In pictures: Vancouver Whitecaps 0-2 LAFC – Visitors end Whitecaps’ 11-game home streak

The Vancouver Whitecaps saw their 11-game unbeaten run at BC Place come to an end on Friday night as LAFC snapped a two-game losing streak, winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. Vancouver have now lost back-to-back MLS games for the first time in over a year.

LAFC forward Marcos Urena assisted both goals, further highlighting how important he is to the expansion side. Vela and Rossi might be making headlines, but Urena is a vital threat in his own right.

Vancouver will be disappointed not to have found the net for the second-straight home game. They remain second after Friday’s result, but LAFC are just a point behind and have played two games fewer.

Bob Bradley’s men have one more away game – a trip to Montreal next week – before they make their long-anticipated home debut at Banc of California Stadium.

Check out exclusive photos from Friday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer, Simon Fearn.

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MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 2 – LAFC forward makes it 3 in 2

For every week of the 2018 MLS season, MLSGB will award two Player of the Week accolades to the previous gameweek’s standout performers. We will highlight one star attacking player, as well as the leading defensive performer from the last round of fixtures. The Attacking Player of the Week award can be won by strikers, wingers and advanced midfielders. While the Defensive Player of the Week award can be won by goalkeepers, defenders and defensive midfielders.

Los Angeles FC made it two wins from their first two MLS games. Their 5-1 victory away against RSL has sent shockwaves through Major League Soccer – they’ve turned up and mean business in their debut season. It was another impressive team display, which was far more attacking focused than their victory on opening weekend. Those who were able to see events unfold were treated to a star performance from Diego Rossi, who is MLSGB’s Attacking Player of the Week.

Ten minutes after falling behind, Rossi levelled things up for his side on the 30th minute. His influence in the game saw him involved in all five goals, playing a key part in the build up for LAFC’s second and third. Rossi went on to net his second of the game in the final ten minutes, just before laying on an assist to fellow forward Carlos Vela.

Confidence is there for all to see for LAFC, highlighted by the number of shots they had (21), Rossi with six of those. He also completed both of his attempted take-ons during his 89 minutes on the field.

Don’t miss – MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 2

Rossi has started his MLS career in some style. LAFC are sitting top of the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield standings after that week two performance. Next up it’s the first instalment of the LA derby as they face rivals LA Galaxy, which looks set to to be a monumental occasion.

Second choice Sounders fall 1-0 to expansion side LAFC after slow start

Los Angeles FC shocked many in MLS on Sunday, winning their first ever match 1-0 despite playing on the road to Seattle Sounders FC. The newcomers defended well against the back-to-back defending Western Conference champs and scored just 11 minutes in to take a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Seattle played a lineup without Clint Dempsey available and Chad Marshall on the bench as coach Brian Schmetzer looked to give some of his top players rest for their CONCACAF Champions League match versus Guadalajara on Wednesday.

LAFC started the game by pressuring Seattle on the ball and attacked the defence continuously. Diego Rossi terrorised the Sounder centre-halfs for the majority of the match by timing curved runs between them as passes were hit. His goal would come from a perfectly weighted ball from Carlos Vela as he got a step inside Jordy Delem before finishing a wonderful strike past Stefan Frei.

Christian Roldan admitted after the match that, “historically we dont show up for the first 20 minutes… when something happens – they hit the post, they score a goal, they get a good chance – and then we start playing well.” Defensively Seattle was asleep on the Rossi goal as they were all a step slow in reacting to LAFC. In trying to pressure the ball, Seattle pulled themselves out of position to allow space for Rossi to get behind them and ultimately punish Seattle for it.

Don’t miss – In pictures: Seattle Sounders 0-1 LAFC

The Sounders did wake up after the goal, almost scoring just minutes later as Nouhou unleashed a shot to the far post but former Sounder Tyler Miller made a great save to push the shot wide. Miller would continue to frustrate Seattle as he made a number of crucial saves and was very confident defending corners. Seattle had 12 corners in the match including four in a row at one point but couldn’t break down the LA defence to draw level.

For all of the chances Seattle created in their 22 shots, they lacked the concentration to finish the opportunities. Schmetzer listed a number of different chances after the match saying, “there were a ton of chances created so I wouldn’t say that it’s from a lack of execution, I would say it’s from lack of that last piece of concentration to put the ball in the back of the net.” Will Bruin’s chance in the 56th minute showcased that lack of concentration as he skied a pass to him from just outside the six-yard box.

