Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

The first phase of the Major League Soccer restart hasn’t gone as smoothly as Los Angeles Football Club would have liked, but Sunday night is another chance to turn things around.

LAFC has lost four of its past five games heading into this game against Portland (8 p.m., KRCA). In the past two, LAFC has been held scoreless, while allowing six goals – not the way Bob Bradley or anyone associated with LAFC would have envisioned things going.

“Portland is always a tough opponent,” Bradley said. “Everybody in the league right now is facing the challenges of short turnarounds, one-day travel, but it doesn’t change, when you get to play at home, the excitement and making sure everybody is ready to go and that’s been the focus the last two days.”

In its only win so far during the restart, LAFC scored five goals against San Jose. In both shutout losses – to the Galaxy and Real Salt Lake – there were chances created, but that’s about the only positive gained.

“I don’t think we’re worried about goals too much,” forward Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “The last two games we’ve been shut out, but the game before that we scored five. The talent around the squad, attacking-wise, is very good and I’m not trying to bring any negative energy around the team talking about finishing. We just have to get back to winning ways.”

LAFC and the Timbers met July 23 at the MLS is Back Tournament and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

“Overall, we’ve created a lot of chances,” Bradley said. “In the last stretch, we’ve not been as sharp as we needed to be. Certainly if you look back at the Galaxy, even (Real) Salt Lake, some really good opportunities …all of our attackers have dropped in their form right now.

“Diego (Rossi) has still been our best player this year, no doubt about it. His commitment and leadership has really developed in a way that we’re really proud, but he’s had some moments where in the last few games, he hasn’t taken certain chances whether he should cut across a guy, whether he should just go down and run with the ball … I want to be clear, the standards for Diego are high and he’s still be our best player, no two ways about it.”

Bradley added he needs to get Wright-Phillips and Brian Rodriguez on track.

“Brad (Wright-Phillips) in the last stretch, his sharpness has dropped a little bit and he’s talked about it, we just have to get him going again,” Bradley said. “Everyone knows that Brian, since we’ve returned, has not been in good form …with everything going on, I’ve told him over and over, he’s a good guy, we think he’s talented and we have to help him clear things up. There’s still too many times on the field where he’s trying to go so fast, that the connection between his ideas and his feet aren’t where they should be. So, we’re just trying to show confidence in him and see if we can help him through a rough period.”

Portland at LAFC

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Banc of California Stadium



By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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