Laurent Ciman and Adama Diomande scored in the opening eight minutes and Los Angeles FC cruised to 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday.
LAFC (8-4-3) has won two straight after four games without a victory. The first-year club is 3-0-3 at home.
Columbus (7-5-6) has followed three consecutive ties with a pair of losses.
Ciman scored in the fourth minute in his return to Los Angeles. The Belgian defender was in Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as a standby player, but Belgium coach Roberto Martinez released him last weekend.
He ripped a 35-yard free kick that skipped once in front of Crew backup goalkeeper Jon Kempin, who started because Zack Steffen injured his knee in training on Thursday.
Columbus has allowed a set-piece goal in four straight games. Ciman’s three goals in 2018 have come on free kicks.
Diomande made it 2-0 four minutes later, moving back from on offside position to take a pass from Lee Nguyen to score in a third straight game. He has four goals for the season.
LAFC won despite forwards Carlos Vela (Mexico) and Marco Ureña (Costa Rica) and defender Omar Gaber (Egypt) being at the World Cup. Vela scored Saturday in a 2-1 win vs. South Korea.
Columbus settled down after the early deficit and found its possession game. In the 69th minute Crew midfielder Federico Higuain’s goal off a header was ruled offside.
LAFC’s Tyler Miller was otherwise not tested. He made just one save for his fifth shutout of the season and his career. Kempin finished with three saves.
The Crew has scored three goals in compiling a 2-3-3 road record.
On June 30, the Crew hosts Real Salt Lake and LAFC is home to the Philadelphia Union.
—Field Level Media