LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Football Club maintained its second half dominance in 2022, netting a pair of goals after the hour mark to complete a 2-0 matinee win over the New York Red Bulls.
Goals by Cristian Aranago and Diego Palacios added three points to LAFC’s lead in the Supporters’ Shield standings, and improved their record against Eastern conference teams to 5-0-1 on the season.
LAFC (10-3-3, 33 points) absorbed New York’s high-press in the opening half following a noon kickoff at Banc of California Stadium, in large part to the decisive play of center back Jesus Murillo, who repeatedly snuffed out attacks.
When the Red Bulls (7-5-5, 26 points) managed to target the ball on goal, the visitors did not ask much of LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, who finished with four saves on the day.
The one time LAFC got off a quality shot in the first 45 minutes, Red Bulls Brazilian goalkeeper Carlos Coronel reacted well to a Franco Escobar blast inside the box, parrying the rising shot with his left hand.
Then LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo went to arguably his best weapon — the bench.
Stepping onto the field following the hour mark, Arango in particular changed the complexion of LAFC’s attack. In the 67th minute the Colombian forward, one of two players in MLS with at least 19 goals since August of last year, completed a team goal by sauntering into the Red Bulls box and beating Coronel with his right foot.
The play began with a header by midfielder Ilie Sanchez in LAFC’s half of the field. Diego Palacios knocked it forward to his fellow Ecuadorian teammate Jose Cifuentes, whose winning duel allowed the ball to drop at Carlos Vela’s feet. One touch by the LAFC captain followed by a slick pass into space over the top over the Red Bulls defense provided Arango the room he needed to net his fifth goal of the season.
The game-winner marked the 11th goal by a substitute for LAFC in 2022, most in MLS.
Three minutes later Arango initiated the Black & Gold’s second goal of the game from the opposite side of the field when he and Vela combined to dispossess a Red Bulls player in the LAFC box.
Near the touchline, Arango turned around and banged the ball toward midfield. It skipped past a defender into the path of forward Brian Rodriguez and the Uruguayan designated player streaked into the box.
Waiting for Palacios to catch up and flank a group of Red Bulls defenders, Rodriguez fed perhaps the club’s most consistent player up to this point in the season who deked a defender and struck it with his left foot past Coronel for the first MLS goal of his career.