LAFC makes move in MLS

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Blake Richard­son blake.richard­son@la­times.com Twit­ter: @rblak­erich_

Team takes a step to­ward se­cur­ing home field in play­offs with a re­sound­ing vic­tory over the Hous­ton Dy­namo.

Adama Diomande ran to the stands be­hind the goal and leaped, rel­ish­ing a crowd in cel­e­bra­tion.

Car­los Vela had launched a di­ag­o­nal pass to Di­a­monde di­rectly in front of the goal; Di­a­monde fired a shot to fin­ish the score. He had given the Los An­ge­les Foot­ball Club a 2-1 lead over the Hous­ton Dy­namo at Banc of Cal­i­for­nia Sta­dium.

Af­ter a series of missed chances, LAFC fi­nally pulled ahead of the Dy­namo with Diomande’s score in the 53rd minute, a lead it ex­tended with two more goals..

LAFC may have al­ready se­cured a spot in the play­offs, but its 4-2 vic­tory over the Dy­namo still car­ried im­por­tant post­sea­son im­pli­ca­tions.

Since LAFC is 9-1-6 at home but 7-7-2 on the road, start­ing the play­offs at home is es­sen­tial to giv­ing the team a shot at a long post­sea­son run. To ac­com­plish that, LAFC, which is in sec­ond place with 56 points, must earn a rank­ing of fourth or higher.

With the play­offs in sight, Los An­ge­les is hit­ting its stride, win­ning seven of eight games since Aug. 11 be­fore fac­ing the Dy­namo, earn­ing the best win­ning per­cent­age by an ex­pan­sion team and be­com­ing MLS’s fifth team to reach the post­sea­son in its in­au­gu­ral year.

That ag­gres­sion con­tin­ued Fri­day.

LAFC pres­sured the Dy­namo early. The team recorded three shots in the first 15 min­utes while hold­ing the Dy­namo to no shots. LAFC also dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion in that time frame.

But Hous­ton broke through first. Af­ter LAFC goal­keeper Tyler Miller failed to se­cure a blocked shot, Hous­ton for­ward Mauro Man­o­tas booted the ball low and fast to the back of the net, giv­ing the Dy­namo a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute.

Af­ter a flash of light­ning, the field emp­tied in the 35th minute as the game was de­layed be­cause of se­vere weather.

At the de­lay, LAFC out­shot the Dy­namo 5-1, com­pleted 81 more passes and took 60.4% pos­ses­sion to Hous­ton’s 39.6%, de­spite trail­ing by a goal.

Once play re­sumed af­ter the 104-minute de­lay, Vela struck back.

Tripped up by Hous­ton goal­keeper Tyler Deric, who was is­sued a yel­low card, Vela lined up for his penalty kick, then rock­eted a shot to the lower right cor­ner of the field for a goal, ty­ing the Dy­namo 1-1 in the 44th minute with his 12th goal of the sea­son.

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