Black & Gold Endgame | LAFC 3-1 Real Salt Lake 10/4/20

LAFC 3 –  1 REAL SALT LAKE

MLS Regular Season – Game #15

Oct. 4, 2020

 

The Los Angeles Football Club traveled to Utah on Sunday to face Real Salt Lake well aware that they had not won a road game in this truncated 2020 MLS season. In fact, due to the COVID-19 induced break and rescheduling of matches, LAFC had not won a regular season game away from Banc of California Stadium in over a year – last winning on the road on Aug. 17, 2019 in a 2-0 win in Salt Lake City.

Two early first half goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Diego Rossi helped the Black & Gold pull off the 3-1 victory in a sloppy and choppy affair to give them their long awaited first three points as a visiting team in 2020.

“In this crazy season, it is our first road win,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “Sometimes on the road you don’t play as well as you would like, but you find ways to win. I think that is a credit to the players.”

 

FIFTY FOR ROSSI

Diego Rossi scored his league leading 12th goal in the 27th minute on Sunday, finding the net just five minutes after Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring. Rossi continued his dominant form in 2020, and has put his name at the top of all MVP conversations as he looks to be the second LAFC player to win the Golden Boot in a row.

“From the beginning with Diego, he was a player that had a good mentality,” Bradley said. “He’s intelligent and wanted to get better every season and he is working hard.”

Rossi scored on an impressive golazo, shaking his RSL defender before massaging a shot past the sliding Salt Lake goalkeeper.

It was also Rossi’s 50th career goal in all competitions for LAFC. A historic marker for the young Uruguayan attacker who has more than filled the void of the injured Carlos Vela’s scoring touch.

“With Carlos not being here, it puts more responsibility on him and he’s handled that well of late,”  Bradley said.

He certainly has handled the pressure, as he was the leading scorer in the MLS Is Back Tournament in Orlando in July and the Young Player of the Tournament, and has continued his tear across the league.

“His ability to be dangerous and his finishing has really improved,” Bradley said. “Overall, I just think he has matured and you can see it in his mentality.”

That strong play for LAFC led Rossi to be named to Uruguay’s 30-man preliminary roster for the beginning of South American World Cup qualifying. Unfortunately, he was not named to the final roster, and remain in Los Angeles with LAFC while his teammate Brian Rodríguez will play for Uruguay.

“We were very proud of Diego that he was included in the 30-man squad for the first time,” Bradley said about his high-scoring striker. “We’re disappointed for him [that he is not on the final roster], because he has worked so hard and this is something that is important to him.”

Rossi Goal Breakdown:

  • 40 goals in 81 MLS regular season games
  • 6 goals in 7 U.S. Open Cup games
  • 2 goals in MLS Is Back Tournament
  • 1 goal in three MLS Cup Playoff matches
  • 1 goal in 2 Concacaf Champions League games
    • Total: 50 Goals in 95 career MLS matches

 

WEEK OF WORK PAYS OFF

After a shocking, late loss to San Jose on Sept. 27, both Bob Bradley and several of his LAFC players were looking forward to a full week off in between matches. The Club had a brutal stretch of seven games in 25 days and had not had a full week of rest between games in nearly a month.

The Black & Gold took advantage of the down time, putting in some inspired and focused training sessions that were evident vs. Salt Lake.

“We had a really good week of training,” Bradley said. “It was nice to be able to have, and on Thursday the training session was faster and we could really push the tempo.”

Bradley Wright-Phillips also credited the extra practice time for the way the Club performed vs. Salt Lake.

“We had a nice, seven day week with what we wanted to accomplish,” Wright Philips said. “It wasn’t the prettiest but we got three points. We were resilient.”

 

DEPTH TO BE TESTED AS PLAYERS GONE FOR OCTOBER

With Brian Rodríguez, Diego “Chiqui” Palacios and Jose Cifuentes set to leave the Club on Monday to play for Uruguay and Ecuador in the upcoming South American World Cup qualifying matches, LAFC is going to be shorthanded for the near future.

Not to mention, all three players will have to undergo the extensive league testing and quarantine procedures upon returning to the United States, causing them to miss even more games.

Rodriguez is not a stranger to the Uruguay squad and he leaves the Black & Gold after unleashing a beautiful shot for the third LAFC goal in the second half.

“We are going to miss him,” Bradley said about Rodríguez. “He continues to make progress as a player, I was happy to see him get a really important goal tonight. He’s working hard. He is a young player with talent who is sometimes not as consistent as he can be.”

Cifuentes and Palacios have both been starting recent games for LAFC, and their absence will also be felt as they leave for Ecuador.

“We’re still excited when our players get called into their national team,” Bradley said. “For these guys, we hope that they can go and do well and then we’ll get them back in good form and with a lot of confidence.”

With three starters out of the lineup, there were a few hints vs. Real Salt Lake to show how the Black & Gold will provide cover. Jordan Harvey started as a center back next to Eddie Segura. It was the longest extended action of the season for Harvey, and Bradley explained that the Club is going to lean on him now that they are shorthanded.

“Jordan played well tonight,” Bradley said. “He’s played centerback at times, he’s played in some preseason matches and he has adjusted.

It has been a different season for Harvey, as the man who was written in to the LAFC lineup in permanent marker as a left back for the first two seasons has learned to come off the bench.

“His role this season has been different,” Bradley said. “But when the games come quickly now, there has got to be more rotation. I told him we are counting on him in this next stretch and he responded will tonight.”

 

BOB MOVING ON UP

Bob Bradley continues to make history with LAFC. One of the most decorated coaches in American Soccer, Bradley is a three-time MLS Coach of the Year award winner, and is now just two more victories away from another milestone.

The win vs. Real Salt Lake on Sunday was Bradley’s 167th career victory. He is just two wins away from tying former Houston and San Jose coach and current Galaxy assistant coach Dominic Kinnear for third in all-time coaching wins.

Bradley can surpass Kinnear with a third career win this season that will push him into third place all-time, behind just Sigi Schmid (240 wins) and Bruce Arena (215).

 

ALL-TIME COACHING RECORDS

 

W
 

L
 

T
 

PCT
 

Sigi Schmid
 

240
 

183
 

125
 

.552
 

Bruce Arena
 

215
 

127
 

104
 

.599
 

Dominic Kinnear
 

169
 

137
 

135
 

.536
 

Bob Bradley
 

167
 

113
 

75
 

.576
 

 

 

BWP GAINS ANOTHER VICTIM

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored another goal for LAFC, getting the scoring started in the 22nd minute. His open redirection in front of the goal made Real Salt Lake the 21st Major League Soccer team that he has scored against in his career.

Bradley scored his 116th career goal, and needs two more to have his sixth overall MLS season in double-digit goals.

“This was a positive,” Wright-Phillips said. “We can look at it that the football wasn’t pretty, but we still ran out and got a win."

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