Los Angeles FC: The difficult second single

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 4: Members of Los Angeles FC celebrate a goal by Diego Rossi
SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 4: Members of Los Angeles FC celebrate a goal by Diego Rossi /

Los Angeles FC enjoyed an unlikely opening week victory against the Seattle Sounders. But now the hard work starts. Here comes the difficult second single: A trip to Real Salt Lake.

Being new can be easy. The natural adrenaline. The surge of hope and anticipation. Winning when you have the natural positivity, panache and unpredictability of being new, while is not necessarily easy, can often lead to a smoother road.

It is not the new that can cause the upset. Often, it is the difficult second single that prompt such friction. The follow-up to the jubilation. The sequel to the sensation. That is where Los Angeles FC find themselves this Saturday afternoon.

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It was a remarkable first week in Major League Soccer for LAFC. They travelled to the mighty Seattle Sounders, perhaps the perfect representation of what an expansion side should be, hoping for an unlikely victory. They got exactly what they were hoping for, although there were some nervy periods in the latter half during which Sounders impressed themselves on their rookie visitors.

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The win came thanks to the wicked whip of Diego Rossi’s right foot. It was a lovely strike. After striding onto Carlos Vela’s seductively slid, reverse pass, without having to even stutter, Rossi swashed his foot through the ball, curling it around the stretched efforts of Stefan Frei, seeing the ball nestle into the far corner of the goal, sitting in the bulge of the net, blushing at the beauty of the way in which it had just been struck.

But it was clear that LAFC were surfing on the wave of the new. Their play fizzed, the energy surged through the team, Seattle were overawed by their spritely, vivacious visitors. That will not be the case, necessarily, at least, when they travel to Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

This is not an easy fixture. Salt Lake may have toiled to a 1-1 draw on the opening week, but they ended last season with five home wins in succession, outscoring their opponents 14 -3 in those games. This is no cake-walk for LAFC.

The season is long and arduous. It has its twists and its turns; its celebrations and its condolences. But in Bob Bradley, LAFC have a manager who uniquely understands that. He knows this league well. He knows how to win; he knows how to deal with the inevitable losses. There is a long way to go.

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I’ll give the last word to Steven Beitashour: “You got to be able to handle your business and move on to the next week. Because it’s a grind. It’s 34 weeks with constant emotions going up and down. You can’t get too high, you can’t get too low.” For LAFC, they have enjoyed the highs. Now, it’s time to avoid the lows.