While The New Signings Struggle, Carlos Vela Saves LAFC With 22-Yard Screamer

Bale, Bouanga and Tello offered very little, but Vela wouldn't be denied.

Trailing 1-0 to a header from Minnesota United's Brent "Leave It All Out There" Kallman on Tuesday night in St. Paul, LAFC saw all its regular season ambition — the Supporters' Shield and a clear path to hosting MLS Cup — slipping away as they stared at a fifth defeat in six matches. 

Gareth Bale had offered very little over 62 minutes before getting the hook, while Denis Bouanga was sacrificed at the same time with Steve Cherundolo hoping that Cristian Tello could offer something different.

Here was all of the attacking stardust that'd been added this summer, but a Minnesota team that'd lost three in a row by a combined margin of 7-0 looked comfortable at Allianz Field.

However, there's always one player LAFC can rely on: 2019 MVP Carlos Vela.

His ninth goal of the campaign — an equalizer in the 64th — was a rip that deftly curled into the top corner from 22 yards out. 

Giorgio Chiellini came on in the 87th-minute, but it was Kellyn Acosta who needed to rescue LAFC with a clearing tackle after keeper Maxime Crépeau let the ball bounce over his head.  

The draw sees Philadelphia take control of the Supporters' Shield race with a two-point gap on LAFC and three matches to play, although LAFC is now on the cusp of clinching top spot in the West. 

Minnesota is still on course for the playoffs, but the potential for first round home game at Allianz Field took another hit.

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