LAFC captain Laurent Ciman scored a free kick goal in stoppage time against the Seattle Sounders to give the MLS expansion team a dramatic win in its first home game at Banc of California Stadium.
In front of a sell out crowd of 22,000, Ciman’s long-range blast skipped through the arms of Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei and spun into the back of the net, sealing a 1-0 victory. The Seattle keeper appeared fooled by the kick, expecting one of his defenders would have blasted away the ball before it reach the goal.
The victory helped LAFC to an impressive 5-2 record, good enough for second place in the Western Conference. It’s the second best start ever for an MLS expansion team.
Both teams played pretty evenly throughout the match, with Seattle providing handful more threatening attacks on the LAFC goal. It appeared the game would end in a scoreless draw until Ciman’s late heroics.
“After I saw the positioning of our players, and saw that everyone was pretty much marked, I just decided to kick it as hard as I could towards the goal,” Ciman, a Belgium international, said after the game during a Fox Sports interview.
LAFC beat the Seattle Sounders in the teams’ first ever match when the two teams played during their season opener in Seattle.
LAFC couldn’t have asked for a more a more impressive first game at it’s $350 million stadium built next to the historic L.A. Coliseum, on the site of the old Sports Arena. Team celebrity owners Will Ferrell, Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra were among the enthusiastic spectators.
LAFC next plays at home against FC Dallas on Saturday, May 5.