Los Angeles FC Claim Supporters’ Shield Title

Los Angeles FC Claim Supporters’ Shield Title

As the 2022 Major League Soccer regular season comes to a close, Los Angeles FC were crowned Supporters’ Shield champions with one match still to play.

Sitting top of the Western Conference, a win over the Portland Timbers was enough to secure the trophy after Eastern Conference rivals the Philadelphia Union fell to a surprise 4-0 defeat to Charlotte FC this weekend.

With Philadelphia losing to Charlotte on Saturday the 1st of October, LAFC went to Portland to face the Timbers the following day knowing victory would clinch the Supporters Shield. Many bookmakers, including online casino in Ontario, are already tipping the LA side as favourites for the MLS Cup.

Carlos Vela, who has been the team’s star player since their expansion season, got the scoring underway early in the second half with a trademark left-footed finish from outside the area. Curling the ball into the far post beyond the diving Aljaž Ivačič, the Mexican scored his twelfth of the season to build excitement amongst the LAFC Fans.

Steve Cherundolo’s side were unable to push on from this and add to their tally and in the 81st minute, the Portland Timbers drew level. A cross into the box headed home by Dairon Asprilla, a well-taken header, though some questionable defending. Asprilla rose between both LAFC central defenders to win the header almost unchallenged.

After the equaliser, Cherundolo made some attacking changes to look to get back out ahead in the closing minutes of the game. Gareth Bale was brought in for striker Cristian Arango in search of the winner. The Welshman has been underwhelming since his arrival in MLS despite creating so much excitement around the league when it was announced. He arrived looking to regain fitness ahead of the world cup but has only started twice since arriving in the midseason transfer window in MLS.

As time ticked by, it was LAFC’s latest Designated Player signing who clinched victory for his side in the 95th minute of the game. Denis Bouanga arrived from St Étienne in August and has shown plenty of skill and determination out of possession to excite the fans, his composure in front of goal though had not till this game. Bouanga cut in from the left to dribble at the Timbers’ defence, beating three players and finishing calmly into the far corner from close range.

The celebrations were electric, from the players on the field to the staff and players on the bench. Bouanga wll be delighted to get off the mark for his new side after struggling to convert in his first five games.

LAFC now have two Supporters Shield trophies to their name since arriving in MLS in the 2018, but their focus in still on MLS Cup.

Carlos Vela emphasised this focus on the MLS Cup with his comments after clinching the Supporters Shield.

“Of course, we celebrate a little bit – not that crazy, how it can be if we win the MLS Cup, this is something like we can have if we win the MLS Cup, so everybody’s focused on what is the real target and I hope we can prepare ourselves the best way to win MLS Cup.”

There is strong focus, and LAFC are a team brimming with confidence going into the Playoffs this November.