LAFC runs unbeaten streak to six with 2-2 draw against New York City FC

The 32 teams that will play in this summer's World Cup will announce their provisional rosters for the tournament on Monday, which figures to be good news and bad news for the Los Angeles Football Club.

Good news because a World Cup invitation is an honor for a player and his club. Bad news because it means the team will be without its best players for as long as six weeks.


It's unlikely any MLS club will be hurt by that more than LAFC, which is expecting to see as many as five players leave for Russia later this month.

That makes the next two weeks crucial.

The team got that stretch off to an uneven start Sunday, giving up a late lead in a 2-2 draw with New York City FC before an announced crowd of 22,000 at Banc of California Stadium.

The tie extended LAFC's unbeaten streak to a league-best six games and left it unvanquished in four games at home. But it also marked the second time in three games LAFC has given up a second-half lead in a game that ended in a tie.

And now that team is about to lose half its starting lineup.

"From the beginning I said to guys our challenge is to make you better," LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. "For guys to get opportunities with their national team, it's important. It shows that things are going in the right direction.

"There'll be some games where you don't have everybody. We're going to take the best group that we have from everybody that's here and step on the field and try to play the same kind of football we always play."

Five countries have already announced preliminary World Cup teams, among them Iran, which selected LAFC defender Steven Beitashour on Sunday. Others expected to be called up Monday include defenders Laurent Ciman (Belgium) and Omar Gaber (Egypt), and forwards Marco Urena (Costa Rica) and Carlos Vela (Mexico).

"Other people have to be ready to take the place of any of us," said Vela, who scored his team-leading sixth goal Sunday. "[We] have a chance to go the World Cup and let's hope it doesn't affect us because we want to be in playoffs and we want to fight for the title.

"Let's hope that when we come back that we are still in position to fight for a title."

LAFC (6-2-2) fought well after falling behind early Sunday.

A controversial handball call set up the first goal for New York (6-2-3) in the 13th minute. The sequence began with an Anton Tinnerholm shot that appeared to be deflected wide by LAFC's Eduard Atuesta. A handful of New York City players charged referee Chris Penso, arguing for a handball. After consulting a video replay, Penso agreed, awarding a penalty kick.

Tyler Miller correctly anticipated David Villa's shot, diving to his right to make the save, but the rebound bounced right to Villa, who headed it home, marking the first time in four games that LAFC trailed at home.

The deficit didn't last long, though, with New York's Sebastien Ibeagha sticking a leg in front of a Walker Zimmerman header and redirecting it in for the game-tying own goal in the 23rd minute.


The teams traded goals midway through the second half. Vela got the first, gathering a deflection off the foot of Mark-Anthony Kaye and driving it in for the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute, only to see New York's Ismael Tajouri-Shradi come off the bench and get the equalizer nine minutes later, collecting the rebound of a Miller save and rocketing it off the underside of the crossbar.

"The report card at this point?" Bradley said afterward. "Not bad. Going in a good direction."

The real test, however, won't begin for another two weeks.

Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11