LAFC wins final preseason game without three starters
LAFC’s first preseason sputtered to a close Sunday with the expansion Major League Soccer club beating the Sacramento Republic of the second-tier USL 1-0 on rookie Joao Moutinho’s goal in the 60th minute.
The win, in Sacramento, was LAFC’s first in a preseason in which it went unbeaten, playing to draws in its first three games in its temporary training home at UCLA. But with less than a week to go before the regular-season opener in Seattle, the result wasn’t nearly as noteworthy as the lineup coach Bob Bradley put on the field.
Missing were veteran center backs Walker Zimmerman and Laurent Ciman and winger Omar Gaber. A team spokesman said Zimmerman didn’t travel to Sacramento because Bradley wanted to get a look at other players, starting first-round draft pick Tristan Blackmon and Canadian international Dejan Jakovic on the back line instead.
Ciman (knee) and Gaber (groin), meanwhile, have missed much of the preseason with injury and Bradley said last week there’s a chance both could miss the team’s first two games. LAFC has a three-week international break after that so keeping both players on the sidelines would give them an additional month to get healthy.
LAFC said it would release an injury update Monday.
As for the game, LAFC dominated throughout, outshooting Sacramento 25-5 and putting nine of those on goal. Bradley got 75 minutes out of Marcos Urena and 80 from Carlos Vela in their final tuneups for next Sunday’s opener.
The only goal came from Moutinho, the top pick in last month’s MLS super draft, who collected a Vela pass midway into the attacking end, made a long run between two defenders, then put a low left-footed shot inside the far post.
Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11