Sunday, June 16, 2024

LAFC extends shutout streak, tops Minnesota for 6th straight win

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  • LAFC forward Cristian Olivera chases the ball during the first...

    LAFC forward Cristian Olivera chases the ball during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, center, controls the ball during the...

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, center, controls the ball during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Eddie Segura, center, heads the ball during the...

    LAFC defender Eddie Segura, center, heads the ball during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Aaron Long kicks the ball during the first...

    LAFC defender Aaron Long kicks the ball during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Aaron Long, back, vies for the ball with...

    LAFC defender Aaron Long, back, vies for the ball with Minnesota United FC defender D.J. Taylor (27) during the first half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga converts a penalty kick for a...

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga converts a penalty kick for a goal during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, left, flips in the air after...

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, left, flips in the air after scoring a goal during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga (99) celebrates with teammates after scoring...

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga (99) celebrates with teammates after scoring on a penalty kick during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • An LAFC fan cheers during the second half of the...

    An LAFC fan cheers during the second half of the team’s MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Minnesota United forward Jeong Sang-Bin, left, stumbles as LAFC midfielder...

    Minnesota United forward Jeong Sang-Bin, left, stumbles as LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman falls to the turf during the first half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC midfielder Erik Dueñas controls the ball during the first...

    LAFC midfielder Erik Dueñas controls the ball during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Sergi Palencia, right, heads the ball near Minnesota...

    LAFC defender Sergi Palencia, right, heads the ball near Minnesota United midfielder Kervin Arriaga during the first half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • Minnesota United midfielder Will Trapp, right, chases LAFC forward Denis...

    Minnesota United midfielder Will Trapp, right, chases LAFC forward Denis Bouanga during the first half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC defender Sergi Palencia, right, vies for the ball against...

    LAFC defender Sergi Palencia, right, vies for the ball against Minnesota United FC forward Jeong Sang-Bin, left, during the first half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Minnesota United forward Teemu Pukki reacts after a missed shot...

    Minnesota United forward Teemu Pukki reacts after a missed shot during the first half of their MLS match against LAFC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman kicks the ball up the field...

    LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman kicks the ball up the field during the second half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Minnesota United midfielder Will Trapp, left, lunges for the ball...

    Minnesota United midfielder Will Trapp, left, lunges for the ball next to LAFC defender Aaron Long during the first half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, left, and Minnesota United defender D.J....

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, left, and Minnesota United defender D.J. Taylor vie for the ball during the first half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, right, recovers the ball in front...

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, right, recovers the ball in front of Minnesota United FC defender D.J. Taylor during the first half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Minnesota United defender D.J. Taylor stretches for the ball during...

    Minnesota United defender D.J. Taylor stretches for the ball during the first half of their MLS match against LAFC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC defender Ryan Hollingshead kicks the ball during the first...

    LAFC defender Ryan Hollingshead kicks the ball during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Minnesota United forward Tani Oluwaseyi, right, and LAFC defender Jesús...

    Minnesota United forward Tani Oluwaseyi, right, and LAFC defender Jesús Murillo vie for the ball during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga chases the ball down during the...

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga chases the ball down during the first half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Eddie Segura, left, kicks the ball while being...

    LAFC defender Eddie Segura, left, kicks the ball while being chased by Minnesota United FC midfielder Will Trapp during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC goalkeeper Hugo Lloris kicks the ball up the field...

    LAFC goalkeeper Hugo Lloris kicks the ball up the field during the second half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Ilie Sánchez, right, chases the ball during the...

    LAFC midfielder Ilie Sánchez, right, chases the ball during the second half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, seated center, watches during...

    Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, seated center, watches during the second half of an MLS match between LAFC and Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, left, vies for the ball with...

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, left, vies for the ball with Minnesota United FC midfielder Hassani Dotson during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. LAFC won, 2-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall reacts to a referee during...

    Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall reacts to a referee during the second half of their MLS match against LAFC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, left, kicks the ball past Minnesota...

    LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, left, kicks the ball past Minnesota United FC midfielder Joseph Rosales during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz kicks the ball for a goal...

    LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz kicks the ball for a goal during the second half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Minnesota United FC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair can’t stop a...

    Minnesota United FC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair can’t stop a ball kicked for a goal by LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz, not pictured, during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz celebrates his goal during the second...

    LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz celebrates his goal during the second half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz, right, celebrates his goal with defender...

    LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz, right, celebrates his goal with defender Sergi Palencia during the second half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC defender Sergi Palencia, left, and midfielder Mateusz Bogusz, right,...

    LAFC defender Sergi Palencia, left, and midfielder Mateusz Bogusz, right, celebrate after Bogusz scored a goal during the second half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC fans cheer after a goal during the second half...

    LAFC fans cheer after a goal during the second half of the team’s MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. LAFC won, 2-0. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz (19) celebrates with, from left, defender...

    LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz (19) celebrates with, from left, defender Aaron Long, midfielder Timothy Tillman and defender Sergi Palencia after scoring a goal during the second half of their MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC defender Eddie Segura, left, and Minnesota United forward Jeong...

    LAFC defender Eddie Segura, left, and Minnesota United forward Jeong Sang-Bin vie for the ball during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz, front, moves the ball past Minnesota...

    LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz, front, moves the ball past Minnesota United FC forward Jeong Sang-Bin during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • Minnesota United forward Jeong Sang-Bin, left, and LAFC midfielder Timothy...

    Minnesota United forward Jeong Sang-Bin, left, and LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman vie for the ball during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, left, chases Minnesota United goalkeeper Dayne...

    LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, left, chases Minnesota United goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair during the second half of their MLS match on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • An LAFC fan holds up a doll during the second...

    An LAFC fan holds up a doll during the second half of the team’s MLS match against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Maxime Chanot takes a moment after the team’s...

    LAFC defender Maxime Chanot takes a moment after the team’s 2-0 victory over Minnesota United on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

  • Fans cheer and throw water during the first half of...

    Fans cheer and throw water during the first half of an MLS match between LAFC and Minnesota United on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

LOS ANGELES — Behind Denis Bouanga’s 50th goal and another banger by Mateusz Bogusz, the sizzling Los Angeles Football Club leap-frogged Minnesota United FC into third place in the Western Conference on Wednesday night.

Bouanga’s team-leading ninth goal of the season came on a first-half penalty kick following a foul he suffered. Bogusz’s late insurance goal, his sixth this year, with a laser to the top corner from 30 yards away.

The 2-0 final returned the favor to Minnesota, which defeated LAFC by the same score at Allianz Field in mid-March as the visitors struggled to get out of the starting gate.

Against this version of LAFC (8-4-3, 27 points), which won its sixth consecutive match, Minnesota (7-3-4, 25 points) couldn’t get out of second gear. The visitors had been unbeaten over their previous six games coming into the contest at BMO Stadium, scoring multiple goals each time out.

With a clean sheet on two saves, Hugo Lloris secured his sixth shutout for LAFC and his fourth in a row, surpassing Tyler Miller to establish a new regular-season franchise record for the longest stretch without conceding at 390 minutes.

Between MLS and U.S. Open Cup competition this month, LAFC hasn’t allowed a goal in 485 minutes, another club record.

“As you win and your performances improve, the trust within the group increases and that’s very important to trust your teammates, trust your coaches and so forth,” LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said. “That goes a long way. That allows you to play freely. It allows you to rely on your teammates. It allows you to excel in your own area of the field. That’s something we’ve been seeing. This trust has allowed players to perform better individually, and any time you do that you start to win games.”

Bouanga’s penalty shot in the 38th minute made him the second-fastest LAFC player to reach 50 goals in all competitions, taking 80 games to Carlos Vela’s 64. Diego Rossi is the other LAFC player to reach that mark, doing so in 93 matches.

“It’s an honor to join Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela,” Bouanga said. “They left a mark on the club so I’m really happy that I’m part of it.”

The sequence that set up the foul in the box against Bouanga by Minnesota defender D.J. Taylor was initiated from Ryan Hollingshead, who returned to LAFC’s starting lineup for the first time since May 4, when the veteran fullback suffered a neck injury at San Jose in the club’s last loss.

For Hollingshead, 33, the injury was particularly concerning considering his neck was broken in January 2017 after stepping out of his car on the side of the highway on an icy night in north Texas to help a motorist who had collided with the median.

Hollingshead, the Good Samaritan, was launched into the air when another driver plowed into him, leaving the former UCLA standout with three broken vertebrae.

The whiplash at the end of the first half against the Earthquakes flared up the 8-year-old contusion in his spine, and for the past three weeks he watched while his teammates marched forward making the most of a congested calendar.

“That kills me, but at the same time I have to think about me as a human being and me as a dad, a husband and those things,” Hollingshead said.

After consulting with back and neck doctors “it was just no question that I needed to do what was right for that to heal,” he continued. “We pushed those timelines as hard as we could, but at the end of the day, especially as a veteran in this league, you really start to weigh, ‘OK, when I’m 50, am I going to worry about one more game that I missed in 2024 or am I going to be so happy that I can move and play with my kids and not have neck surgery?’”

Against Minnesota he lined up alongside three center backs – Aaron Long, Eddie Segura and Jesus Murillo – as well as fullback Sergi Palencia.

LAFC opened with five at the back for the second straight match, providing wide defenders more freedom to operate as wingbacks.

In the second half, LAFC concentrated on isolating Bouanga and Cristian Olivera, which produced clearer chances while outshooting Minnesota 14-7 (6-2 on goal).

“I was very happy and pleased tonight with the performance. It was professional,” Cherundolo said. “It was controlled. At no point in the game did I fear us losing or did I see Minnesota being dangerous. It was how you need to play at home against a very good team.”

LAFC returns on Saturday to host Hollingshead’s previous team, 12th-place FC Dallas (3-7-4, 13 points), prior to the start of a two-week FIFA window that will see Bouanga, Timothy Tillman, Omar Campos, Cristian Olivera and Maxime Chanot depart for their respective national teams.

In just 80 matches, Denis Bouanga has joined the exclusive 50-goal club for #LAFC in all competitions.

Only Diego Rossi (93 matches) and Carlos Vela (64 matches) have achieved the same mark. pic.twitter.com/fC08a4HkDW

— LAFC (@LAFC) May 30, 2024

Bangerz Only 💥

Your future @MLS Goal of the Week from Mateusz Bogusz 🚀#LAFCvMIN 2-0 pic.twitter.com/TGkbgUGfUV

— LAFC (@LAFC) May 30, 2024

Rate 1⃣ – 🔟

The guys react to Mati Bogusz’s scorcher 🚀 pic.twitter.com/vDabbDZxid

— LAFC (@LAFC) May 30, 2024

The goalkeeper with the longest streak of scoreless minutes in LAFC history

Put some damn respect on his name

Hugo Lloris 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/wv8fKmtLTD

— Daniel (@lafcdaniel) May 30, 2024

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