Los Angeles, CA —LAFC wanted to put last weekend’s derby disappointment behind them, the Los Angeles Football Club needed to get back to the basics and go back to their attacking style. They remain atop the Western Conference at the end of Week 7.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi’s half-volley gave LAFC the lead and substitute Jose Cifuentes was instrumental in all three points as LAFC (5-1-1, 16, points) rallied to a 3-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City (2-6-0, 6 points) on Sunday afternoon at Banc of California Stadium.
With the win, the all-time series stands at 4-4.
Ecuadorian Diego Palacios assisted the first two goals for LAFC, who remained unbeaten with 10 points. Cristian Arango added his second goal in as many games for the Black and Gold.
“It was the right response from last week,” said LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo. “I was quite pleased with the energy and mentality of the guys to not accept anything less than three points today.”
Neither side produced a goal until the 44th minute, however by that point LAFC (5-1-1, 16, points) had fallen behind on the scoreboard.
SKC captain Johnny Russell caromed a cross off Palacios in the 38th minute that snuck past goalie Maxime Crepeau at the near post.
Sporting Kansas City held the lead for only six minutes as they lost a third in a row and remain in search of its first points away from Children’s Mercy Park this season.
LAFC responded by raising its level and Cherundolo’s team once again did not concede a second half goal.
“Unfortunately we’ve started games slowly this year,” Cherundolo said. “We’ve tried to correct that. But surely after the other coaches and I have spoken to the group and made changes at half this group knows what to do and how to win games.
“I would prefer that the start in the first half to be better, but obviously the effort to finish at the end of games to finish games off has been a big difference from last season.”
Strong finishes from Chicho Arango, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, and Jose Cifuentes offsetted the slow start that included an unlucky first-half own-goal by defender Diego Palacios.
LAFC controlled Kansas City throughout the second half by making the most of its deep depth chart and ability to pressure.
Captain Carlos Vela then earned a foul in a dangerous spot outside the box that allowed Arango an opportunity to smash a well struck shot from 30 yards out that would have gotten past the visitor’s goalie, Tim Melia, had it not slammed hard off the right post.
From just outside the box, Tajouri-Shradi ripped a volley by Melia for a 2-1 lead.
“I saw the goalkeeper was a little outside the goal and I said I’ll take this opportunity and we’ll see what it’s going to be,” Tajouri-Shradi said. “It was a perfect ball from Chiqui and I thought I would take this shot. Maybe it will be the goal of the week. Goal of the year. Let’s see. I just did it and it worked perfectly. I’m happy for that.
In the 70th minute, the Black & Gold moved ahead for good following Palacios’s second assist, a direct ball over the top that popped up neatly for winger Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who had replaced Mahala Opoku shortly before the chance.
- 38′ – SKC – Diego Palacios (OG)
- 43′ – LAFC – Cristian Arango
- 70′ – LAFC – Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
- 78′ – LAFC – Jose Cifuentes