LAFC rallies with pair in 2nd half for 3-3 draw with Houston

MLS Soccer

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP)Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez scored six minutes apart midway through the second half, and Los Angeles FC rallied for a 3-3 draw with the Houston Dynamo in the MLS is Back tournament on Monday night.

The opening match of Group F turned into the highest scoring game of the tournament.

LAFC, the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners, trailed 3-1 at halftime after Houston took advantage of its counter-attacking opportunities in the first 45 minutes.

Memo Rodríguez scored twice in the first half for Houston. His first goal came in the ninth minute with a right-footed shot that beat LAFC goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer. Rodríguez added his second in the 30th, collecting a perfect pass behind the LAFC defense. Rodríguez’s first shot was saved by Vermeer, but the rebound deflected off Rodríguez’s leg and into the net.

Alberth Elis added a third for Houston just before halftime with his header off a free kick. The goal was originally waived off as being offside, but video review showed Elis was onside and the goal was allowed.

MLS veteran and LAFC newcomer Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 109th career regular-season goal in the first half tapping in a cross from Rossi. Wright-Phillips started at the top of LAFC’s attack with reigning league MVP Carlos Vela sitting out the tournament. He moved into seventh-place on the league’s all-time list for regular season goals.

While Rossi was a distributor in the first half, it was his strike in the 63rd minute that sparked LAFC. The Uruguyan’s right-footed shot from 15 yards was no match for Houston goalkeeper Marko Maric.

Just a few minutes later, Latif Blessing found Brian Rodriguez on a run from the wing and scored his first goal after the 22-year-old signed with LAFC last summer.

LAFC (1-0-2) opened the season with a victory over Inter Miami and a draw against Philadelphia prior to the league’s stoppage in March.

Houston (0-1-2) is still searching for its first victory under new coach Tab Ramos.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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