In the months following Vela’s signing, the club’s emphasis on Latino fans became clear. The official supporters’ group crafted chants in Spanish as well as English, borrowing concepts from Liga MX and the Premier League alike. The team’s events took place at staple sites in downtown L.A., at Randy’s Donuts and Pink’s Hot Dogs and dollar stores alike. The club even released a jersey for Steven Beitashour scripted in Farsi, the Iranian defender’s first language. You can learn everything you need to know about the Los Angeles Football Club within five minutes of stepping foot in its stadium. It’s only been a year, but LAFC has already earned the right to say that it is the soccer club of Los Angeles. Sure, this team is the new kid on the block, but the tired nobility in Carson has been losing steam for ages, and the glitter of imported European stars will only keep the blood pumping for so much longer. As the Major League Soccer season approaches this weekend, the two teams will start the second leg of their fight for Los Angeles, and LAFC is poised to take the city. The MLS tried to recapture Latino fans in Los Angeles in the past with Chivas USA, an off-shoot of a Liga MX club, but that venture fell through. This time, however, LAFC made certain these fans weren’t missed. The club’s first signing was Carlos Vela, a Mexican national team star fondly referred to as “Carlito” by many Mexican fans. His acquisition was an incredible tactical move — he led the team in goals and assists last year despite missing a month of the season for the World Cup — and he also helped solidify Mexican fan support for the club. That momentum comes from the club’s mentality off the field, built off the motto that it was founded on — street by street, block by block, one by one. The club centered itself in this ideal before construction on its stadium began and, in the process, conquered the most important battle in winning dominance in the city — capturing Latino fans. The club’s outreach programs truly worked street by street to create a network of fans in the heart of Los Angeles. LAFC recognized everything that the Galaxy did wrong — it didn’t plant itself in a suburb rather than in the city and didn’t appeal to a white “family friendly” ideal rather than to the Latino community that dominates local soccer fandom. In the past year, I’ve seen enough of this club to know that it has legs. Something is different with LAFC. Its stadium has the hum of a championship team, the buzz of a storied club. The power that it holds among its fans is already greater and deeper than that held by the Galaxy, and if the club keeps winning, that momentum will only build. Banc of California Stadium is gleaming, especially when its facade catches the glow of a Los Angeles sunset. Yet it’s the energy within the bowl of the stadium that truly defines this club. Specifically, the north end of the stadium is a sheer wall of standing-room-only pandemonium. By kick-off, this section is filled with 3,252 fans with painted faces and flags that won’t stop waving until long after the final whistle. To watch an LAFC game is to experience a cacophony of black and gold. I’ve covered LAFC since its stadium was just a skeleton, since its roster consisted of three players. I was drenched in beer in the supporters section when Laurent Ciman scored the first-ever goal on the team’s home turf. I’ve seen fans outlast an hours-long rain delay, roaring chants and beating drums even when the thunder drowned them out. Julia Poe is a senior writing about her personal connection to sports. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs weekly on Thursdays. It’s hard to say what will happen if LAFC doesn’t keep winning, but one thing is for sure — this team hasn’t been around for long, but it’s certainly here to stay. The result has been a beautiful fan experience completely molded by a fanbase as colorful and vibrantly unique as Los Angeles itself. Fans wave the Korean, Vietnamese, Uruguayan and Mexican flags alongside the LAFC flags in the stands during games, and chants are sung in a mix of Spanish and English, with other fans quickly picking up the new language. LAFC is a celebration of this city’s rich history, its overlapping cultures and a common thread that brings them together — the game of soccer. In truth, LAFC and the L.A. Galaxy didn’t finish last season that far apart. The Galaxy ended the season just below the red line, missing the playoffs, but there were only three games of difference between the two teams. Yet week in and week out, it felt as if LAFC had much more to work with, mainly because the club’s fans were so desperately, unyieldingly loud in their support.
“We’re way far off as a team, we’re not even close,” Garrett told reporters Tuesday, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I thought there were some flashes on both sides of the ball and the kicking game, flashing in each of the three units, but we’re not even close. Back to work. This is an important three-day stretch for us now.”Garrett’s comments come as Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott continues to hold out. Elliott, a two-time rushing champion, is not planning to return to the team until he gets a new contract, according to an earlier report from ESPN. Related News “We just know we’re not close,” Garrett said. “The consistency you need with players, with units, throughout practice, young guys, how we communicate, we’re just a long way off. I don’t think it’s unique. Six real practices into training camp, that’s where teams are.“But, the blue-white scrimmage is always a good barometer to see where guys are, how guys handle it. It’s not a game. We understand that. It’s very situational, but you do get a glimpse to check in 10 days into it to see where we are. It’s incumbent on us to clean it up as coaches and get back here the next three days and really take the next step as a football team.” Jason Garrett has not been impressed by the Cowboys so far.Dallas is set to open the preseason against the 49ers on Saturday and Garrett was asked how he felt about his team following its annual Blue-White scrimmage last weekend. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper are both in the final year of their contracts and are reportedly discussing new deals with the team, as well.The Cowboys open the regular season Sept. 8 at home against the Giants. NFL news and notes: Cowboys’ Stephen Jones talks Ezekiel Elliott’s status; 49ers get Jerick McKinnon back Ezekiel Elliott contract: Cowboys star’s no deal-no play ultimatum ‘news to us,’ COO says Robert Quinn injury update: Cowboys defensive end to undergo hand surgery