LAFC garners celebrity attention as club bursts into MLS
Although the club will have to wait until late April to bring the party back home to Los Angeles, the victory earned fan attention nonetheless.
LAFC has officially arrived in the MLS, and it made itself heard on opening day with a 1-0 victory on the road in Seattle. From the opening whistle, the team attacked with a scrappy, high tempo aggression. In its victory, the club established itself and stirred up excitement for what will come next for Los Angeles soccer.
Although the club will have to wait until late April to bring the party back home to Los Angeles, the victory earned fan attention nonetheless. Club owner Will Ferrell made the trek up to Seattle, appearing on the ESPN pregame show to talk up his team. Other Los Angeles natives also took to social media to voice their support and excitement.
Latif Blessing almost made it happen in the opening minute, smacking a header that ricocheted off the crossbar. The scoreboard remained level, but the team's intensity in the first minutes of the game made it clear — LAFC was here to play and here to stay, establishing the rhythm of the first half. It only took 10 more minutes to find the back of the net and notch the one-goal lead that the team held onto for the remaining 80 minutes of the game.
Carlos Vela built the play, nimbly handling the ball and slipping a deft pass to set up Diego Rossi at the top of the box. Rossi needed only a few steps before he hammered his shot home, sparking an explosion on the bench and among LAFC fans back home. The first goal in club history was a stunner, searing into the top right corner of the goal as Rossi ran into his teammates' arms.
Despite his youth, goalkeeper Tyler Miller remained stalwart in goal, holding down the line to notch his first clean sheet in MLS play. Moments after Rossi's goal, Nouhou Tolo had a chance to level the score, but Miller dove to bat away Tolo's screeching shot with one hand. Harry Ship found himself wide open in the box later in the half, but Laurent Ciman slid and sliced a kick to knock away a near-goal.
The Sounders launched their fiercest attack in the 65th minute, forcing repeated corner kicks and It took more than a little luck to outlast the barrage, but the team walked away unscathed with the help of an offsides call and the crossbar. Seattle ultimately outshot Los Angeles, taking 22 shots while LAFC only took 5, but the defense held its own even in the final desperate minutes of the game.
Although it still has much to celebrate, LAFC benefitted from the Sounders' difficult schedule — in the next seven days, the club will play two more games, forcing them to rearrange rosters to avoid injuring star players. Clint Dempsey wasn't even listed as a substitute for the game, watching as a spectator alongside injured forward Jordan Morris. Without the duo, it was easier for the young club to pick apart the Sounders' sluggish offense, throwing them back on their heels early in the game to take a lead and never slow down. Starting center back Chad Marshall also remained on the bench for the season opener.