Training Report

Notes from Training | Matchday 9

LAFC departs for Portland on Friday in search of its first road win of 2024

LAFC training Cherundolo 04112024

With seven matches in the books and 27 remaining on its MLS regular-season schedule, LAFC took part in an active training session on Thursday morning, with players placing their derby win over the Galaxy behind them and looking ahead to Portland, where the Black & Gold hopes to earn its first road points of 2024.

“Training [this week] has been solid,” head coach Steve Cherundolo said during his post-practice session with the media. “I think the mentality of the group is, ‘Stop the roller coaster effect on our results,’ to try to get some stability in our results, more importantly away from home. So that has determined the focus of the week really, and the players have reacted positively to that. And I'm looking forward to an intense, in-conference match. It is always tough in Portland.”

The Timbers’ season so far – like LAFC’s – has contained peaks and valleys with a strong start to the season scuppered by three straight losses before stemming the bleeding in their most recent match.

Their draw last weekend in Kansas City revealed pluses and minuses. The Timbers fell behind 3-0 in the first half, then struck for three goals in a 17-minute span in the second 45 to earn a point on the road.


Former Timbers play-by-play man Jake Zivin (who called last weekend’s LAFC-Galaxy match for Apple TV) said this week on the Talk Timbers podcast: “This is a different LAFC team. … This isn’t the Bob Bradley LAFC team that wanted to have 60 percent possession and wanted to play gorgeous football, or what is the cliché of beautiful football … They’re not doing that anymore. They are conceding the ball – and this shifted toward the end of last year and it brought them to MLS Cup.

“Denis Bouanga is best when he has space behind,” Zivin continued. “How do you get a player like that in space behind, who is the best in the league in those situations, literally, no hyperbole. You sit back a little bit and you try to hit on a counter. It’s something that the Timbers did so well for years, when it played to their strengths.”

Zivin concluded: “It’s a good time to get LAFC right now. I’d rather play LAFC in April than LAFC in September because I think the roster is going to look a lot different then.”


Timbers goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau started the last two MLS Cup finals for LAFC and was instrumental in helping the Black & Gold reach those heights. When Crépeau became a free agent over the winter, he departed LAFC for Portland, but the locker room he left behind still holds deep respect for him. 

“We’ll make sure to find each other before or after the game, maybe both,” said LAFC defender Ryan Hollingshead. “He's just one of the best in the business, you know. He's a guy that gave everything for this club. He's one of my close friends. I really enjoy him and his family. It's football man. It's so hard that you make these friendships and these relationships and then you move on and you go play for another club and – it's part of the job.

“But the other side of it too is as competitors the best way to honor and respect him and his legacy in the game, and same for me, is for him to shut me down and me to try to go score a goal.”

Crépeau, 29, has started five of Portland’s seven matches this season. He has yet to record a clean sheet as a member of the Timbers. He put up 15 clean sheets in his season-and-a-half as LAFC’s starting keeper.


LAFC forward Kei Kamara, who signed with the Black & Gold two weeks ago, stands one goal behind Landon Donovan on the all-time MLS goal-scoring list. Born in Sierra Leone, Kamara moved to Los Angeles as a teen and attended Leuzinger High School and Cal State Dominguez Hills. Asked about the possibility that he might pass Donovan (a Galaxy legend who scored 145 MLS goals) while wearing an LAFC shirt, Kamara (144 goals) said, “What will be special if it does happen here is, it's home. My mom is close by, my friends, everybody that I grew up with. Wearing these colors, yes, definitely, who doesn't want to make history as part of a big club like this? If it does happen here and when it does happen here, it's going to be something I can celebrate.”


  • LAFC and Portland, separated by just two points in the Western Conference standings, will square off twice over the next two weeks. After Saturday’s match in Portland, LAFC will return home to face Supporters’ Shield leaders New York Red Bulls on April 20 before welcoming the Timbers to BMO Stadium on April 27.
  • Portland has scored 14 goals this season and allowed 14 goals. No team in the Western Conference has scored more or conceded more.
  • With 96 all-time victories in MLS play, LAFC stands just four wins shy of 100. LAFC has a chance to reach the century mark in fewer games than any MLS club in the post-shootout era (2000-present). From 1996 to 1999, MLS games that were tied after 90 minutes were decided by shootouts, which allowed teams more opportunities to win.
  • Hollingshead is two goals away from reaching 30 regular-season tallies in his MLS career.
  • Midfielder Eduard Atuesta made the 102nd regular-season appearance of his MLS career Saturday against the Galaxy. He is now tied for fourth (with Diego Palacios and Jose Cifuentes) in all-time appearances for LAFC.

LAFC returns to action on Saturday, April 13, with an away match against the Portland Timbers. Kickoff is set for 1:45 p.m. PT.  Fans can watch the match for free on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, FOX and FOX Deportes. Radio coverage will be available on 710 AM ESPN LA, the ESPN LA app, 980 AM La Mera Mera (Spanish) and Sirius XM FC.

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