The numbers on the LAFC training pitch were a bit on the lighter side to start this week, as the Club sent six players out on international duty – tops in MLS along with reigning MLS Cup champions Toronto FC. Nevertheless, Bob Bradley remained focused on the squad at hand.
“International breaks are what they are,” Bradley said following Tuesday’s training session. “On the club side, it’s not ideal. So, what you try to do then is break training down in different ways.”
Having been on both sides of the equation from his numerous club stops to his time with the U.S. and Egyptian National Teams, Bradley noted the smaller squad at training gave the coaching staff a chance to spend a bit more time with individual players this week.
With the goal continuing to be improvement on the core ideas he’s set forth from the start of preseason, Bradley was confident the players away on international duty would make a seamless return to the squad before LAFC face the Galaxy on March 31.
“When we talk about our football ideas, we’re not pulling something new out. The ideas that get established early in the year just need to be addressed and worked on,” Bradley said. “One of the things that is a challenge for anybody that is playing on a national team is being able to switch gears quickly. You go from a club environment to your national team and you need to transition well. Then obviously on the back end, regardless of what happens with the national team, the ability to come back to your club and jump right back into things is something that becomes really important.”
Despite the disruption caused early in the season by the international break, Bradley believes the call-ups are important for the Club going forward.
“We’re excited that we have guys that are in the mix with our national teams,” Bradley said. “The early part of the season for us, the level of training every day, and now two games has helped all of them go into their national team camps in a good way. We want to be a Club that challenges players in the right ways. We want to be a Club where guys feel they are getting better. And one of the things that highlights that getting opportunities with your national team.”
News & Notes
- Walker Zimmerman was back in full training after missing LAFC’s first two matches due to injury. Zimmerman is on target to be ready for the Galaxy match on March 31.
- New signing Shaft Brewer Jr. is also away from training this week. The winger was called into Tab Ramos’ U.S. U-20 National Team for friendlies against France and Atletico Madrid’s U-21 side.
- March 21 is the 20th anniversary of Chicago Fire’s first MLS match. Bradley took a moment to remember the 2-0 victory over the Miami Fusion back in 1998: “All of us that were part of that first team in Chicago, we all stay in touch. So many guys are still involved in the league at different levels. I think all of us feel like we had something special. The first game, we were still in the building stage. It was good to win that first game, but we certainly knew there was work to be done. But as time went on, things came together in a really good way.”