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LAFC defeat Loudoun United, advance to Open Cup quarterfinals

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
LAFC advance to the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Open Cup after a 3-0 victory over USL's Loudoun United on Tuesday at BMO Stadium.

LOS ANGELES — LAFC advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 3-0 win over Loudoun United FC of the USL Championship with goals from Timothy Tillman, Cristian Olivera and Tomás Ángel.

It was Tillman’s sixth goal of the year, and came a day after being called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team’s June training camp for their upcoming friendlies. Olivera, who scored a two goals in the previous round of the Open Cup, has seven goals.

Ángel, scored in his debut for the Black and Gold. LAFC have had three straight clean sheets in all competitions, tightening up their defenses.

This is the fifth time LAFC has participated in the Open Cup and third time they have advanced to the quarterfinals. Their best performance in the tournament was in 2018 when they advanced into the tournament semifinals. The next round will be held July 9-10.

Assistant coach Ante Razov, stepping in for Steve Cherundolo who was booked a red card in the previous round of the tournament, said that the club has respect for the tournament despite the criticism it has received.

“For LAFC, we generally try to win everything we enter,” Razov said. “Once we knew we were going to be in the tournament as a first team, the goal has been to win.”

Tillman started the scoring early on a second effort in the eighth minute fed by Olivera, who next scored his own in the 52nd minute after one of many sprinting displays of brilliance from Denís Bouanga. Ángel scored in the 61st minute to conclude the scoring off yet another assist from Bouanga.

For the new striker, who has been sidelined since January recovering from injury, the emotions building up to his debut and first goal for his new club, were overwhelming and evident in his exaggerated goal celebration.

“It was the debut at home I imagined. It was a day I was hoping to get the opportunity,” he said.

He’d practiced the play with Bouanga earlier on this week during training and when Bouanga gave him the go-ahead glance, he knew it was his time.

Bouanga, subbed out in the 79th minute, earned his rest having been on the field for every minute of every match LAFC played in 2024, piled onto his already stacked achievements this year an additional two assists. He has accumulated eight and seven assists in 15 matches in all competitions, finding ways to make his mark whether it hits the back of the net or does so by proxy of a teammate.

“I just try to be decisive, either by passing or by shooting like I did [vs. St. Louis],” Bouanga said. “Involving my teammates more makes me very happy,”

While, the team has a long wait well over a month until the next round against, one important takeaway is that they have a fresh perspective on the overall value of the Open Cup, having been eliminated last year in the Round of 16 to LA Galaxy. With a trophy comes a precious berth in the 2025 CONCACAF Champions Cup, a title that has slipped through their grasp twice before.

“We’re looking forward to the next round,” Tillman said. “The Open Cup is a very quick way to win a title.”

LAFC resumes its MLS regular-season schedule at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, when they visit the Atlanta United.

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