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LAFC surrenders stoppage time goal, settles for a draw with Minnesota

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Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) reacts to a call.
Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela reacts to a call.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

Minnesota United scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time at Banc of California Stadium, stealing a home win from LAFC

LAFC couldn’t hold onto a late 2-1 lead, surrendering a stoppage time goal that slowed the team’s ascent up the Western Conference table following a shaky start to the season.

LAFC gives up late goal, ties Minnesota United

LAFC surrendered a goal in stoppage time, settling for a 2-2 draw with Minnesota (6-5-4) United Thursday night at Banc of California Stadium.

Ján Gregus delivered a cross to Hassani Dotson, who put away a right-footed shot from outside the box in the fifth minute of stoppage time to erase an LAFC (6-5-5) victory.

It offset what looked like a game-winner from LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon, who took a cross from Eduard Atuesta and headed it home to give the team a 2-1 lead in the 77th minute.

LAFC captain Carlos Vela opened the scoring in the 40th minute, scoring in transition off a pass from José Cifuentes.

Minnesota’s Emanuel Reynoso leveled the match in the 49th minute, scoring from the center of the box.
LAFC will continue its homestand, hosting Sporting Kansas City Wednesday night.

Vela scored during his fourth consecutive match and is tied for the team lead with five goals. He also paces LAFC with five assists.

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LAFC rallies to force tie, earn point against Whitecaps

Jose Cifuentes’ game-tying goal helped LAFC earn a 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday at Banc of California Stadium.

Deiber Caicedo struck first for the Whitecaps (3-7-5) in the 25th minute. Cristian Dajome gave the Whitecaps a 2-0 lead in the 38th minute, assisted by Cristian Gutierrez.

Carlos Vela put LAFC (6-5-4) on the scoreboard in the 40th minute. Cifuentes tied it for LAFC in the 75th minute, assisted by Diego Palacios.

LAFC outshot the Whitecaps 7-4, with six shots on goal to two for the Whitecaps.

LAFC’s Tomas Romero saved one of the three shots he faced. Thomas Hasal had four saves for the Whitecaps.

LAFC hosts Minnesota United on Wednesday night.

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Timbers score in stoppage time to edge LAFC 2-1`

LAFC forward Carlos Vela stops a shot from Dallas FC midfielder Bryan Acosta.
LAFC forward Carlos Vela, left, scored in the team’s 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Felipe Mora scored in stoppage time to give the Portland Timbers a 2-1 victory over LAFC on Wednesday night.

Diego Valeri opened the scoring for the Timbers in the second minute with his 100th goal with Portland Portland (6-6-1) and second of the season.

LAFC (6-5-3) tied in the 16th minute on Carlos Vela’s goal, his fifth of the season.

Mora, who came off the bench in the 74th minute, scored for amid a scramble by both teams in the final moments.

The loss snapped a LAFC’s three-game winning streak.

The Timbers were without defender Claudio Bravo midfielder Eryk Williamson. Bravo, is with Argentina in the Tokyo Olympics, and Williamson with the U.S. in the Gold Cup.

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Watch Carlos Vela’s goal against the Portland Timbers

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Goals by Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela help lead LAFC to win over Real Salt Lake

LAFC's Carlos Vela, second from right, celebrates his goal with defender Marco Farfan on Saturday night.
LAFC’s Carlos Vela, second from right, celebrates his goal with defender Marco Farfan on Saturday night. LAFC won 2-1.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Watching LAFC play defense has been a little like watching Shohei Ohtani bunt or Allyson Felix swim. It’s not what they were made to do.

In LAFC’s case, however, it appeared to be working. Because after getting off to the young franchise’s worst start, Bob Bradley’s team rebounded by playing defense, winning four times in its last five games, the team’s best stretch in nearly two years.

Three of those wins ended in shutouts.

But LAFC looked like its old self again Saturday, with goals from Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela lifting it to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake, extending its winning streak to a season-high three games.

Not that Bradley or his players were resting on those laurels.

“The most important win is the next one,” the coach said. “That’s the way it works.”

Italy won the European championship by beating England 3-2 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw.

This win wasn’t bad, though. LAFC has climbed nine places in the Western Conference standings in the last two months, moving into a tie with the Colorado Rapids for fourth place with 21 points. Saturday’s game also marked the first time this season that Vela and Rossi, the league’s last two Golden Boot winners, have scored in the same game.

LAFC (6-4-3) attacked from the opening whistle, attempting a season-high 29 shots. But it also played effectively at the other end, holding RSL (4-4-4) to three shots.

“LAFC is a team that is expected to dominate,” defender Kim Moon-hwan, whose assist on Vela’s goal was his first in MLS, said through a translator. “That’s the type of football we want.”

Though Bradley insists a change in strategy has had nothing to do with his team’s changing fortunes, the turnaround coincided with his decision to bench goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega in favor of Tomás Romero.

At 20, Romero is part of a wave of young goalkeepers making their mark in MLS. In May, Portland’s Hunter Sulte played against Dallas just six days after his 19th birthday, becoming the second-youngest starting keeper in league history. Two weeks earlier, Sporting Kansas City started 19-year-old John Pulskamp while RSL’s David Ochoa, who made his MLS debut as a teenager last fall, has started 11 times this season.

