Carlos Vela scored a goal in the fourth minute and added an assist in the second half as LAFC earned a 2-0 victory Wednesday over visiting FC Dallas.
In his MLS debut, LAFC goaltender Tomas Romero needed to make just one save in the shutout, while Latif Blessing added the second-half goal that sealed the victory.
Vela, the 2019 MLS MVP, who was slowed by a quadriceps injury early in the season, scored his first goal of 2021 in his sixth game (five starts).
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It was just Vela’s fifth goal in 13 games over the past two seasons after he scored a league-best 34 goals in 2019. He missed much of last season with an MCL tear in his left knee and played 75 minutes Wednesday as he continues to work on his fitness.
LAFC picked up its first victory in three games since returning from the international break and won for the first time since a 2-1 triumph at home over the Colorado Rapids on May 22.
FC Dallas remained winless over their last six games since a 4-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on May 1. They are 0-3-3 in that stretch.
Vela’s early goal came off a feed by Eduard Atuesta from outside the penalty area. Vela knocked down the pass with his left foot before using his preferred left foot again to fire a shot across his body and to the lower right corner past diving FC Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.
Blessing scored his first of the season in the 69th minute, taking a pass from Vela and slotting the ball past Maurer. The goal was initially overturned with Vela called offside, but was confirmed on replay.
Maurer made six saves, including a point-blank stop on a shot from Jose Cifuentes from inside the penalty spot in the 60th minute and two sprawling saves against Vela over next six minutes before Blessing delivered.