Training Report

Notes from Training | Matchday 12

LAFC heads to NorCal to face a hungry opponent in a daunting environment

03202024 LAFC training black and white

LAFC’s Saturday afternoon road match against the San Jose Earthquakes carries shades of the Black & Gold’s demanding 2023 season, which saw LAFC play more games across all competitions than any MLS team in history (53).

The Black & Gold is about to play four matches in just 12 days, with three of those on the road. The first will take place Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

It was there, one year ago this week, that an unbeaten LAFC side lost its first game of the 2023 season to San Jose. This year, the Quakes and the surrounding community are expecting a bigger crowd than the 45,112 who saw last year’s 2-1 Quakes win. Levi’s Stadium will open all of its seating in hopes of reaching its capacity of 68,500 for the LAFC match – part of an event-filled day that’s being billed as the biggest Cinco de Mayo party on the West Coast.

When LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo spoke with the media on Thursday, he said that playing in front of a crowd that size is not something the team focuses on, “but once we're in the stadium, yeah, it'll feel like a bigger moment, more fans, bigger arena.”

Despite San Jose’s 1W-8L-1D record and current position at the bottom of the Western Conference, Cherundolo called the Quakes “a very dangerous team and especially the situation they're in. I expect a team who will play with nothing to lose and be quite aggressive and definitely want to win a home game and invest a lot into it, which makes it difficult for us.”

LAFC has won nine of its 16 all-time meetings with San Jose, but owns a record of 2W-5L-0D when playing in the Bay Area. LAFC has lost five straight against the Quakes on the road.

Midfielder Eduard Atuesta, the only remaining member of the last LAFC team to beat San Jose in an away match, back in March 2019, said: “San Jose is always a tough team to play against. Even more there. So we have to focus on our game and try to be good, because if you don’t have a good day against them it can turn into a tough game.”

An LA Rams fan who has been in NFL stadiums before, Atuesta compared Saturday’s anticipated crowd to his experience playing in the Maracaná in Rio de Janeiro, the largest and most iconic stadium in Brazil (capacity 73,000-plus). “It's always special to play in stadiums this big. I hope people come and fill it up.”

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris added: “We know that it is going to be a difficult place to deal with. Obviously, with a full crowd, you know, in a different stadium … Probably a lot of [LAFC] fans will travel, so we want to make them pleased.”

Lloris played for more than a decade with Tottenham, the storied English Premier League club whose new stadium hosts NFL games each year thanks to a retractable soccer pitch (the first of its kind in the world) with a synthetic “American football” field beneath it. Lloris was away from London each time Tottenham welcomed the NFL to town, “but I played a friendly game a few years ago in Nashville,” he said. “I think we played against Man City in preseason with Spurs. It was in an NFL stadium, and obviously those stadiums are wider, more open. It's a different feeling, but a good one as well.”

Speaking of the NFL, Cherundolo, who was raised in San Diego, was asked if he was a Chargers fan as a kid. He replied: “Not really, especially after they moved [from San Diego to L.A.]. That was it for me. As a kid, I was more of a Bears fan, to be honest with you, since I was born in Rockford [Illinois].”


Following Saturday’s match, LAFC will return to L.A. briefly before heading to Las Vegas for next Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup match against the Las Vegas Lights (Wed. May 8, 7:30 p.m. PT, streaming on, and Lloris, who had only played for clubs in France or England before signing with LAFC last December, chuckled with anticipation when he was asked if he’s ever been to Vegas. “Never,” he said.


LAFC (4W-3L-3D, 15 points) currently stands in fifth place in the Western Conference, but is just three points out of first. LAFC’s three losses have all come on the road to opponents near the top of the table: Real Salt Lake (first in the West), Minnesota (4th), and Colorado (6th). Each of those teams will play at BMO Stadium later this year.


It was announced this week that former LAFC defender, international football icon, and current LAFC player development coach Giorgio Chiellini will join FOX Sports’ network broadcast team this summer as a studio analyst during its UEFA EURO 2024 coverage in June and July.

LAFC returns to action on Saturday, May 4, with a road match against the San Jose Earthquakes. The match is scheduled for 4:30pm PT and can be seen for free on Apple TV – MLS Season Pass with additional radio coverage on 710 AM ESPN, ESPN LA App, and KFWB 980 AM La Mera Mera (Español).

2024 Season Membership

2024 Season Membership

Secure your spot in our priority line for the 2024 season.

Place a deposit today!

Receive The Latest LAFC Developments

Receive The Latest LAFC Developments

Including special invitations and offers, Academy updates, and opportunities to get involved in the community.