LOS ANGELES — Just three days after a disappointing loss in the Concacaf Champion’s League final, LAFC took the field at BMO stadium looking for a spark against Atlanta United in the club’s return to MLS play.
LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo knows his team can’t dwell on the result, but he wanted to keep business going as usual.
“Everybody in this in that locker room has been in that position before so there’s no reason to panic at all. Just keep going and keep playing in the same manner that things will take care of themselves,” Cherundolo said.
Despite creating a plethora of scoring chances LAFC was unable to get on the board, mostly thanks to Atlanta’s goalkeeper, Bradley Guzan, who earned a clean sheet on the road during the 0-0 draw.
“We gave them a good performance defensively, and offensively, we created enough chances. We were just a little bit unlucky tonight. I’m not sure we need to over analyze this game,” LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said after the game.
Atlanta’s midfield was unable to control the possession and even though LA was able to constantly create chances in the final third, Guzan was there to keep a clean sheet.
Denis Bouanga had five of his shots in the second half either get saved or roll right by Guzan, including a from the centre of the box missed a few feet to the right in the 54th.
LAFC’s best chance to score came late in the second half after Atlanta’s Juan Sanchez took down Carlos Vela in the box, which was called a penalty.
Vela came up to the spot and his shot was saved by Guzan nearly dead center, until VAR had something to say about it.
Shortly after the shot the officials reviewed the play and saw that Guzan stepped off the goal line early so the penalty shot had to be retaken. On his second attempt, Vela attempted to place the ball up and away but instead sent the ball sailing above the crossbar and into the stands.
The penalty would not be the only chance Vela had despite coming in nearly an hour into the game.
Almost immediately after coming off the bench in the 59th, Carlos Vela made his presence felt and nearly got LAFC on the board. But his shot off his right foot was saved by Guzan.
Considering it had been roughly 72 hours since the Concacaf Champions League final, LAFC looked rather sluggish for a majority of the game.
Atlanta failed to jump on this opportunity, as they didn’t log a single shot on goal throughout the game.
”I tried to just be ready and mentally prepared that one chance is gonna come and just try to make the most of that one change when it does come and keep it out,” LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy said. “But I’ll take days like this.”
Meanwhile, LAFC continued to push until the final minute but they ultimately were unable to convert any chances.
LAFC currently sits in third place in the Western Conference with 26 points despite playing a league-low 13 games. The club will have another quick turnaround when they head to the Lone Star State where they will face the Houston Dynamo, Saturday.