Lloris makes 7 saves, wins MLS debut as LAFC beat Sounders 2-1

Feb 24, 2024, 4:24 PM

Seattle Sounders...

Mateusz Bogusz of the Los Angeles FC celebrates against the Seattle Sounders on Feb. 24, 2024. (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

(Michael Owens/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hugo Lloris made seven saves and won his Major League Soccer debut, leading Los Angeles FC to a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

LAFC 2, Seattle Sounders 1: Stats

Timothy Tillman and Mateusz Bogusz scored for LAFC, which began its drive for a third straight MLS Cup Final appearance after winning the league’s postseason title in 2022 and reaching the Final again last season. LAFC has won its season opener in all seven seasons of its existence.

LAFC got an impressive debut from Lloris, who moved stateside last December after 11 1/2 seasons with Tottenham, including a decade as Spurs’ starting goalkeeper. The 37-year-old won the World Cup for France in 2018, and he has played in a goalkeeper-record 20 matches over four World Cups tournaments.

Pedro De La Vega scored in the 72nd minute of his MLS debut for Seattle on a penalty awarded to the Sounders after an egregiously long video review, but Seattle still lost to the rival that ended its 2023 season in the Western Conference final.

Lloris made his first save in the third minute on a close-range shot by Jordan Morris after LAFC’s Jesús David Murillo coughed up the ball in an awful spot. Lloris was repeatedly cool under pressure, and the veteran goalkeeper also opened a new facet of LAFC’s attack with impressive distribution on a series of long passes to his forwards.

Tillman put LAFC ahead in the 45th minute with a mid-air blast of a cross from Omar Campos, the 21-year-old Mexican left back signed in January from Santos Laguna as a possible replacement for Diego Palacios.

Bogusz doubled LAFC’s lead in the 55th minute with a beautiful, curling strike into the top far corner. The 22-year-old Polish forward scored only three goals in 28 appearances for LAFC last year.

Seattle was awarded its penalty several minutes after Aaron Long and Morris made contact at the top of the LAFC box, with Long receiving a very belated yellow card. It was converted by De La Vega, who joined Seattle as a designated player in January for a hefty transfer fee from Lanús in his native Argentina.

Andrew Thomas made his MLS debut in goal for Seattle.

LAFC began a new season by playing its first match without Carlos Vela, the franchise’s first player and the 2018 MLS MVP. The Mexican star remains at home unsigned, but LAFC is hoping to find a way through MLS’ labyrinthine salary rules to bring him back.

LAFC also is back without longtime left back Palacios and central defender Giorgio Chiellini. Chiellini, who was honored for his retirement before the match, is now a player development coach for LAFC.

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