Practice makes perfect. Anyone who has played a sport, picked up an instrument, or studied another language is familiar with the phrase. We can debate whether the quality of practice is the actual secret to success, but in the case of Steve Cherundolo’s team in this moment, any practice will do.
“For us, the chance to have some training sessions, work with the group, and give the guys a chance to breathe can help,” Cherundolo said during his Thursday media session. “Judging from training, it looks like it will.”
Fresh off a run of eight matches in 24 days, LAFC finished its third consecutive day of training on Thursday. The team will train once more on Friday before traveling to Dallas for Saturday’s match. It’s the first time Cherundolo’s side has had a full week to prepare for an opponent in more than a month.
“Finally having a week to rest for a second, getting a chance to go back to the video room to look at ways that we can improve. So much of the last couple weeks, last couple of months, have been just as soon as one game is over, you’re moving on to next game,” LAFC defender Ryan Hollingshead said. “You don’t have enough time to really dissect the games of the past. You have to start moving forward to the next game you have ahead of you.
“This has been a time to sit, look back over a handful of games we’ve had in the past, get back to some LAFC DNA, get back to some things that we want to be as a team, and be able to actually focus on that in training.”
It took a while for this much-needed break to arrive, but it will leave in a flash. LAFC is about to play five matches in 15 days, starting with the trip to Dallas – where LAFC has won just once in four matches. Cherundolo is using this eye in the storm to prepare his team for whatever may come its way and to “start the next stretch of games, before a bigger break, on the right foot.”
“Working on things that define us,” he continued. “Things that define our game model. Trying new options, working over plan Bs, plan Cs, emergency plans, things you don’t really have time for when it’s just game after game.”
“Just regular training and learning is good for the group.”
- Hollingshead and teammate Dénis Bouanga were selected for the 2023 MLS All-Star Team. It is the first selection for both players. Ahead of returning to Dallas, where he played eight seasons at FC Dallas, Hollingshead had this to say about his selection:
“It is an honor. It feels great. It’s something that I have been unintentionally working for, you know, like the goal isn’t to be an All-Star - like that’s the purpose to do whatever it takes just to be an All-Star. But the goal is to be the best footballer I can be. And then, hopefully, through that, become an All-Star. I’ve been in this league for a long time, so to get that accolade and to get rewarded with a call up to the All-Star Game is truly exciting and humbling.”
- Mamadou Fall is back in training with LAFC this week after his year-long loan spell with Villarreal in Spain. The defender is unavailable for selection until the open of the MLS secondary transfer window on July 5. Cherundolo had this to say about his return:
“It’s been great having him back. He seemed to have matured a little bit in his time in Spain, on and off the field. It’s a pleasure to have him back. He’s generally a nice person that we like having around here … we expect big things from him when he’s registered and able to play.”
- One year ago today, Giorgio Chiellini was officially introduced as an LAFC player in a press conference at the stadium.