Expansion LAFC countered a spectacular first-half hat trick by the Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti with four unanswered goals to take a 5-3 victory Saturday at Stade Saputo.
Playing with a man-advantage over the final 59 minutes after Montreal’s Victor Cabrera received a straight red card, LAFC wore down the Impact back line.
LAFC (4-2-0) cut the deficit to 3-2 on Benny Feilhaber’s second goal of the season into the top corner in the 52nd minute. An own goal by Jukka Raitala five minutes later off an LAFC corner kick tied the score, and then Carlos Vela scored the winner on a penalty kick in the 83rd minute. Vela leads the team with five goals.
Substitute Latif Blessing rounded out the scoring with a tap-in after a shot by Marco Urena trickled between the legs of Impact keeper Evan Bush, who was otherwise heroic with two brilliant saves.
The shell-shocked Impact (2-5-0) spent much of the second half trying to hang on. LAFC coach Bob Bradley ramped up his offense by adding Blessing, and it was his pressure in the box that spurred the own goal.
Piatti, a 33-year-old Argentine maestro, scored in the ninth, 16th and 43rd minutes, giving him 51 career regular-season goals and four goals this season. His third goal shocked LAFC as it came 12 minutes after Cabrera’s ejection.
LAFC defender Laurent Ciman, a fan favorite with Montreal before being dealt to Los Angeles in the offseason, had a first half of mixed emotions. He received a standing ovation after a laser-like blast into the corner on a free kick which cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 24th minute but was victimized on two of Piatti’s goals.
With its outdoor home stadium basically snowed in early in the season, the Impact had played five of its first six games outside of Montreal. LAFC was also playing its sixth consecutive road game to start the season.
LAFC coach Bob Bradley was disappointed with his team’s sloppy effort in the first half.
“We weren’t very good,” he said on the telecast.
On Wednesday, expansion LAFC rolled out its new $350 million venue, Banc of California Stadium, earmarked for an April 29 home opener.
—Field Level Media