LAFC dropped its fifth match of the preseason schedule on Saturday, falling 3-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Banc of California stadium. After falling behind 2-0 at the half, head coach Bob Bradley made adjustments to the lineup and his team’s approach, but was unable to overcome the high-energy San Jose attack.
“It’s an important day for us,” Bradley said. “It’s a real good reminder of the fact that different teams in the league have different ideas of how to play. When you come up against a team that is very committed, you have to be able to match them. Today they were better at playing their way than we were at ours.”
San Jose opened scoring in the 14th minute when a ball from Magnus Eriksson deflected at the top of the box and ricocheted into the net. The Quakes doubled the score 15 minutes later when Chris Wondolowski slipped by the backline and netted a simple shot. Vako Qazaishvili knocked in a low cross in the final five minutes of play to stretch the lead to 3-0.
“We’re not necessarily frustrated, but it was an interesting game to play against the style they provide,” Ramirez said. “When we did figure it out, the field was wide open. We just didn’t quite have that final pass or play to finish.”
San Jose didn’t outplay LAFC in set plays or when it was settled into its attacking half of the field, and the teams were practically even offensively, taking 11 shots each. LAFC placed five of those shots on goal, forcing San Jose goalkeeper Daniel Vega to make five saves. But the Quakes thrived in transition, using any aggression by LAFC to counter. Each of the three scoring drives by San Jose came from a situation in which the team had pushed up on offense, only to lose the ball and leave the defense stranded high on the field.
Veteran keeper Tyler Miller started the game in goal, but after allowing to scores in the first half, Bradley gave newcomer Pablo Sisniega a chance in goal. Neither fared well against the San Jose transitional attack, creating zero saves between the two keepers.
“I think generally we were better in the second half,” Bradley said. “In the first half, when they had a lot of energy, we still found certain spots. We’ve gotta deal with their transition… I don’t think we handled some of that well.”
LAFC will play one final preseason game at its home stadium next week on February 23 against Vancouver. The game will kick off at 5:30 p.m., marking the final game before the team’s second regular season begins.