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LAFC tops Vissel Kobe 4-1 in preseason friendly

In its first trip back to the Banc of California stadium since last year’s MLS playoffs lost, LAFC kicked off the preseason with a bang with a 4-1 victory over Japanese club Vissel Kobe. 

From the beginning, the match was framed as a battle between LAFC captain Carlos Vela and the international stars of Vissel Kobe — Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Lukas Podolski, all three of which have played on World Cup-winning international teams. Despite a downpour throughout the day, by the time kickoff rolled around, the sky had cleared for the head-to-head matchup.

In the first period, Vela prevailed, netting a pair of goals that gave the Black and Gold a 2-0 lead and a furious amount of momentum heading into the half. After 30 minutes of back-and-forth action, Vela curled a ball with his left foot from just outside the corner of the box, beating the keeper to take the lead in the 32nd minute. Ten minutes later, he dodged around a defender and immediately loosed a shot to stretch the lead to 2-0.

Coming out of the half, LAFC kept a tight grip on the momentum and containing possession. Then in the 72nd minute, center back Dejan Jaković found space in the box during a free kick and flipped the ball past the keeper. With a 3-0 lead, the Banc of California stadium was rocking with the cheers and chants of the supporters section. Kevin Mendoza added a fourth goal to fully put away the victory, and despite allowing a late Vissel Kobe goal, LAFC was able to secure the victory.

LAFC also had plenty to celebrate as forward Rodolfo Zelaya, who joined the club earlier this week, was welcomed for the first time in Banc of California stadium. Although the team couldn’t welcome Zelaya officially onto the field — the Salvadoran remains off the official roster as his international transfer paperwork is processed — he was welcomed with a warm and rowdy cheer from the North End as he held the falcon for the pre-game tradition

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