Carlos Vela had a goal and set up two others to help lead LAFC to a 4-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls in a thrilling match to cap Week 23 of the MLS regular season Sunday night at Banc of California Stadium.
Ten minutes after LAFC thought they had the go-ahead goal only to have it called back following Video Review for a foul on Mark-Anthony Kaye, the Supporters’ Shield leaders broke the stalemate on the hour mark through Vela.
Recently-signed from Red Bulls II, Rece Buckmaster got tangled up with Eduard Atuesta, who went down in the box as referee Drew Fischer pointed to the spot. Vela slipped his shot to the right of Luis Robles, who dived the other way, for his league-leading 23rd goal of the season.
Vela then set up Eddie Segura in the 72nd minute with a lofted ball just outside the six-yard box and the Colombian headed in his first MLS goal. It was a similar ball Vela played to Jordan Harvey, who was the unlikely player to open the scoring in the 23rd minute after slipping though defenders to latch onto a perfectly weighted Vela free kick.
The Red Bulls leveled in quick succession late in the first half. First it was Cristian Casseres Jr. who bounced his shot past Tyler Miller in the 42nd minute after Kaku turned Blessing over. Three minutes later, Casseres set up the 45th-minute equalizer with a pass to Danny Royer. He played across the six-yard box where Brian White slid in and put his shot off the post. The ball caromed in off Miller’s back for an own goal as the sides went into the break level.
- 23’ — LAFC — Jordan Harvey | WATCH
- 25’ — LAFC — Latif Blessing | WATCH
- 42’ — RBNY — Cristian Casseres | WATCH
- 45’ — RBNY — Tyler Miller (own goal) | WATCH
- 61’ — LAFC — Carlos Vela (PK) | WATCH
- 72’ — LAFC — Eddie Segura | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Wow. Game of the year? A thrilling attacking display by both teams, who split a four-goal first half. LAFC blew a two-goal lead, but responded in kind with a pair of second-half goals in a match that had the feel of a passing of the Supporters’ Shield torch.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: So many to chose from, but we’ll start at the beginning as Harvey headed in this goal, the 12th in his 14-year MLS career and first since July 5, 2017 for the Vancouver Whitecaps against NYCFC.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: While Kemar Lawrence held Vela in check largely through the run of play, the favorite to win the Landon Donovan MLS MVP and Golden Boot awards, changed the game on set pieces with a pair of perfect assists and the winner from the penalty spot.