Back in training after defeating USL side Sacramento Republic FC in its final preseason match, LAFC has come a long way since the start of training camp. But with the Club’s historic opening match now just days away, Bob Bradley knows the focus has to remain on what brought LAFC together in the first place.
“From the beginning, LAFC set out to be a Club that connected with the heart of LA. That understood the diversity of the city. And made sure that we could be a team that people could look at, be a part of, and feel proud,” Bradley said following training. “Everyone that has been a part of LAFC from the beginning, has done an incredible job of building momentum. We’ve got to take that on the field.”
Lining up opposite LAFC on Sunday will be the Seattle Sounders. Nine years removed from its MLS debut, the Sounders come into the match as the reigning Western Conference champions. With the quality of opponent and fanfare surrounding the Club’s first competitive match, Bradley's squad will have to manage their emotions once they take the pitch.
“We’re confident in going after it the right way. That includes intelligence. That doesn’t mean that you just start running around and running forward in ways that leave the team wide open. You have to still adjust to what happens when the game starts. You want to have the ball, but if it happens that the other team has the ball more, then you have to defend. But those aren’ things that you just put on the screen before the first game. Those things get built in as you work through preseason, as you work through training.
“When all is said and done, it’s the first game of the season. Both teams are going to put 11 on the field. The ref is going to blow the whistle and it’s going to be a chance to show, for the first time, everybody a little bit of LAFC wants to be.”
News & Notes
- Center backs Laurent Ciman and Walker Zimmerman were in full training on Wednesday. Zimmerman missed the Sacramento match with tightness, while Ciman had missed LAFC’s last three preseason matches. With Ciman back in full training, Bradley said he hoped to have him available against the Sounders.
- Also back in training was Carlos Vela. Vela was removed as a precaution late in the second half against Sacramento. In a conference call on Tuesday, Bradley said Vela should be fine and would be able to play in the team’s first match of the season. Vela didn’t look any worse for wear during LAFC’s training on Wednesday.
- Omar Gaber was with the team at training but did not participate in all activities. During the conference call, Bradley noted the importance of reintegrating players properly back into the squad after an extended period away. He reiterated that on Wednesday after training.
- Speaking on new LAFC signing Eduard Atuesta, Bradley said he was really excited to work with the midfielder when he arrives, calling him a “skillful midfielder and good passer.” The Colombian is expected to join the Club sometime next week.