Sunday, June 16, 2024

LAFC shuts out Loudon United FC to reach U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals

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  • LAFC forward Denis Bouanga recovers the ball during the second...

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga recovers the ball during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Tomás Ángel, left, and Loudoun United FC defender...

    LAFC forward Tomás Ángel, left, and Loudoun United FC defender Jacob Erlandson pursue the ball during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC interim head coach Ante Razo looks on from the...

    LAFC interim head coach Ante Razo looks on from the sideline during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Omar Campos moves the ball up the field...

    LAFC defender Omar Campos moves the ball up the field during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Sergi Palencia, right, defends against Loudoun United FC...

    LAFC defender Sergi Palencia, right, defends against Loudoun United FC defender Robby Dambrot during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

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

    LAFC defender Eddie Segura, center, controls the ball during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC goalkeeper Abraham Romero, right, looks to pass the ball...

    LAFC goalkeeper Abraham Romero, right, looks to pass the ball during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Eduard Atuesta looks to pass the ball during...

    LAFC midfielder Eduard Atuesta looks to pass the ball during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

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

    LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, right, vies for the ball with a Loudoun United FC defender during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman, left, celebrates with teammate Denis Bouanga,...

    LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman, left, celebrates with teammate Denis Bouanga, right, among others after Tillman scored a goal during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, left, vies for the ball against...

    LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, left, vies for the ball against a Loudoun United FC defender during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Tomás Ángel, left, watches his shot get past...

    LAFC forward Tomás Ángel, left, watches his shot get past Loudoun United FC goalkeeper Dane Jacomen for a goal during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Tomás Ángel, center top, celebrates after scoring a...

    LAFC forward Tomás Ángel, center top, celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Tomás Ángel (21) celebrates with teammates after he...

    LAFC forward Tomás Ángel (21) celebrates with teammates after he scored a goal during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC fans celebrate after the team scored a goal during...

    LAFC fans celebrate after the team scored a goal during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman controls the ball during the first...

    LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman controls the ball during the first half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

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

    LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, left, kicks the ball past Loudoun United FC defender Robby Dambrot (22) for a goal during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, back left, scores a goal past...

    LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, back left, scores a goal past Loudoun United FC goalkeeper Dane Jacomen, bottom left, during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, right, celebrates with teammate Denis Bouanga...

    LAFC forward Cristian Olivera, right, celebrates with teammate Denis Bouanga after Olivera score a goal during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

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

    An LAFC fan cheers during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC goalkeeper Abraham Romero controls the ball during the second...

    LAFC goalkeeper Abraham Romero controls the ball during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Nathan Ordaz, left, controls the ball in front...

    LAFC forward Nathan Ordaz, left, controls the ball in front of Loudoun United FC defender Kwame Awuah during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • A young fan, center, claps during the second half of...

    A young fan, center, claps during the second half of LAFC’s U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Maxime Chanot controls the ball during the second...

    LAFC defender Maxime Chanot controls the ball during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC defender Jesùs Murillo recovers the ball during the second...

    LAFC defender Jesùs Murillo recovers the ball during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Eduard Atuesta looks to pass the ball during...

    LAFC midfielder Eduard Atuesta looks to pass the ball during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC forward Cristian Olivera controls the ball in front of...

    LAFC forward Cristian Olivera controls the ball in front of Loudoun United FC defender Robby Dambrot (22) during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

  • LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz controls the ball during the second...

    LAFC midfielder Mateusz Bogusz controls the ball during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

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

    An LAFC fan cheers during the second half of their U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Loudoun United FC on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

LOS ANGELES — Creating their own energy inside a limited-capacity BMO Stadium, the Los Angeles Football Club cruised past Loudoun United FC to reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the third time.

Goals from Timothy Tillman, Cristian Olivera and the first in Black & Gold for 21-year-old Tomas Angel pushed LAFC past the USL Championship side, 3-0.

Fans occupied the lower bowl on the east side of the stadium as well as half the supporters’ section in the north end on Tuesday, staking out first-come, first-serve general admission seats for the single-elimination contest against D.C. United’s reserve team from northern Virginia.

The early stages reflected the diminished atmosphere that accompanied having 4,730 fans in the building – less than a quarter of the usual crowd.

Combining for three shots on target with Loudoun in the first 45 minutes, LAFC still made the most of its first attempt.

Waiting at the far post to tap in a low cross from Olivera, Tillman beat Loudoun goalkeeper Dane Jacomen for the lead in the eighth minute.

For Tillman, a German-American who was called into the upcoming U.S. men’s national team training summer camp alongside his brother Malik, a first-ever Open Cup goal continued a string of high-quality contributions, giving him five goals in all competitions for LAFC.

“I just enjoy playing here,” Tillman said. “I just enjoy working here. It’s been an amazing environment for me. I’m just feeling blessed.”

Tillman said he hasn’t played competitively alongside his younger brother, who features for PSV Eindhoven in Holland, since they were kids.

“As soon as we got the email about it, we texted each other,” Tillman said. “Yeah, we were super, super happy. Couldn’t even believe it in the beginning and now we’re just looking forward to it.”

The physically talented midfielder began the match alongside Mateusz Bogusz and Ilie Sanchez, however 20 minutes in the veteran Spaniard asked to come out because of an injury concern.

One of three regulars on the bench ahead of another stretch of four games in 12 days, Eduard Atuesta was introduced for precautionary reasons by assistant coach Ante Razov, who served in Steve Cherundolo’s role after LAFC’s head coach served a one-game suspended after receiving a red card two weeks ago during the Round of 32 in Las Vegas.

In his seventh season as an LAFC coach, Razov had grabbed the reins for the second half against the Las Vegas Lights and turned a scoreless match into a 3-1 win.

Tuesday marked the first time in a decade of coaching that Razov, a three-time Open Cup champion as a player with the Chicago Fire, ran a team from the outset of a match.

The 50-year-old retired forward, born in Whittier and raised in Long Beach, has interviewed for head coaching jobs and aspires to the position, he said, but “at the moment the most important thing is the day-to-day work we have here.”

Against Loudoun, LAFC picked up where they left off in hopes of claiming the Lamar Hunt trophy for the first time in a half-dozen tries.

Switching from a back five to a 4-4-2, Loudoun loosened up to find an equalizer, however a pair of diving stops from backup Abraham Romero repelled their best chances.

An Abraham save at the 50-minute mark (one of six on the night) preserved LAFC’s third straight clean sheet and set up the first of two second half assists by Denis Bouanga, who ran the length of the field and fed Olivera, the swift Uruguayan winger, for a slick shot into the upper corner.

With three more games coming over the next seven days, the priority soon switched to resting players. But before coming off in the 79th minute, Bouanga also provided Angel a gorgeous pass behind the Loudoun defense that let the Colombian finish with his left foot.

One of eight MLS teams that entered the 109th edition of the Open Cup, LAFC improved to 10-4 in the single-elimination competition, getting as far as the semifinals during their expansion season of 2018.

The draw for the 2024 quarterfinal round during the second week of July is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

“When it’s just five games it goes really fast,” Razov said. “You try to get these guys to understand you win one game, OK. The next game is the Round of eight. You’re in the quarterfinal. You have to be able to smell this and taste it. We don’t need any rah-rah speeches now. It’s there for you. It’s a trophy. It’s an important piece to add to the cabinet.”

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