Carlos Vela And Bastien Schweinsteiger Together At Banc 190504 IMG

5 Takeaways | LAFC Can't Figure Out Fire In 0-0 Draw

There really wasn't that much to say.

No goals to dissect. A few big moments worth talking about but nothing decisive in the 0-0 draw. On his way out of what was the shortest press conference following a home match in Club history, Bob Bradley apologized.

"Next time, I'll try to have better answers for you guys," Bradley said.

To be fair, a scoreless draw doesn't exactly elicit the most thought-provoking questions from writers after the match - myself included. It's really just a series of the same thing over and over. And I bet you can guess it because if you were watching tonight you were thinking the same thing: Why didn't you score?

In no way are my takeaways the source of the definitive answers to that type of question, but maybe we can come close. Let's take a look at the 0-0 draw between LAFC and the Chicago Fire:

Everything But The Goal In The First Half

LAFC's first 45 minutes on the night had all the hallmarks of a really good performance. With Chicago sitting deep, LAFC was finding pockets of space in dangerous areas and moving the ball quickly around the pitch.

The midfield three of Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta, and Latif Blessing were sharp in their rotations and the team as a whole was quick to react and win the ball back. The result was a Fire team that looked near the breaking point on multiple occasions. 

At the interval, LAFC had the stats pointing towards a breakthrough - 10 shots to just two from Chicago, 65 percent possession, a 31 to 21 advantage in duels, and 120 final-third passes to Chicago's 27. LAFC was rampant everywhere but the scoreline.

A Blueprint Is Forming Around The League

Chicago adopted a blueprint that a few other sides have hoped to perfect against LAFC.

To date, only Vancouver has gotten the full three points from the scheme, but FC Cincinnati and Real Salt Lake both tried with nothing to show. 

The basic blueprint is this: men behind the ball, double and sometimes triple Carlos Vela when he gets on the ball, and look to be direct on the counter. 

The plan isn't perfect by any means. It simply gives teams a slightly better chance at not being ripped apart by LAFC - it's not necessarily about winning as much as it is about not getting beaten.

Chicago at times employed a 4-6-0 shape with Nemanja Nikolic dropping into midfield for long periods in the match. The only real thrust they had going forward was the result of LAFC giveaways. In the first half, when LAFC was reacting to turnovers and getting close enough to the Fire to win the ball back quickly, the Fire looked like they weren't going to be able to hold much longer.

Luckily for them, the interval arrived in the nick of time and LAFC wasn't able to convert on the numerous chances created through 45 minutes.

Steady Eddie

With more teams content to put men behind the ball and look to frustrate LAFC, Eddie Segura becomes so much more important.

You wouldn't think a defender would be pivotal when a team needs a goal, but with the way LAFC plays, Segura is asked to balance a lot in those matches. Against Chicago, he was fantastic.

As Chicago sat back, Segura gave his center back partner Walker Zimmerman license to step up into the midfield. Zimmerman's passing ability from the back takes some of the burden off of the midfield. But it also leaves LAFC susceptible in moments. 

With Segura back there, Zimmerman can be confident he's covered. The Colombian was nearly flawless in his ability to slide over and snuff out danger when Chicago tried to break quickly. Segura is strong in aerial duels but also so smart with his angles. He cut out pass after pass and cycled possession back to teammates to put the Fire right back under pressure. 

That ability to defend 1v1 with space in behind is vital as a springboard for the rest of the side going forward.

It Only Takes One

At the final whistle, the score was 0-0. So you can say I'm just speculating, but numerous players said the same thing: had LAFC gotten one, they probably would have gotten three or four goals.

That's the thing about the way teams are dropping numbers behind the ball. It's exhausting trying to keep your shape and not having the ball for long periods. LAFC's attack is a machine that just wears on you to the point where you break. And usually, when teams break, LAFC don't stop.

There were a number of chances in both halves that LAFC could have found a breakthrough. But the bounces just weren't going their way. Like with the Seattle match last week, I'd be more concerned if there weren't legitimate advantages being created - LAFC had a shot blocked on the goal line by their own player, trust me these were real chances.

I don't love it. And it's not great. But it's also not the most horrible thing either. That's just the way it goes sometimes, even when you have the best attack in the league.

Real Recognizes Real

Bit of a cool moment I caught as the players were leaving the field.

Before he made his way to the tunnel after the match, Bastien Schweinsteiger saluted the North End and the 3252 as he jogged off.

The former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder and World Cup winner knows a thing or two about great supporters. 

It was a classy moment from a classy player.

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