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5 reactions from LAFC’s draw vs. Chicago Fire

Stalemate in LA as the Black-and-Gold were unable to score.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Los Angeles FC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club were stymied by a resolute Chicago Fire team 0-0 on Saturday. It was their first dropped points at home this year. Here’s what we took from the game.

LAFC controlled play well, but didn’t finish any of their chances

The NBA is often referred to as a “make or miss league.” The idea being when it comes down to it, either you make your shots, or you don’t. That’s how this game felt for LAFC. They dominated possession, especially in the first half. And they had a number of good chances. This wasn’t possession without any end product, like say the World Cup game for Spain vs. Russia. LAFC had a number of good chances, Jordan Harvey had a half volley and a header that just missed, Christian Ramirez had a nice chance saved by Chicago’s keeper. Carlos Vela and Walker Zimmerman had headers that went close in the second half. But at the end of the day, none of the chances went in, and LAFC dropped two points at home against a team they should have beaten.

The Fire played well, especially defensively

This was not all about missing chances though. The Fire deserve credit for defending well against LAFC. They kept most of their players behind the ball, and cut down on the number of chances that LAFC got in and around the box. They also blocked a fair number of shots. The fact that LAFC still had a number of good chances in the game is a reflection of how much offense LAFC can generate, and was not about Chicago not defending well. The Fire also grew into the game offensively in the second half, and had a couple of chances, including a wide open net that was missed by Nemanja Nikolic in the 55th minute. For a time this looked like it might be a game where LAFC didn’t score and Chicago stole one. The Fire well earned the point they got.

LAFC does not need to change their approach much, if at all

While you can be disappointed in the result, LAFC performed well throughout the game, besides their finishing. They dominated the ball, but beyond just possession, they also had good chances. If the ball had bounced differently a few times this game could have been 3 or 4-0, and would have fallen in line with a number of other LAFC wins this year. The chances were there, the play and the effort were there, sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce the right way.

LAFC experimented for a little without a true forward on the field

Trying to mix things up in the second half, Bob Bradley took off Christian Ramirez. But he did not replace him straightaway with Adama Diomande, the usual sub in that instance. He put on Lee Nguyen. Nguyen sloted into the midfield, and then Carlos Vela pushed more into the middle. The results were mixed. LAFC still did not score, but it was an interesting look, and LAFC got some good chances and got some of the wide players more involved in the play. With Ramirez and Dio, LAFC have very good forwards and generally will seek to have one on the field, but it is good to have another look to through at teams, especially with a player like Vela who can play in a False 9 role.

Be prepared for more teams bunkering against LAFC

Not every team will be able to defend like Chicago did this game, but a good number of them will probably try. Expect to see more teams play with 8 or 9 men behind the ball, and seek to absorb pressure but limit good chances. Especially when LAFC are playing at home. Ultimately, LAFC have to finish their chances in a game like that. They didn’t tonight, but if they create good ones like they did in this game, more often than not they will go in.

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