The opening of LAFC’s Banc of America Stadium had everything for 90 minutes plus stoppage time. Everything but a goal, that is.
Laurent Ciman was happy to oblige.
The Belgian defender stepped up and struck a ferocious free kick with the outside of his right foot, one that caught Seattle’s Stefan Frei, arguably Major League Soccer’s surest-handed goalkeeper, off guard and parried into the left side of the net.
It all but sealed a 1-0 victory for LAFC in its first-ever home game at its $350 million downtown Los Angeles venue. Facing the two-time defending Western Conference champion Sounders, LAFC hoped to start the match with a bang.
That didn’t happen, but it sure ended with one:
Here’s the moment LAFC fans came to see!
The captain Laurent Ciman scores the game-winner in stoppage time to give LAFC their first win at home in club history. pic.twitter.com/3zXqmFQT7f
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) April 30, 2018
Frei is best known for his heroics in Seattle’s shootout triumph in the 2016 MLS Cup final, and he’s normally reliable with shots hit in his vicinity, no matter the pace, power or movement.
But the 32-year-old Swiss looked confounded by Ciman’s strike, his first MLS goal since July 25, 2015, against — who else? — the Sounders.
LAFC is now second in the Western Conference with 15 points, two behind Sporting KC but also with two games in hand. The debutantes won four of their six away matches before construction was finished and their home stadium was ready to open.
Seattle, meanwhile, continues its poor start to the season, sitting last in the West on four points, tied for the lowest in the league with, ironically, fellow 2017 MLS Cup finalist Toronto FC.
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