The speed at which things change in MLS is remarkable.
As LAFC traveled to Kansas City this time last week, it was mired in a winless run of three matches. The Black & Gold failed to score a single goal during that time. And the players and coaches admitted they’d hit a rough patch.
On Friday, as LAFC trained in preparation to face the Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO Stadium, it sat alone atop the Western Conference for the first time this season. And the Black & Gold enter Saturday’s match on the back of consecutive victories.
As for that rough patch?
After the 1-0 victory over Seattle on Wednesday night, LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said it was a “small step forward to where we want to be.” The results have improved but the football still needs work.
“We need to go back to how we were playing at the beginning of the season,” Dénis Bouanga said through a translator after training. “We need some fresh players. I know we have some injured players. It’s up to us to do the maximum to win.”
Giorgio Chiellini agreed with his teammate, saying they performed well on the defensive side of the ball against a good Sounders team, but LAFC needs to create more. And that’s something within its control.
“At the end [against Seattle], we didn’t create a lot of chances, but because of our mistakes,” Chiellini said. “We have to understand that some passes, especially when we recover the ball and we have space, is really a key of our game. And it could change our game and our season.”
- On Friday, U.S. Soccer announced Gregg Berhalter would return to his post as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. Long, who went to the 2022 World Cup under Berhalter and was named to the USMNT 2023 Gold Cup roster, responded to the appointment. “I know the guys are happy and it’s been a great run so far. I’m just excited that there’s a coach announced again and we can get things rolling.”
- LAFC has a chance to become the quickest team in MLS history to 300 regular season points. The Black & Gold head into Saturday's match sitting on 299 regular season points. A win or tie in any of LAFC’s next five matches will secure the new record.
- We’re less than halfway through the season but LAFC has already done its fair share of travel. Through 25 matches across all competitions in 2023, LAFC has traveled a total of 33,004 miles across four countries going into this weekend’s game.