFC Captain, #10/Carlos Vela ultimately registered a stunning opening day match with his 5th career Hat-Trick/Trifecta match scoring. The season opener was played against the Colorado Rapids and took place at the gem of all MLS stadiums, The Banc of California, in front of 20,0000 fans. Photo Credit: Erik Sarni, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions, LLC/EastLASportsscene.Com

(East Los Angeles, CA) March 2, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: It was a beautiful and a pretty laid-back, L.A. Saturday afternoon with the temperature resting at a comfortable 75°. But the aura and excitement of a new season of LAFC/MLS was definitely in the air on this sunny and picture-perfect postcard day. Alas, the Banc of California was open for business and it was a welcome sight for all LAFC Black & Gold fans in attendance. Just like Spring signals the approach for new Dodgers baseball, the City of Angels and its avid soccer fans were deeply appreciative that during winter, the new 2022 MLS Soccer season was now upon us.

 {Pre-Match Festivities} To start, there was of course, Grupo 3252 with their powerful and collective drum beats galore setting the rhythmic tones for the match, then the appearance of Olly” with her Falcon Flight Time Act, and Falconer, Ken Miknuk, then the 3252 Tribute To Legendary Mexican Singer, Vicente Fernández, followed by the celebratory rendition of “Lift Every Voice & Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem, that was sung in the annual national salute to Black History Month. And the festivities and acknowledgements didn’t stop there. Next, a humanitarian “Moment of Silence” was announced for the victims and people of Ukrania, while a huge banner that proclaimed “No War!!  was unfurled in protest to the current situation with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Closing out the festivities was the singing of our own “Star Spangled Banner” led by Grupo 3252.

And then it was time to roll the fútbol out onto the pitch and start the first LAFC home match of 2022.

[Match Summary]: {1st Half} The first (20:00) minutes of the contest were spent mostly on probes into the opposing team’s territory. The Black & Gold managed to position themselves for some decent shots on goal, but nothing very serious until the (22nd) minute when an LAFC penalty kick (PK) was taken. It was thwarted by the walled front-line of Rapids players. On the other hand, Colorado never managed to string any offense together and form their own attack on the new LAFC goal keeper, Maxime Crépeau.

At the (25:00) minute mark an LAFC shot on goal was easily blocked by the Rapids goalkeeper, William Yarbrough. At the (29:00) minute mark, a penalty kick was awarded to the Black & Gold. Coach Cherundulo quickly summoned Carlos Vela to take the attempt and he slowly stutter-stepped his approach to create a feint left, but then struck it cleanly and strongly to his right for his first goal of the season, (1-0), Black & Gold. And then, on an open-field fast break, at minute (40:00), right in the mid-field turf, Vela squarely fought off his defender from behind him, and scored on an extremely tough through shot at the (35:00) minute mark. El Capitán Vela clearly acknowledged his strong fan-base with a few big arm waves. And all was good once again with the full knowledge that El Numero #10, was back in tip-top form. It was now (2-0), LAFC. The Banc was wide open for El Grupo 3252‘s roars of emphatic support, coupled with the loud and proud cheers of the 20,000 fans in attendance!

(Photo Gallery Credit): Erik Sarni, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions, LLC/EastLASportsScene.Com.

{Special Note From The EditorWe’ve captured a great photo-journalistic story for our viewers as our lens was focused by our Chief Photographer, Erik Sarni, on what it looks and feels like at an LAFC match in the Banc Of California Stadium. We recommend that if you haven’t been to watch the Club in-person yet, that you give it strong consideration and capture the full environment for yourself. 

{2nd Half} More of Vela was evident at the (50th) minute when the striker supreme netted a score from the right side into the deep back corner for his Trifecta of the match, making it an insurmountable (3-0) LAFC lead.

A few minutes later, several squabbles broke out near midfield and both teams came together and started to push and shove each other. The entire group of match officials were needed to de-escalate the situation before play resumed after taking five minutes to resolve. Fortunately for the Black & Gold, the only penalty administered was a Yellow Card to its goalkeeper, Crépeau.

The final (30:00) minutes of the match was a back & forth effort and with LAFC assured of a season opening victory, it prompted new Head Coach Steve Cherundolo an opportunity to sub-in his popular reserves. Drawing a thunderous applause was #9 Cristian “Chicho” Arango who was recognized with a huge round of applause for his outstanding contributions to last year’s first fantastic season with the Club.

(FINAL SCORE): LAFC  3  Colorado Rapids  3;  (ATTENDANCE): 22,010

(EXTRA CONTENT): We’ve also included the LAFC Press Release that announced Vela being voted the MLS’ first Player of the Week and a summary of the win. It is complete with highlights of all goals that Vela scored in the match.


Midfielder Ilie Sánchez Has Also Been Named To The “MLS Team of the Week¨for Week 1 After A Stellar LAFC Debut.

Vela began the 2022 season in record fashion, becoming just the fifth player in MLS history to register a hat trick in a season-opening match, scoring all three LAFC goals en route to a (3-0) victory over the Colorado Rapids at Banc of California Stadium (View All Three Goals Here). Vela’s hat trick was the third of his LAFC career and helped propel the Black & Gold to their fifth consecutive season-opening victory.

All three goals were scored in a 21-minute span and prior to the 50th minute of the match. Vela opened the scoring in the 29th minute, burying a penalty kick (Watch Here), and completed his first-half brace with a breakaway goal in the 35th minute (Watch Here). He completed his hat with a strong strike off his left, curling to the far post in the 50th minute, recording his 60th MLS regular season goal. (Watch Here).

LAFC is back in action on Sunday, March 6th, as they welcome the Portland Timbers to Banc of California Stadium to close out the MLS Week 2 slate. Sunday’s contest will be broadcast live on TV on FS1, FOX Deportes (SPA) and on Radio on 710 AM ESPN, and 980 AM, La MeraMera.

The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25% of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.       ###

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