LAFC vs. New York Red Bulls – Football Match Report – June 26, 2022
Cristian Arango scored his fifth goal of the season in the 67th minute and his third in as many games to help LAFC secure a 2-0 victory at home to the shorthanded New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon.
Diego Palacios added his first goal of the campaign in the 70th minute for LAFC (10-3-3, 33 points), which took a four-point lead over Real Salt Lake at the top of the Western Conference and standings.
Carlos Vela and Brian Rodriguez provided the assists on the 21st and 22nd goals of the season in MLS.
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Maxime Crepeau made four saves to keep his fifth clean sheet of the season as LAFC extended their unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1). And the Black and Gold are only set to go from strength to strength in early July after European stars Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini are officially added to the club’s roster when the secondary transfer window opens.
There was a sense of excitement in the crowd after Saturday’s announcement that Wales star Bale would join the club and one of the best in world football in the stands with Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, who was spotted in Brooklyn during Thursday’s NBA Draft, taking in the game.
Carlos Coronel made three saves for the Red Bulls (7-5-5, 26 points), who only dressed six players on their bench in part because of three unexpected late scratches due to the health and safety protocol of the MLS.
Those absences included regular starters Luquinhas, who is second on the team with five goals, and Aaron Long, who is the Red Bulls’ top defender and a regular on the United States men’s national team.
The visitors held their ground in the first 45 minutes, but on a hot day that featured hydration breaks every half, the Eastern Conference team finally lost steam against an opponent with one strongest benches in the league.
It showed its head when Arango came on in the 65th minute and immediately put the home side ahead.
With Vela in possession, the Colombia international made a smart diagonal run to stay in play, then ran into plenty of space to meet Vela’s through ball before calmly finishing 1v1 past Coronel.
It was 2-0 three minutes later when Rodriguez slipped past his defender near midfield to create another break down the right and then spotted Palacios on his left.
Palacios faked a retreating defender, then hammered a low finish into the far right corner that left Coronel little chance.