LOS ANGELES — Before a late arriving and sell out crowd at Banc Of California Stadium, LAFC entered Friday’s match against Atlanta United FC looking to reset after a deflating El Tráfico loss with a strong performance against the defending MLS champions.
For a 12-minute stretch before halftime, it let all that frustration out.
LAFC (15-3-4, 49 points) scored four goals during that stretch in a 4-3 victory over Atlanta (11-9-3, 36 points) at Banc of California Stadium to drive home the message in front of 22,511 at the stadium and a national audience on television: This team still very much has its mojo.
LAFC extended its lead in the race for the Supporters’ Shield and improved to 4-0 in games following a loss.
The goals came one after another, from Adama Diomande, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela and Eduard Atuesta. Diomande leveled the score in the 33rd minute, taking a pass from Mark-Anthony Kaye and hammering it past Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Five minutes later, Rossi took a carom off a deflection from a Vela cross and was in perfect position to send it down the middle past an unprepared Guzan. Vela made it 3-1 four minutes later with a penalty kick goal, his league-leading 22nd goal in 22 matches. He was taken down near the edge of the box, but was awarded a penalty and buried it.
Atuesta capped the barrage in the 45th minute, receiving a pass from Diomande, turning and firing in LAFC’s fourth goal.
Despite the scoring onslaught, LAFC’s defense was shaky when tested. Josef Martinez got one back for Atlanta before halftime and the visitors clawed within 4-3 in the 51st minute on an own goal when Eduard Atuesta tapped a cross into his own net.
LAFC was also caught off guard to start the match, allowing the first goal two minutes in off a set piece. Mo Adams was first to a loose ball from in close, and he buried it past goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead.
However, that didn’t impact the result. For 12 minutes, LAFC flexed its scoring muscle and hat was enough.
LAFC allowed Atlanta back into the game and that cannot happen if it wants to end its season holding the championship trophy. LAFC will travel to New England next Saturday to play the Revolution.