Los Angeles FC (LAFC) had their way with DC United as they steamrolled their way to a 4-0 win in Washington. The game was action-packed, and included saved penalty, a red card from an unlikely source and a goals from two of the league’s hottest attackers. Both teams were sitting atop their respective conferences going into the game, but the Western Conference team showed off their class against their Eastern counterparts.
The first major action of the game came in the tenth minute when LAFC was awarded a penalty due to a hand ball inside the penalty area from DC United midfielder Leonardo Jara. It looked like Los Angeles would be on the board quickly, but Bill Hamid read the penalty shot to perfection. The rebounded ball was bobbled, deflected and shot a few times before being sent out of bounds, averting an early crisis for the home team.
Undisturbed by that minor setback, LAFC scored almost exactly five minutes later in the 15th minute. DC was dispossessed in the midfield by Adama Diomande, who sent a through ball to Carlos Vela. The attacker calmly collected the ball on his left foot and rifled a shot into the back of the net from the edge of the penalty area to put his team in the lead. That goal was Vela’s seventh in the last six games, and put him firmly at the top of the league’s scoring leaderboard.
Not to be outdone, the rest of the game belonged to Vela’s teammate, Diego Rossi. Barely ten minutes after his teammate’s beautiful goal, Rossi sprinted past the opposing backline to receive an inch-perfect centering pass from Carlos Vela and calmly passed the ball past Hamid for his first goal of the night. He quickly added to his goal tally in the 32nd minute when he sent a first touch curler over the outstretched Hamid and into the bottom right corner. The rest of the first half was fairly uneventful, barring LAFC’s loss of Diomande to apparent leg injuries in the 28th minute.
DC United came into the second half looking to claw their way back from the three goal deficit, but that became impossible when their star forward, Wayne Rooney, was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Rossi in the 52nd minute. United’s one good chance to bridge the gap on the scoreboard came four minutes later, when Russell Canouse shot the ball past Los Angeles goalkeeper Tyler Miller. That shot, however, was cleared on the goal line by Steven Beitashour, who helped Miller maintain a clean sheet for the game.
Rossi secured his hat trick with possibly his easiest goal of the night. He received a poorly-placed through ball that he had time to control due to the absence of defenders in the area, and slotted home his third goal in a one-on-one with Hamid, who had a notably poor performance.
If LAFC keeps up their recent form, they will be a tough matchup for any team in the league. DC, on the other hand, must work on the weaknesses exposed by Los Angeles if they want to regain the top spot in the East and look to contend for a championship in the postseason.