It almost seems inevitable that, at some point this season, Los Angeles FC will finally get rolling. Perhaps this past weekend’s 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake will push Los Angeles FC in the right direction.
It was a win for Los Angeles FC that wasn’t pretty and came with the visitors registering just a single shot on goal. Yet as LAFC has struggled this year, a first road win in a difficult place to play is certainly a step in the right direction.
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A 61st minute goal by midfielder Jose Cifuentes was the difference in Los Angeles FC getting three points from a tough RSL side. For Cifuentes, it was his third goal of the season.
“Yes, winning away is sometimes about mentality and we had really from the start a good, a good way of playing away from ‘The Banc.’ And last year when we got back from ‘MLS is Back’ in Orlando, we lost our way, had some tough away games that’s continued this year so tonight we talked before the game and as we were preparing just about making sure that our mentality,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said after the match to reporters.
“One thing that we certainly feel good about is that overall, we’ve defended well in almost every game. We’ve not given away too many chances. And I think on that end we’re making improvement, and so we’re going to put it all together at some point; we’re going to get the football part the way the ball moves a little faster. We’re going to be – we’ve got to find ways to sharpen up some of our advantages and scoring more goals. But tonight is a real step forward in terms of just mentality for an away game.
The win puts Los Angeles FC at 4-4-3 (15 points) on the season and on a three-way tie for fifth place in the Western Conference. It has been an unusual year for one of the most talented clubs given injuries and an overall slow, inconsistent start to the year.
But given their overall talent level coupled with one of the most talented coaches in MLS in the aforementioned Bradley, it is clear that Los Angeles FC can turn their season around. Perhaps an away win at Real Salt Lake will be the catalyst to spark a mid-summer run. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake is now 3-3-4 (14 points) following this weekend’s home loss.
For Bradley, one of the most successful coaches in MLS history, Saturday’s win was his fiftieth since he became the first head coach in Los Angeles FC history. He achieved this milestone in just 101 matches.
“We started out with this idea that we wanted to build a team that had a certain way of playing football. And then if you came to watch us play you were excited. We had good ways to go forward, we could score goals, we can compete for trophies. And by and large, we’ve done a lot of good things, but lately we’ve also been hard on ourselves because we’ve not been as consistent. Again, we’ve only scored 13 goals this year so that’s not us,” Bradley said.
“But teams evolve in different ways and so as we fight through some of these steps I think it’s an indication of the pride that we have in, in every time we step on the field, how important it is for our fans. So that’s the part that just keeps us going even, even in moments where we feel like we’re not quite at our best.”