University Times

New Kickers in Town

LA’s newest sports addition, Los Angeles Football Club, starts its first season.

+Laurent+Ciman+slides+to+steal+the+ball+from+Seattle+%0D%0ASounders+midfielder+Henry+Wingo.
 Laurent Ciman slides to steal the ball from Seattle 
Sounders midfielder Henry Wingo.

Laurent Ciman slides to steal the ball from Seattle Sounders midfielder Henry Wingo.

Bettina Hansen

Bettina Hansen

Laurent Ciman slides to steal the ball from Seattle Sounders midfielder Henry Wingo.

Mike Nelson, Contributor

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On March 4, Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 in front of 50,000 fans at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. For LAFC, it was their first ever MLS regular-season game as an expansion team. They became the only expansion team to win their inaugural game on the road since 1998.

LAFC’s roster consists of players from Belgium, Egypt and Costa Rica among other countries. These players will compete in the developing Major League Soccer (MLS) league, which showcases athletes from various countries throughout the world. During their match against the Sounders, LAFC took the lead with a goal by Uruguayan Forward Diego Rossi, who scored from outside the penalty box. Notably, it was the fastest goal by an expansion team in league history.

LAFC’s Midfielder Carlos Vela anchored the offense and used his skill to create scoring opportunities. If Vela can stay healthy and adjust to the style of play in MLS, then LAFC has the potential to be a threat in the league.

In the second half, the Sounders generally had control of the ball. However, LAFC Goalkeeper Tyler Miller made crucial saves that protected the team’s victory.

Miller was excited for the win, because he was playing against the team that drafted him in 2015, appearing in just two games in three years. He spoke after the game at the press conference:

“Yeah, I mean I definitely knew a lot of guys on the team. It was a funny experience because before the game I was saying hi to everybody, but for me I was mentally preparing the entire time.”

Cal State LA student Juan Esparza attended the game in Seattle:

“It wasn’t what I expected; I thought the chants and supporters would be cheering less, however they cheered throughout the whole game and made more noise than the rival team. I strongly do believe the LAFC support group made a strong impact in Seattle. I cannot wait to see how it’ll look like against the LA Galaxy. Or yet alone the vibe from LAFC support groups when playing at home.”

LAFC Coach Bob Bradley spoke at the press conference after the game about his team’s performance:

“It’s a great win. The first 25 minutes I actually thought the football was pretty good.”

LAFC will continue playing on the road until late April, when their home venue, Banc of California Stadium, is completed. That first game in the new stadium will be against the Seattle Sounders on April 29.

The Club’s stadium is being built where the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena once stood. It is set to be the first to open in Los Angeles city limits since Dodger Stadium in 1962.

LAFC’s inaugural season is set to be a definitive step forward for professional soccer in Los Angeles.

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New Kickers in Town