Three polls came out this week that sparked some interest among football fans.
Soccer America, ESPN, and MLSsoccer.com all released MLS power rankings this week. And you've probably already guessed it, LAFC topped all three after winning its second consecutive match to start the 2019 season.
While the polls made the rounds on social media with plenty of "it's too early" fodder to go around, they barely made a ripple at LAFC training this week. And if they did, it was only done in hushed tones. Because I can only guess the reaction from Bob Bradley if he caught anyone from his staff or squad actually taking stock in those polls so early in the season... let alone ever, to be honest.
"There's always things," Bradley said on Wednesday when asked if there was anything to improve on after the 4-1 win over the Timbers last weekend. "Again, there are moments where in transition we can think faster, we can react faster. Certainly, the quality of looking forward and playing the right pass.
"I'll give one example of an area. We had some hard runs where we looked up and had the opportunity to play guys though on the move and in a number of situations the pass was too hard. The timing was good and the movement was good. We talk about seeing the windows going forward, all those things happen, and then, the pass was just too heavy. That's a good thing that we see all the positives and now it's just sharpening up a little bit in all the other areas."
One area that has been perfect thus far for LAFC has been the atmosphere at Banc of California Stadium. Both matches featured loud and energetic crowds that were rewarded with three points on each occasion. And that type of start can't be underestimated. In fact, in the last five seasons, 16 MLS teams have started a season with consecutive wins and 11 of those teams have gone to the playoffs that season - LAFC was one of those teams in its inaugural season in 2018.
But now LAFC's attention turns away from Banc of California Stadium, as they travel for the first time in 2019. They'll take on an NYCFC team still looking for its first victory of the season. It's an away contest, but LAFC might still enough some of its home atmosphere over 3,000 miles from Los Angeles.
"We've got such a connection with our supporters. We, of course, talk about always walking into Banc of California Stadium and the feeling when we look into the stands and the 3252. In a little over a year, we've had great away support," Bradley said. "I think with so many clubs around the world, away supporters are special. The effort that they make to come and make sure that when you're in that visiting stadium you can look to a corner and know you've got people that are there with you every step.
"That is so important, and we appreciate the efforts that our away supporters make."
News & Notes
- Walker Zimmerman has started both of LAFC's matches to date in 2019 and is likely set for a third start in NYC. If he does, it will be his 100th start in the MLS regular season.
- Speaking of teams that have started a season with consecutive victories and subsequent success in reaching the playoffs. LAFC is looking to become the sixth team in six years to start a season with three victories. The previous five sides to accomplish that feat all made the playoffs that season.
- Steven Beitashour took part in some exercises off to the side in training today after skipping yesterday's session. On Wednesday, Bob Bradley said the defender was coming along but is likely to miss the trip to NYCFC.
- LAFC sent four players on loan to Phoenix Rising FC of the USL Championship. Shaft Brewer Jr., Josh Pérez, Tristan Blackmon, and Javi Pérez are currently in Phoenix. LAFC retains the right to recall the players at any time during the season.