Thanks to a pair of goals from Marco Ureña, LAFC finished its first preseason friendly in Club history level at 2-2 with reigning MLS Cup champions Toronto FC. After two weeks of training, the match was coach Bob Bradley’s first chance to see his squad in competition with another MLS side.
Here are five takeaways from the preseason friendly:
Joao Looking Comfortable
The first SuperDraft pick in LAFC history, Joao Moutinho already looks comfortable at the next level.
Playing left back in the second half, Moutinho was assertive and confident on the ball. He expertly slotted in Ureña for the first LAFC goal. And his runs off Diego Rossi in the attacking third caused problems across Toronto’s backline.
Defensively, Moutinho didn’t put a wrong foot forward and did well to clamp down TFC’s right side during his 45 minutes on the pitch.
Marco Leading The Line
With Carlos Vela going 90 minutes for Mexico in midweek, Ureña was given the task of leading the LAFC attack in the first preseason match.
Leading the line from the center of the pitch, Ureña bagged his brace and was unlucky not to have a third. His link-up play with his other two attackers, especially Diego Rossi, led to numerous scoring chances.
Rossi’s Speed With The Ball
Starting the second half on the left side of Bradley’s front three, Designated Player Diego Rossi showcased exactly why LAFC was so adamant in bringing the young attacker over from Peñarol in Uruguay.
Rossi ran at defenders with a purpose, rarely losing possession. In addition to his 1v1 skills, his ability to collect passes in tight spaces, at high speed, was impressive and went a long ways to unlocking the Toronto defense.
Walker & Ciman Make An Imposing Pair
The center back pairing of Walker Zimmerman and Laurent Ciman will scare opposing attackers.
The size and athletic ability of both center backs was on display in the friendly. The two rarely looked out of place, cutting out many of Toronto’s forays into the LAFC attacking half, and most importantly for Bradley, they were quick and tidy when distributing the ball out of the back.
Work In Progress
After the match, Bradley was content with his squad’s result as a work in progress, saying the team was “still sometimes hit or miss.” But the coach admitted it was to be expected after only two weeks together.
That being said, Bradley was happy his squad played to the level of the MLS Cup champs at times in the match and was confident that by the season’s first game he’ll have the right team in place to “get it going.”
First Half Lineup: Quillan Roberts*; Jordan Harvey, Dejan Jakovic, Jordan Jones, Tristan Blackmon; Maurice Edu*, Bryan de la Fuente*, Calum Mallace; Shaft Brewer*, Rodrigo Pacheco, Aaron Kovar
Second Half Lineup: Tyler Miller; Joao Moutinho, Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour; Nicolas Czomomaz*, Pol Calvet Planellas, Benny Feilhaber; Diego Rossi, Marco Ureña, Latif Blessing
* - LAFC Training Camp Invitee not currently signed by the Club.