LAFC head coach Bob Bradley was left ‘frustrated’ after his side’s winless streak was extended to five games against San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.
The Black and Gold were tipped by many as potential favourites to win the Supporters’ Shield and go deep into the playoffs ahead of the 2021 MLS season but after 18 games, they find themselves seventh – just two points ahead of Real Salt Lake but having played one game more.
Their latest setback came in the form of a 2-1 defeat at California rivals San Jose on Sunday, going 2-0 down inside 28 minutes before pulling a goal back shortly before half-time via a Jackson Yueill own goal.
LAFC have now lost three and drawn two of their last five matches, while they’re six without a clean sheet, conceding 13 goals during that time.
After Sunday’s match, Bradley lamented his side’s inabiltiy compete in difficult moments, too easily allowing the opposition to dictate games.
“There’s no doubt that we are frustrated as a group,” he told reporters. “Too many results where we do not find a way to not come out on top.
“They play off of things; for example, they’ll [Earthquakes] move the left-back up and just aim balls and jump and flick balls. They [Earthquakes] are good at the way they play. You have to compete with them in terms of moments when the game is on their terms and then when we get the chance to play, to go in transition, to make them pay for certain moments.
“On our terms, we have to be better. Early in the game, that is where they had the advantages and as we pushed back into the game, I saw improvement but we did not do enough to get to the second goal.”
LAFC midfielder Latif Blessing, who came off the bench in the 63rd minute, said there was a feeling of ‘sadness’ among the camp, but insisted their season is far from over with plenty of points still to play for.
“Everyone is sad right now,” he said. “It’s been tough for the moment. We need to tell ourselves that it is not over. We have more games to go. We need to set up ourselves to play good and win game by game. That is the mentality we need to have and keep going.”
Though Blessing’s sentiment is commendable, picking up results might be easier said than done.
LAFC’s next match on Sunday sees them stay on the road at Atlanta United, who are fresh from a 3-2 win over reigning MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew. After that, it’s another road game in Vancouver, before crunch ties against rivals LA Galaxy and Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City.