LAFC are moving on.Eight days after a 5-2 win at BMO Stadium in Match 1, the Black & Golds 1-0 victory
over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday night at BC Place saw them sweep the clubs Round One Best-of-3 series.
The reigning MLS Cup champions have experienced a lengthy season thats included Concacaf Champions League
, Leagues Cup, US Open Cup and Campeones Cup. After going trophy-less in those competitions, theyre now one step closer to a second-straight MLS title – and with a clean bill of health.
“[In] the important moments of the game, we are focused, and we are performing well at the moment, and maybe the most important thing is we are healthy,” head coach Steve Cherundolo said postgame. “At this stage of the season, with the amount of games weve played, its an achievement all in itself.”
Defense the name of the game in Match 2LAFCs offense was on full display in Match 1, finding the net five times against the Whitecaps. That wasnt the case in Match 2:
Dénis Bouangas 24th-minute penalty, coupled with a five-save shutout from Maxime Crépeau, was all the visitors needed to advance.
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It was a different style of winning: LAFCs only other 1-0 triumph across all competitions in 2023 was
June 21 against Seattle Sounders FC.”I think its always a goal of ours, and certainly my personal philosophy on how to play this game and how to coach this team, is to be well-balanced, to be able to have solutions in all phases of the game,” Cherundolo said.
“Tonight, the last 15 or 20 minutes, defending in a deeper block and our in-box defending was excellent, and it was important and needed. And I think this time of year, to close games out, its also very important to have the belief and show others you can keep a clean sheet, also away from home.”
LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta added: “In this stage of the season, its the little details that go a long way, and whether its one goal, two goals, whatever it takes to win the game. … For us as a group, it was just whatever we needed to do to win. And I think we rolled up our sleeves today, we grinded it out, and the goal was all we needed to get the victory.”
Seattle or FC Dallas?Thanks to the November international break, LAFC have a lengthy layoff before their Western Conference Semifinal commences on either Nov. 25 or 26. Theyll find out who their opponent will be on Friday when Seattle host
FC Dallas (10 pm ET | MLS Season Pass). A Seattle win means LAFC will be on the road in the next round; a Dallas victory secures a home match at BMO Stadium.
Regardless of the venue, Cherundolo struck an optimistic tone that his group would be up for the task. Theyre looking to become the first MLS Cup repeat winners since the
LA Galaxy in 2011-12.”It could be that we go away the next round, and well see who qualifies,” Cherundolo said. “Its important for the belief, for our own selves, but also to show others we can do it there too.”
“We are three games away. This is how we have to see it,” Crépeau added. “Its a time to regroup, to have a little bit of time to be 100 percent, everybody, the whole squad. … We want to go all the way again.”