Los Angeles FC: Why they might just be for real

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 /

The talk of the town very much centres on the remarkable opening to the season from Los Angeles FC. But are Bob Bradley’s band of adventurers actually for real? Here’s why I think they might just be.

The MLS season is two weeks old. Meaningful conclusions don’t exist when they conclude nine-month-long events after just two weeks. I guess, in reality, that is the beauty of sport. We are so often drawn into making long-term knowledge statements based on short-term evidence. The two don’t go hand-in-hand, but we just can’t resist. And so, like any fickle journalist and supporter, I am set to do the very same with Los Angeles FC.

The short-term, long-term dichotomy is even greater in this instance. Not only is LAFC’s season only two weeks old, but their club, at least in terms of meaningful on-pitch kicks of the football, is two weeks. And it is in their youth and naivety that the uncertainty, unpredictability and excitement reign. The question on everybody’s lips is a simple but difficult one: Are LAFC for real?

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Their opening day win at the Seattle Sounders was surprising. Triumphing over perhaps the greatest example of any expansion team at CenturyLink Field, arguably the toughest stadium to travel to and win in MLS, is a remarkable achievement. And they deserved it. While in the second half Seattle pressed them deep and did carve out openings, it was a blistering attacking performance in the first half that gave LAFC the advantage that they then protected, bravely.

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And that attacking sharpness is something that runs through this team. They may have only scored the once against the Sounders in Week 1, but they created far more opportunities. In Week 2, another away trip to Real Salt Lake, a clinical edge joined their creativity for a searing display of a quick, fizzing, ruthless football, carving open their hosts in a thumping 5-1 win. In the attempts of proving oneself, this, for me, is why LAFC might just be the real deal.

Football is a game of goals — I am aware how simple and somewhat stupid that makes me sound. Scoring them is the most difficult task on a football pitch. It is why the attackers are the most prized possessions in any team and on any transfer market. Scoring goals is something that this LAFC team can do with relative ease.

They can also do it without committing an inordinate number of players into advanced positions, exposing their defensive line. The front four attackers of Diego Rossi, the league’s top goal-scorer, Latif Blessing, a frighteningly fast winger who has prior experience of MLS, Marco Urena, a clever, wily striker who has played in Europe and at the international level, and finally Carlos Vela, the face of the franchise, the beating heart of the team, the creative fulcrum that flows through every sinew of the attacking play, is a terrifying group. There are few teams that can boast such a powerful and productive attacking quartet.

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And this is why I believe Los Angeles FC could well be the real deal. They can score goals without exposing themselves. That is not a skill that many other teams in the league can profess to possess. It is rare and invaluable. It also makes this team dangerous, disciplined, resolute, and successful. Bob Bradley’s band of adventurers might just be here to stay. Watch out MLS.