Los Angeles Football Club are hard at work on the upcoming win-or-go-home-for-the-season playoff clash against the Seattle Sounders on Nov. 24, and a couple key players appear to be in the reckoning to play.
LAFC head coach Bob Bradley offered updates on several players Friday in a conference call with reporters. With Diego Rossi, Brian Rodriguez, Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios all expected to miss the game due to international commitments and subsequent quarantine periods, getting all the players back possible takes on an even bigger importance.
First, forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, fresh off his 2020 MLS Comeback Player of the Year award, is back in training after missing the last two games due to an undisclosed personal matter and Bradley says the player should be ready against Seattle.
“Brad will be available. His personal situation is squared away and he is back into regular training so he is available,” said Bradley.
Midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye came off the bench in the regular-season finale against the Portland Timbers, his first minutes since suffering an ankle injury on Oct. 11, ironically against the Sounders. In the meantime, Kaye missed five games while recuperating from his injury, but Bradley is optimistic the Canadian will be ready to play some role against Seattle.
“Mark is back in full training,” he said. “We didn’t know going into the Portland game whether he would get any time. We didn’t think that was so important because we knew we still had a couple weeks of pushing him every day. This time between games, the quality of the training, physically the way we can push guys, especially those that haven’t been playing, the return to play part with certain guys in terms of injuries, those are all things that we’ve got to get right in order to be at our best. So I’m excited to see what’s going on with Mark every day. I think he’s going in a really good direction.”
And then there’s one of the biggest questions, regarding LAFC’s goalkeeper situation for the playoff clash.
Kenneth Vermeer lost his starting spot after a loss against the Sounders in August, but came back in for the final three games of the regular season after Pablo Sisniega mysteriously fell out of the lineup, said to be a leg injury that was initially a precaution. But Sisniega has been out of the squad for the last three games entirely.
The head coach was succinct in terms of the current status of the starting goalkeeper.
“It’s to be determined,” said Bradley.
So there you have it. Perhaps there will be more insight in a week or so, or perhaps Bradley will keep his goalkeeper choice a secret until game time. Anything to get an advantage in an elimination game? Perhaps, we’ll see what happens in the coming days.
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