Diego Rossi of Los Angeles FC celebrates the first goal of the game against Fresno FC in the Fourth Round of the 2018 US Open Cup. Photo: Ben Goldman | LAFC
Two second-half goals from Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing lifted Los Angeles FC to a 2-0 victory over USL-side Fresno FC in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
“A team like Fresno that is well coached and that is prepared, we had to find different ways to open them up,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “It took a little while, but it is good to move on. We look forward to the next part of the Open Cup.”
With the win, LAFC recorded its first-ever Open Cup victory in their inaugural tournament match inside Banc of California Stadium.
Both squads played to a scoreless first half with LAFC controlling the tempo for a majority of the 45 minutes. The hosts best chance on frame came at the 28th minute, when Calum Mallace fired a shot from distance that forced Foxes goalkeeper Kyle Reynish to react.
LAFC’s Adama Diomande also had an early chance in the 18th minute, but his shot was blocked by Fresno defender Cory Brown.
For Bradley, he thought his team was not sharp enough in the first 45 minutes of play.
“I thought in the first half, in tight spaces we were slow sometimes to just play the next ball,” Bradley said. “So we had too many moments where we wanted too long and the pass that we tried had no chance.”
Fresno FC held their own for long stretches, but that was before Rossi stepped onto the pitch.
The Uruguayan national came off the bench in the second half and slotted a close-range finish over the goal line in the 52nd minute, just before Christian Chaney could clear the ball out.
Bradley had high praise for his young forward in the short time of action he received.
“He could’ve played 90 minutes, but to use him for 45 and knowing that we turned it around quickly, and how many minutes he’s played was nice,” Bradley said. “He loves to play.”
Just three minutes later LAFC struck again. This time it was Blessing, who buried Mallace’s blocked shot inside the penalty box.
The Foxes exit the US Open Cup with a 2-1 record that included wins over Orange County FC and Sporting Arizona FC.
For LAFC, they will await the Open Cup draw to see if they play Sacramento Republic FC, Portland Timbers FC or the LA Galaxy.