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    Sizzling LAFC extends shutout streak, tops Minnesota for 6th straight win
    • May 30, 2024

    LOS ANGELES — Behind Denis Bouanga’s 50th goal and another banger by Mateusz Bogusz, the sizzling Los Angeles Football Club leap-frogged Minnesota United FC into third place in the Western Conference.

    Bouanga’s team-leading ninth goal of the season came on a first-half penalty kick off a foul he suffered. Bogusz added a late insurance goal, his sixth this year, with a laser to the top corner from 30 yards away.

    The 2-0 final returned the favor to Minnesota, which defeated LAFC by the same score at Allianz Field in mid-March. The visitors had gone unbeaten over their previous six games coming into the match at BMO Stadium, scoring multiple goals in each match.

    Against this version of LAFC (8-4-3, 27 points), Minnesota (7-3-4, 25 points) couldn’t get going.

    The clean sheet was Hugo Lloris’ sixth shutout with LAFC and his fourth in a row, surpassing Tyler Miller to establish a new regular-season franchise record for the longest stretch without conceding at 390 minutes.

    Between MLS and U.S. Open Cup competition this month, LAFC hasn’t acquiesced in 484 minutes throughout a winning streak that was extended to six games on Wednesday.

    Yet again, scoring first was key to LAFC’s efforts.

    Bouanga’s penalty in the 38th minute was facilitated by defender Ryan Hollingshead, who returned to LAFC’s starting lineup for the first time since May 4, when the veteran defender suffered a neck injury during the club’s last loss at San Jose.

    For Hollingshead, 33, the injury was particularly concerning considering that his neck was broken in January 2017 after stepping out of his car on the side of the highway on an icy night in north Texas to help a motorist who had collided with the median.

    Hollingshead, the Good Samaritan, was launched into the air when another driver plowed into him, leaving the former UCLA standout with three broken vertebrae.

    The whiplash at the end of the first half against the Earthquakes flared up the 8-year-old contusion in his spine, and for the past three weeks he watched while his teammates marched forward to make the most of a congested calendar.

    “That kills me, but at the same time I have to think about me as a human being and me as a dad, a husband and those things,” Hollingshead said.

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    After consulting with back and neck doctors “it was just no question that I needed to do what was right for that to heal,” he continued. “We pushed those timelines as hard as we could, but at the end of the day, especially as a veteran in this league, you really start to weigh, ‘OK, when I’m 50, am I going to worry about one more game that I missed in 2024 or am I going to be so happy that I can move and play with my kids and not have neck surgery?’”

    With rest and recovery, Hollingshead saw the field as a substitute during LAFC’s previous match in Atlanta, helping to see out the chaotic closing moments.

    Against Minnesota he lined up next to three center backs – Aaron Long, Eddie Segura and Jesus Murillo – and fullback Sergi Palencia as LAFC opened with five at the back for the second straight match, which gave the wide defenders freedom to operate higher up the field as wingbacks.

    LAFC returns to the field on Saturday, hosting FC Dallas (3-7-4, 13 points) prior to the start of a two-week international break.

    More to come on this story.

    ​ Orange County Register