Ochoa was fantastic Saturday, matching a career high with eight saves, including one on a Vela penalty kick midway through the second half. And he was busy from the start, with LAFC forcing him into three saves in the opening four minutes before Rossi finally got a shot past him at the end of a well-executed give-and-go with José Cifuentes in the 10th minute. The goal was Rossi’s team-leading fifth of the season.

Aaron Herrera pulled that back for Real Salt Lake in the 18th minute, running on to a pass from Everton Luiz and burying a left-footed shot from just outside the box, ending Romero’s scoreless streak at 198 minutes, the third-longest in team history.

Romero saw only one other shot; LAFC has conceded a league-low 38 shots on goal this season, part of the reason Romero has just 10 saves in five games.

Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in the Copa America final for the national team’s first title in 28 years and Lionel Messi’s first major international trophy.

But LAFC kept the pressure on Ochoa, who was equal to the task, making a diving grab of a Raheem Edwards shot in the 49th minute and stopping a left-foot shot from Rossi in the 55th minute.

Vela also hit the crossbar with a shot in the first half and pushed another wide of an open net late in the second half. But all that frustration evaporated when he blasted a Kim cross over Ochoa and into the side netting at the far side in the 79th minute.

“A fantastic finish on the winner,” Bradley said of Vela’s score.

“We have scored more goals. But we created a lot of chances. A really good game just from the collective football on the night.”

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Watch the goals LAFC scored against Real Salt Lake

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LAFC hands Austin FC first loss at Q2 Stadium

Austin FC midfielder Hector Jimenez does the ball past LAFC forward Diego Rossi.
Austin FC midfielder Hector Jimenez does the ball past LAFC forward Diego Rossi during a match on Wednesday in Austin, Texas.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

AUSTIN, Texas — Jose Cifuentes and Diego Rossi scored and LAFC beat Austin FC 2-0 on Wednesday night for the expansion club’s first loss at Q2 Stadium.

LAFC (5-4-3) won its second straight game on the road after not winning away from home in its previous eight tries. Austin (3-6-4) has scored just six goals in its last nine matches — with four coming against Portland on Thursday night to snap an eight-match winless run.

LAFC capitalized on a failed clearance by goalkeeper Brad Stuver in the 39th minute. Kim Moon-Hwan intercepted the bad pass and his shot was denied by Stuver, but Cifuentes was there for the rebound.

Rossi ran past the defense for Carlos Vela’s through ball and sent it past Stuver in the 89th.

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José Cifuentes gives LAFC 1-0 lead over Austin FC

José Cifuentes put away a rebound in the 39th minute to give LAFC a 1-0 lead over Austin FC.

It’s Cifuentes’ second consecutive game with a goal.

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José Cifuentes lifts LAFC to 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake

LAFC midfielder José Cifuentes controls the ball during a match against New York City FC on May 29.
LAFC midfielder José Cifuentes, shown here during a match against New York City FC on May 29, scored against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

SANDY, Utah — José Cifuentes scored in the 69th minute and LAFC beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 on Saturday night for its first road victory of the season.

Cifuentes finished Eddie Segura’s cross from just behind the penalty spot into the right corner. Carlos Vela played a heel flick to Segura to get him an opening on the right side.

Three minutes later, Segura made the defensive play of the match for LAFC (4-4-3), clearing off the line a prime scoring chance for Rubio Rubin.

Real Salt Lake (3-3-4) was shut out for the second time this season.

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Cifuentes comes off bench, scores for LAFC

LAFC used four passes, including one off a back heel, to set up José Cifuentes in the top center of the box. Two minutes after coming off the bench, Cifuentes punched home the uncontested goal to give LAFC a 1-0 lead over Real Salt Lake in the 69th minute.

Real Salt could not find the equalizer and LAFC earned the road win.

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Watch every goal LAFC has scored so far this season

Los Angeles FC midfielder Corey Baird (13) celebrates
Los Angeles FC midfielder Corey Baird (13) celebrates after scoring against Austin FC on April 17 in Los Angeles.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

LAFC and Real Salt Lake are scoreless early. While you wait for first goal, watch every goal LAFC has scored so far this season.

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Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi anchor LAFC lineup against Real Salt Lake

LAFC has its top playmakers in the starting lineup for Saturday’s match at Real Salt Lake.

Cory Baird, who has three goals for LAFC this season, returns to Rio Tinto Stadium as an visitor for the first time. He played for RSL during his first three MLS season.

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Why hasn’t Carlos Vela been called up by the Mexican national team?

The last time Mexican national team coach Tata Martino worked with an MLS scoring leader, he was managing Josef Martínez and Atlanta United to a league title.

That was in December 2018. A month later, he took over the Mexican national team and he hasn’t looked back, losing three times in 28 games and capturing a CONCACAF Gold Cup. And he’s done that without LAFC’s Carlos Vela, the man who eclipsed Martínez’s MLS scoring record, and with little help from the Galaxy’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, the league’s current leader in goals.

Vela repeatedly has said he’s no longer interested in playing for the national team, while Hernández was last invited 22 months ago. That doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon since the Mexican team that opened training in Southern California on Monday included Galaxy teammates Jonathan dos Santos and Efraín Álvarez but not Hernández.

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