Be sure to check out my responses to Alicia’s questions here.
1. Bob Bradley has a special place in the hearts of Fire fans. How are LAFC fans taking to him? Do folks generally believe in him and the LAFC project?
Considering the team is playing well these days, LAFC fans by and large adore Bradley. He promised attacking soccer and he delivered -- can’t argue with that! And with the team last year arguably overachieving but having a major flaw, in conceding goals a lot and in coughing up points as a result, Bradley doubled down on his approach, something that was controversial in the offseason. But the results speak for themselves, with the defense tightened up and the goals coming faster than ever.
You’ll never see any fanbase 100 percent in or 100 percent out on a coach. Like the Fire, I think Bradley would cement his status to LAFC with some silverware won at the club. But right now, times are good and Bradley deserves quite a bit of the credit for that.
2. LAFC are a roll lately, and are almost certainly the strongest team in the West, if not the league. What would you say has been the secret to their success so far?
After starting from scratch in 2018 and building a full roster over the course of the season, they signed just one new starter, defender Eddie Segura, coming into this season. Believe it or not, the approach has worked, as LAFC have lost just one game. And in that game, Bradley tried to rotate three-quarters of his defense on short rest on the road, and the gamble didn’t pay off.
In talking to the players, the returning players have all cited continuity from season to season for the improvements across the board. I don’t think that’s just self-interest speaking, as they truly have raised their games as a group. We knew they were talented, but they not only did they not need a bunch of big signings, but one of their Designated Players, Andre Horta, has barely played this year as they’ve been flying. The extra time together really seems to have paid off for this team.
3. What’s your biggest worry about the squad right now? Key injuries? Players out of form? Tactical shortcomings?
Injuries have to be a concern for anyone, since they cannot be projected, but I guess I would say my big fear is a general inability to see this hot start through all season. Last year, my hope was that LAFC would make the playoffs, and they did. I thought they could win the U.S. Open Cup, and falling in penalties in the semifinal was disappointing, but hey, it was their first year. I didn’t want to be greedy.
But this season? They are playing *so well.* I want them to win a title, and they are playing well enough that they absolutely can. Will they? That’s what we have to watch for, game by game.
4. (Bonus) Predictions for the game?
2-0 win for LAFC. I think it will be a battle, but I think LAFC will come through it in the end.