Adama Diomande stays hot, LAFC picks up where it left off with win over Orlando City
The second half of its inaugural season began the same way as the first for LAFC, but this time Major League Soccer’s new team got to celebrate in front of its home crowd at Banc of California Stadium.
With a 4-1 victory over Orlando City on Saturday night, LAFC gained three points to leapfrog Sporting KC into second place in the Western Conference, one point behind front-running FC Dallas.
First-half goals by Adama Diomande and Latif Blessing and second-half tallies by Diomande and Diego Rossi were enough to keep LAFC undefeated at home.
LAFC extended its unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1) beginning with a 4-3 triumph June 9 at San Jose.
“Tonight there was a hell of a lot of good football,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “When it’s 2-0 we want to make it three, four and five but we have to play smart.
“With players back [from the World Cup] we have a deeper team and have more competition, it makes training better every day. Tonight, the creativity was there in the first half especially. Tyler Miller was the player of the game. He made some great saves.”
Diomande thought he scored on a header in the 26th minute but was ruled offside; he had another goal erased by the same infraction in the 53rd minute.
A video review overturned a potential equalizer by Orlando City in the 72nd minute. Ten minutes later, Diomande finished a scramble in front for his team-leading ninth goal. Rossi, who replaced Aaron Kovar in the 64th minute, provided the exclamation point in the 83rd minute.
LAFC (10-4-4), which won its franchise opener 1-0 at Seattle, is off to the second-best start for an expansion club in MLS history, bettered only by the 1998 Chicago Fire, which went on to capture the MLS Cup under Bradley.
LAFC missed several chances before breaking through in the 28th minute when Diomande deftly tapped in a feed from Mark-Anthony Kaye.
Four minutes later, Kovar threaded a pass to the back post for Blessing, who blasted it into the open net to give LAFC a cushion.
Miller made eight saves for his 10th win but was denied his sixth shutout when Sacha Kljestan found the corner in the 59th minute. LAFC has allowed only six goals in eight home games.
Orlando City, which has lost nine straight, was playing its first game under new coach James O’Connor.
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