Adama Diomande scored on a blast in the fourth minute of extra time on Sunday as host LAFC pulled out a last-second 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City in the MLS opener for both teams.
The matchup between two of the Western Conference's top teams from a year ago proved to be worthy of a nationally televised conclusion to the opening weekend of the MLS schedule.
Sporting KC appeared to have energy throughout, even though they were coming off a 2-0 victory Thursday in a CONCACAF Champions League game at Toluca, Mexico. Sporting KC used the same starting lineup as it did Thursday in the game that was played at a nearly 9,000-foot altitude.
The teams seemed destined for a tie, but the turning point came in the 84th minute when Sporting KC was left with 10 players after losing midfielder Roger Espinoza to a red card in the 84th minute because of a reckless tackle.
Sporting KC made scored early, getting a goal in the 16th minute from Krisztian Nemeth, his first of the season and 13th of his MLS career.
LAFC was able to tie the score 1-1 when Diego Rossi delivered in the 47th minute. Rossi took a long pass from Eduard Atuesta just outside the penalty area, worked his way past defender Graham Zusi and fired his shot past Melia.
Rossi, who had 12 goals last season, was a key component of an expansion-team offense that delivered 68 goals in 2018, second MLS to Atlanta United's 70.
After already playing Toluca twice in seven days, then opening its MLS schedule, Sporting KC's busy stretch continues Wednesday at Panama with a CONCACAF Champions League match against CA Independiente de la Chorrera.