Training Report

Notes from Training | Matchday 14

LAFC seeks to extend its four-match winning streak in all competitions through a weekend visit to Atlanta 

04032024 LAFC training Bouanga blur

“The team is in a good way, we’re winning games, scoring goals and not conceding and we'd like to continue that,” LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said after Thursday morning’s training session under overcast skies at the LAFC Performance Center. “But we understand that it's a very different game in Atlanta against a good team, a team with different qualities and a different way of playing than the teams we’ve played recently.”

Ahead of LAFC’s longest trip of the season to this point, and the second-longest on its 2024 schedule (the away match in Orlando on June 15 will cover more miles), Cherundolo’s team has strung together four straight victories – two in MLS play and two in the U.S. Open Cup tournament, two at home and two on the road.

Those four scorelines have been 3-1, 3-0, 2-0, and 3-0 – the only blemish on that impressive 11-1 aggregate coming on a 56th-minute corner kick header by Las Vegas more than two weeks ago (May 8).

LAFC’s attack, meanwhile, has built a highlight reel of team goals, with ten of the 11 during its current run coming through a teammate’s assist (the exception being Denis Bouanga’s steal-and-score tally in added time in St. Louis).

Bouanga and LAFC’s other winger, Cristian Olivera, are both riding a scorching run of good form. Olivera has scored six goals in LAFC’s last five games across all competitions. Bouanga—the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner and MVP runner-up—has recorded five goals and five assists in LAFC’s last seven games across all competitions.

Cherundolo credits his team’s return to basics. “To be effective, you need to play simple, follow the rules, stay tactically disciplined, stay within our means,” he said. “And I think that is a very important message to the players, especially when things are going well, not to let your guard down and think you can make one step less or not do things in the proper way. We're very adamant about that.”


Three weeks ago LAFC was wrapping up an unbeaten April ahead of its May 4 visit to San Jose to face an Earthquakes team at the bottom of the Western Conference table. The Black & Gold’s unexpected 3-1 loss “was a very heavy defeat,” defender Omar Campos said on Thursday. “There were three goals [conceded]. That's where I think things changed.”

Mateusz Bogusz, who has jumped from midfielder to center forward and back this year, said of the San Jose aftermath: “We had conversations inside [the team] and we saw our mistakes and we said, ‘It's time to correct [them], be more focused on set pieces, don't lose easy goals.’ That's what we were doing. So, I think we're just more focused on the small details. This works.”

Added Cherundolo: “There were opportunities to score the simple goals, and our finishing, our focus and concentration in the final third just wasn't quite there. A lot of our attacks didn't end with either a quality decision or execution of that decision. I think [recently] you're just seeing plays being finished. The road map to get there between the boxes is always the same, and that's been consistent all season long. But I think the final product has improved a little bit.”

Regarding the other end of the field, Campos said: “Defensively we are very good. We have gone three games without conceding a goal and I feel that this reflects what we are working on every day in each training session … The positive mentality is everywhere.”

“We were very good the last three games,” Bogusz said. “I think we played very nice football, and we want to show that in Atlanta.”


Like LAFC, Atlanta United is coming off a Tuesday night U.S. Open Cup match. Like LAFC, Atlanta advanced to the Open Cup’s Quarterfinal Round, squeaking past USL Championship side Charleston Battery on penalty kicks after a 0-0 full-time draw and 30 minutes of extra time.

Atlanta played several young players during that Cup match to give the team’s first-choice starters a break following back-to-back weeks of two games each. The club is currently on an eight-game winless streak in MLS play (0W-4L-4D) and sits in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.

At the Five Stripes’ media availability on Thursday, head coach Gonzalo Pineda said that star striker Giorgos Giakoumakis will likely miss the LAFC match due to a lower body injury. Playmaking midfielder and 2023 MVP finalist Thiago Almada has also missed time with a leg issue, but was at practice on Thursday.


There are about 700 active players in Major League Soccer. Only 21 of those 700 have played every minute of every MLS match their teams’ have contested this season. Fourteen of those 21 iron men are goalies (including LAFC’s Hugo Lloris). Most of the rest are defenders. (LAFC will meet one of them this weekend, Atlanta mainstay Brooks Lennon.)

Only one of the seven non-goalies to play every MLS minute this season has scored more than two goals on the year. He’s also the only one who plays forward. That player, of course, is LAFC’s Denis Bouanga.

Defender Sergi Palencia gets asked about Bouanga often because they played together at French Ligue 1 club St. Etienne before coming to LA. “He’s a person who loves what he does, he loves to play, loves to compete,” Palencia said of the attacker who has amassed eight goals and seven assists across all competitions this year. “He’ll play 90 minutes on Saturday, and on Sunday he’ll be annoyed because he’s not training.”

“I like to play football,” Bouanga said after scoring both goals in LAFC’s 2-0 win in St. Louis last week. “I like to attack the spaces and when I have the opportunity to score or to make a good pass, I do it.”


It was announced on Thursday that LAFC will host New Mexico United of the United Soccer League Championship (USLC, Division II) in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on July 10 at BMO Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. PT.

U.S. Soccer and Apple announced that the final three rounds of this year's Open Cup will be available to stream live for free on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. Bogusz, for one, considers it must-watch television. “Every game, we take the same. We want to win every game. It doesn't matter if it's a cup, or league— especially the cup, we can win the trophy, which is very important. So we take it very, very serious.”

LAFC will face Atlanta United on Saturday, May 25, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, at 4:30 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, the ESPN LA App, and KFWB 980 AM La Mera Mera (Español).

2025 Season Membership

2025 Season Membership

Secure tickets to see Giroud and LAFC for the 2025 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.