LAFC fell to Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake 1-0, leaving the 2022 MLS Cups have to just one victory in their last seven games.
The Black and Gold started the campaign with high hopes to successfully defend their 2022 MLS Cup Championship with MVP candidate Denis Bouanga leading the way with 14 goals in the regular season.
But after falling short in the Concacaf Champions League final against Liga MX’s Leon and in the Leagues Cup knock-out stage, LAFC have fallen to fourth place in the Western Conference table, which isn’t good enough for a team that won a domestic double last year.
Although LAFC will probably get back on track before the playoffs kick-off, they could drop further down the table with Houston Dynamo and Vancouver Whitecaps just one and two points off them, respectively.
“I think tonight, you saw lack of quality in the key moments to set up real chances. I think I did see a little fatigue creep into the [players’] legs tonight,” LAFC boss Steve Cherundolo said after the defeat to RSL.
“And then, you see, lack of concentration, lack of coordination that results in poor passing of the ball or first touch. And all of that you need in order to create real chances and to finish your chances.”
Goals have been hard to come by for the Black and Gold, as they’ve failed to score in four consecutive games across all competitions, and Cherundolo called on his attacking players to step up in the coming games.
“I also think just some of our attackers are not performing at their highest ability. That’s somewhat understandable … But these are professionals and that needs to improve. It’s just kind of a phase [we’re in]. Look, you’re trying to play in a very controlled manner, controlled matches, but at the same time, create more chances than the opponent … which we’ve been able to do in most, in all of the games, that you mentioned as well as tonight,” he said.
“I think we it saw last year, we were quite effective. We just had one better moment that the opponents, and we’re not having that moment right now, but I believe it’s just a phase,” said Cherundolo.
Cherundolo then began to explain that his views on how many games MLS clubs are expected to play hasn’t changed at all.
” … We would all prefer a little more [of a] break in between games, but that’s not the reality,” he said when asked about how the locker room is after the recent results. “So my message to the group is, ‘look, it is what it is and let’s make the most of it.’ Let’s not make excuses, let’s not cry about it and let’s move forward and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”
LAFC and Cherundolo will aim to move forward and get back in the win column when they take on Minnesota United on October 4 at BMO Stadium.
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