Carlos Vela’s late blast lifts LAFC over Sporting KC

Jun 17, 2023; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gadi Kinda (10) fights for the ball against Los Angeles FC During first half at Children's Mercy Park. Mandatory Credit: Kylie Graham-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kylie Graham-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Vela scored the tiebreaking goal in the 90th minute as Los Angeles FC rallied to notch a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night at Kansas City, Kan.

Sporting Kansas City appeared to tie the score four minutes later on Roger Espinoza’s header. But the goal was disallowed when video review determined a foul should have been called on Sporting KC’s Khiry Shelton prior to the scoring sequence.

Denil Maldonado atoned for an early game mistake with his first career goal to help Los Angeles FC win in MLS play for the first time since May 20. LAFC (8-3-5, 29 points) had gone scoreless in its last three MLS matches (0-2-1).

Alan Pulido scored for Sporting Kansas City (5-9-5, 20 points), who lost for the first time in a five-game stretch (3-1-1).

Vela’s decisive goal was set up by Aaron Long, who won the battle for the ball in the midfield and delivered a long pass downfield to a wide-open Vela. The former MLS MVP then ripped a hard left-footed shot past Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh.

LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy made six saves. McIntosh had two.

Maldonado took out Gadi Kinda with a late slide in the 12th minute and was called for the foul. The play underwent a lengthy video review before Sporting KC was awarded a penalty kick.

Pulido stepped up to the spot in the 17th minute and sent a right-footed shot that tipped the hand of McCarthy en route to landing in the top left corner of the net. It was Pulido’s fourth goal in three games and fifth of the season.

LAFC knotted the score in the 48th minute as Maldonado atoned for his earlier miscue.

Mateusz Bogusz sent a cross toward Maldonado, who headed the ball to the left of McIntosh and into the net.

LAFC appeared to move ahead three minutes later when Long headed in Vela’s free kick but Long was ruled to be offside.

Sporting KC dominated the first half with a 9-1 edge in shots and finished with a 16-6 advantage.

–Field Level Media

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