June 25, 2024

Steve Cherundolo expressed, after his team’s 2-2 draw in Portland, that achieving a point on the road and winning at home is crucial for success in MLS, as well as any league. Although disappointed not to secure three points, he acknowledged the value of earning a point away, especially in a challenging environment like Portland.

This strategy of drawing away and winning at home is fundamental to LAFC’s success in MLS, a league known for its parity and competitive nature. LAFC’s strong performance on the road has been evident in their recent MLS Cup final appearances, with notable road results in both the 2022 championship season and the hectic 2023 schedule. Despite facing challenges like fatigue from a busy schedule, LAFC maintained a commendable away record. Coupled with their formidable home form, LAFC has consistently been a force to reckon with in MLS. Looking ahead, Cherundolo sees the Portland draw as a positive step forward, recognizing the need for continued progression, especially with upcoming away fixtures.

At the 29th minute, LAFC defender Sergi Palencia delivered a daring cross from the right flank towards his former teammate from AS Saint-Étienne, Denis Bouanga, anticipating his movement. This play echoed Palencia’s notable assists from 2023, including the memorable last-minute contribution in León and a crucial tap-in during LAFC’s home victory against Austin. Bouanga, displaying intelligent off-the-ball movement, swiftly maneuvered past Timbers right back Juan Mosquera to connect with Palencia’s cross, resulting in a close-range shot that would have challenged Max Crépeau had it been on target. Despite the missed opportunity, Bouanga’s audible frustration highlighted his prolific ability to create scoring chances, leading MLS in near misses and shots hitting the goal frame in 2024. Although the reigning Golden Boot winner didn’t find the net against the Timbers, he played a significant role in both of LAFC’s goals. In the 21st minute, Bouanga’s clever movement disrupted Timbers defender Miguel Araujo’s positioning, creating space for Timmy Tillman to set up Mateusz Bogusz’s goal. Tillman explained that he recognized the gap in the defense and exploited it by feeding Bogusz. Moreover, Bouanga’s drawing of a foul from Timbers keeper Maxime Crépeau in the 47th minute not only led to Bogusz’s free-kick equalizer but also resulted in Crépeau receiving a red card, putting LAFC in a favorable position to secure a valuable point on the road.

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