LAFC advanced to the knockout stage of the MLS is Back tournament, while LA Galaxy failed to do the same. Both matches, which included the teams from Los Angeles were ended without winners, but in this situation, FC was in a better position.
Bob Bradley’s side played 2-2 with Portland Timbers in a match, which decided the winner of Group F. FC had a chance to win, as they had a lead until nine minutes before the end, when Jeremy Ebobisse leveled the score.
“I hate to give up a late goal,” said LAFC’s coach Bob Bradley. “A failure to clear a couple of balls, and some poor organization on the corner.”
Portland was the side that scored the first goal to take the lead. Jaroslaw Niezgoda was the starter for Timbers for the first time since arriving, and he immediately contributed. The Polish international scored after seven minutes, and that was his premiere goal in the MLS.
FC responded very well, changing the landscape of the match until the halftime.
Bradley Wright-Phillips brought an equalizer, with Mark-Anthony Kaye delivering a go-ahead goal for FC with a header following one corner. These two scores came in the 36th and 40th minute of the opening half.
Ebobisse used the poor reaction of the LAFC’s defenders after Diego Valeri’s corner, to propel his team to the first place in the group and give them an extra day for resting.
“We had a good response, and I thought we picked things up. In most of the second half, I thought we had control… didn’t do a good enough job.”
The LAFC meets Seattle Sounders in the round of 16, which would be a delight to watch. These two sides met in the 2019 MLS Cup playoffs, and the Sounders eliminated the Supporters’ Shield winners and the biggest favorites for the Cup at the time.
On the other side, LA Galaxy didn’t manage to advance to the next stage, but they ruined Houston’s chances to see the knockout stage as well. The final result of the game was 1-1, with Cristian Pavon delivering the late penalty equalizer which denied Houston’s advance to the knockout round.
Dynamo finished last in the third-placed team rankings, with Pavnon’s goal being the direct reason for that.
“Unfortunate event in the 90th minute,” said Tab Ramos, Dynamo’s head coach. “But I’m proud of the team. The team fought and I couldn’t ask them for more today.”
Houston reached the lead after 17 minutes, with a beautiful free-kick taken by Darwin Quintero. He sent the ball exactly where he wanted, leaving Galaxy’s goalkeeper David Bingham helpless.
But since that moment on, Dynamo couldn’t solve the game and score another goal. As time went by they became more defensive orientated, leaving the initiative to Galaxy.
In the end, the punishment came once Maynor Figueroa made a reckless tackle in his own box, causing despair and disbelief among his teammates.
After these two games, the entire Round of 16 schedules is completed, and it goes like this.
July 25: Orlando City (A1) vs. Montreal Impact (C3)
July 25: Philadelphia Union (A2) vs. New England Revolution (C2)
July 26: Toronto FC (C1) vs. NYCFC (A3)
July 26: Sporting Kansas City (D1) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (B3)
July 27: San Jose Earthquakes (B1) vs. Real Salt Lake (D3)
July 27: Seattle Sounders (B2) vs. LAFC (F2)
July 28: Columbus Crew SC (E1) vs. Minnesota United (D2)
July 28: Portland Timbers (F1) vs. FC Cincinnati (E2)
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.