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In short week training, LAFC looks to solidify team identity

It’s a short training week for LAFC, the team will attempt to rebound from its roughest loss of the season. For head coach Bob Bradley, it’s a matter of focusing on establishing a team mentality. His club’s season record is leveled after four games, falling to 2-2-0 after an explosive start to the season against Seattle and Salt Lake City. Now that the glitter of the season’s start has worn out, it’s time for LAFC to dig in and begin to develop its style of play.

“We’re building a team,” Bradley said. “In all our games, I’ve seen good things. In all our games, I’ve seen things that must get better. As you’re building a team, as you’re developing a style of play, as you are establishing a mentality, these things come through different kinds of games.”

LAFC has set the tone for a style of play that’s aggressive on attack and explosive on counters, applying pressure at every level of the field. At its best, this style paid off in dividends — a 5-0 route against Real Salt Lake and early goals scored in the opening minutes of games against the Sounders and the Galaxy. 

But that aggressiveness was a flaw in the team’s armor at other times, opening the possibility for sloppy, rushed plays and leaving the midfield vulnerable to attack when it overshifted on offense. Nowhere was this more true than in the devastating 5-0 loss to Atlanta last Saturday, the first game in which LAFC failed to score a goal so far this season.

“We weren’t good enough on the day in the attacking part of the field,” Bradley said. “Some of our timing, ideas, those things need to be sharper. As we pushed, they were able to take advantage again.”

Now, his team is looking to balance the positive and negative aspects of this tempo of attack. Although the last two games stymied the team’s momentum, he still believes it’s been a quality start to the season. From here, however, LAFC must turn the tide as it continues to face grueling road games, beginning with a match in Vancouver this Friday.

“In four games, I think we’ve seen enough good things to know we’re going in an excellent direction,” Bradley said. “Think we’ve seen enough things that still need work. Four games, all away, six points. Not totally satisfied by any means. But as a start, enough there that reinforces what we do every day.”

Injury updates

  • After suffering a knee sprain in a game with the Egyptian national team two weeks ago, Omar Gaber returned to full training this week. Bradley welcomed the news, saying that his return was a good sign for “a talent player that is going to make a difference for our team.”
  • Centerback Walker Zimmerman is officially cemented as a starter at his position, alongside captain Laurent Ciman after the Atlanta match. Zimmerman made his debut last week after suffering an injury hours before kickoff for the season opener. 

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