Los Angeles Football Club came into this past week with a tall task: a match against FC Dallas on Saturday, Minnesota United on Wednesday, and New York City FC on Sunday. This stood as LAFC’s first schedule crunch of the season, as well as their first as a franchise. Three games in eight days, including one of the best teams in the league to finish it all off.
LAFC, to their credit, had the benefit of hosting all three games. They did not have to travel across the country as NYCFC had to do, nor did they have to return home and prepare for another match like Minnesota did. What LAFC managed to do was come away with a draw against FC Dallas, which very well could have been a win; a very good midweek performance against Minnesota; and a draw against a very good team in NYCFC. That’s five points with no losses, extending their unbeaten streak to six games (since the infamous Atlanta United game).
Bob Bradley and the players of LAFC handled the first schedule crunch they have ever faced pretty much perfectly. The lineup was at full strength against Dallas. Against Minnesota, Bradley took out Jordan Harvey in the 65th minute for Omar Gaber, but otherwise played the same lineup. Against NYCFC, Gaber took Harvey’s place in the starting lineup, but on the right instead of the left, with Steven Beitashour moving to the left. Otherwise, all the usual suspects started, with Bradley making two switches at the same time in the 78th minute: Benny Feilhaber exited for Lee Nguyen, and Beitashour came out for Harvey.
Despite the fact that this team is not yet in a position to do full rotations in the roster, the team did really well over a very busy week. This is a good sign heading forward, because when the black-and-gold start play in the U.S. Open Cup, there are going to be some packed stretches. Looking at the schedule going forward, LAFC has another week just like this in August: Sporting Kansas City on a Saturday, Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, Colorado Rapids on Sunday. That will get a tad easier when there are a couple more players on the roster to rotate with. Right now, it’s a good sign that LAFC were able to handle their business at home, despite having some heavy legs at the end.
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