Even with a second choice lineup on the field, Seattle were still able to create lots of chances and control the match. While disappointing to lose to an expansion side at home in the season opener, there’s little reason for concern after just one match. Clearly Sounders came into the match with one eye on the midweek fixture against Chivas de Guadalajara and have prioritised that tournament for now. Seattle returns to play on Wednesday as they host Guadalajara before traveling to Mexico for the second leg a week later.

In pictures: Seattle Sounders 0-1 LAFC – MLS newcomers make statement with debut win

Seattle Sounders 0-1 LAFC – Los Angeles FC‘s first MLS game in history couldn’t have gone much better. They went to Seattle Sounders, one of the league’s most difficult places to visit, and showed incredible composure and belief to come away with a special 1-0 victory.

Bob Bradley’s side made the most of a strong start, with Diego Rossi’s 11th-minute strike from distance enough to earn all three points. The Sounders rallied to try and respond but couldn’t break down a resolute LAFC backline over the remainder of the game.

The expansion franchise have some star-studded names as their disposal but it still takes something special to go into one of the league’s top sides and walk out with a win and a clean sheet. LAFC did that and immediately made a statement to the rest of the league. They’re not just here to make up the numbers.

They pressed high, countered effectively and defended impressively as Seattle were left to rue missed chances and a lack of a cutting edge. It’s the third-straight season in which the Sounders have dropped their season opener.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday night’s game at CenturyLink Field below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

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2018 Key Transfers: LAFC

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at the league’s newest side, Los Angeles FC and their key signings ahead of their inaugural MLS campaign in 2018…

Los Angeles FC are entering the league as the 23rd franchise competing for glory in MLS in 2018. Led by the experienced Bob Bradley, many are expecting LAFC to make their mark in the West as they try and become the first expansion franchise to life the MLS Cup since Chicago did it in 1998. Oh, and Chicago were coached by Bob Bradley then too. Realistically, the expectation will be to make the playoffs at the first time of asking and establish a play style. The club have been busy building the squad from scratch. Two Designated Players have been signed, some big trades have been made and the club got two of the first three SuperDraft picks after trading DC for the third spot. Below we have highlighted the standout signings that we expect to make the biggest impact with LAFC in 2018.

Carlos Vela: LAFC brought in Vela from Real Sociedad as their first ever Designated Player. The Mexican star had been with Sociedad since 2011, where he scored over 50 goals in seven years for the La Liga side. Before that, he was with Arsenal, where he struggled to make a proper impact. But after 12 years in Europe, Vela has now made the move to LAFC, where he will be much closer to his friends and family. Reports in Spain suggested the transfer offer for Vela was around €5 million, and he will be expected to be the expansion franchise’s star man in 2018.

Walker Zimmerman: LAFC made a strong move to sign 24-year-old centre-back Zimmerman from FC Dallas in early December. The expansion franchise sent $500,000 in allocation money and the #1 allocation ranking to Dallas for the defender. He has played 89 regular season games over the past five seasons and knows the league well. He missed time last season with a knee injury but is back and ready to help LAFC make their make in their debut campaign. Laurent Ciman: Alongside Zimmerman will be veteran Belgium international defender Ciman. He arrived from Montreal after LAFC sent Expansion Draft picks Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards to the Canadian side. Ciman was apparently left shocked at the trade as he knew nothing about it until he was already an LAFC player. But the 2015 MLS Defender of the Year is now looking forward to working with Zimmerman to become the best central defence partnership in the league.

 

Diego Rossi: Rossi was signed as LAFC’s second Designated Player and is expected to play as an inverted winger in the left side of the attack. He is a highly regarded Uruguayan youngster who was brought in for a reported $4 million from Penarol of Uruguay’s Primera Division. At just 19, Rossi has a lot of potential and is the second youngest DP in MLS history, after Fabian Castillo who joined Dallas aged 18.

Benny Feilhaber: At 33, Feilhaber is unlikely to be able to offer what he did in 2015 when he was an MVP finalist. But he should still be a valuable and vital player for LAFC following his move from Sporting KC. The midfielder played 180 times for SKC, scoring 33 goals and picking up 56 assists. Lots Angeles FC sent $400,000 in allocation money for his services. He will likely end up playing as the team’s number 10, finding gaps in behind the opposition defence for the likes of Rossi and Vela to run into.