Qualified for the US Open Cup, Steve Cherundolo highlights LAFC's change of attitude

The current MLS Western Conference leaders showed strength and skill to beat New Mexico United 3-1 and secure a place in the semi-finals of the US Open Cup 2024
Los Angeles Football Club v New Mexico United: Quarterfinals - 2024 U.S. Open Cup
Los Angeles Football Club v New Mexico United: Quarterfinals - 2024 U.S. Open Cup / Jenny Chuang/ISI Photos/USSF/GettyImages

Who would have thought that Los Angeles FC, who last year could barely pay attention to the US Open Cup, would be in the semi-finals today with an eye-popping performance? Well, the team showed that with a change of attitude and a more relaxed schedule, anything is possible. LAFC beat New New Mexico United 3-1 at the BMO Stadium.

The match got off to a flying start, with Timothy Tillman opening the scoring in the sixth minute. He took advantage of a rebound from a difficult save by goalkeeper Alexander Tambakis after an attempt by Mateusz Bogusz. The early goal set the tone for the game, with LAFC dominating the action and controlling possession. While New Mexico United tried to find a way through, the hosts remained calm and waited for the right moment to strike again.

Follow MLS Multiplex on X (Twitter).

In the 37th minute, David Martínez extended the lead after an exquisite pass from Bogusz, who was the brains behind many of the team's attacking moves. Martínez took advantage of a rebound from his own shot and scored his second goal, taking LAFC into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead. But New Mexico United were not willing to surrender easily. In the 57th minute, Greg Hurst curled a shot into the bottom right corner, narrowing the gap and adding tension to the match.

David Martínez extended LAFC's lead in the 37th minute, finishing with precision after a masterful pass from Bogusz. The first half ended comfortably 2-0 to the home side, but New Mexico United came back more aggressively in the second half. In the 57th minute, Greg Hurst narrowed the gap with a powerful shot into the bottom right corner, rekindling the visitors' hopes. The game became tense, with chances for both sides. However, it was Bogusz who sealed LAFC's victory with a stunning goal in the 77th minute. In a spectacular individual move, he dribbled through midfield, entered the area and, with an unstoppable shot, secured the final score of 3-1. It was a real show from the Polish dynamo, who showed why he is one of the team's most promising players.

Coach Steve Cherundolo, pleased with the performance, commented on the team's changed attitude towards the US Open Cup. "Last season, it simply wasn't physically possible to push the guys for another game," he said. "That's different now." With a more balanced schedule and less travel, LAFC can finally give the tournament its due attention.

Cherundolo stressed the importance of having experienced and talented players like Denis Bouanga, Kei Kamara and Hugo Lloris in the squad. The win over New Mexico United extended LAFC's unbeaten run to 13 games, showing the team's consistency and depth. Kamara emphasized the importance of pushing on: "Our goal was to push on and we did that. We jumped as high as we needed to. Tonight, we just passed the bar, which is OK. But we can certainly play better."

The win puts LAFC into the US Open Cup semifinals for the second time in the club's history, the first since 2018. The next challenge will be against the Seattle Sounders, a clash that promises to be exciting. As well as the chance to win a trophy, the US Open Cup offers the winner a cash prize and qualification for the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the region's most prestigious club competition.

For LAFC fans, the US Open Cup journey is a clear sign that the team is focused on winning on all fronts. After winning the Supporters' Shield and the MLS Cup in 2022, LAFC are looking to add more trophies to their resume. The dedication and performance in the US Open Cup show that the Black and Gold are prepared to fight for every title.