What went wrong in this one? Well, you can probably chalk this one up to some bad bounces — two first-half penalties, four minutes apart, put Seattle ahead 2-0 and even with LAFC moving the ball around well for many stretches of the match, they didn’t have the killer edge in attack, and frankly, teams in a rough patch get performances like that, where they don’t play especially badly but still lose handily.
LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye agreed with that assessment in the postgame press conference.
“I think it is just a difficult time for the team, we are not getting the results we want,” he told reporters. “Not every game is a bad performance, but we are getting penalized on some plays, go behind and we have to fight back. We are not doing ourselves a lot of favors.”
Head coach Bob Bradley also shared that sentiment.
“I’ve said a few times, that now facing adversity, and having a real way as a group to play through it – that is the challenge for us,” Bradley said. “When you go through a tough stretch, it just seems like no matter what, things go against you.”
Injuries are playing a role — Carlos Vela remains out indefinitely, Tristan Blackmon was out again and Eduard Atuesta played 45 minutes as he returns from a foot injury — and the team appears to be crying out for an upgrade at center back alongside Eddie Segura, but the team’s mentality appears to be what’s really slipped since returning to the local phase of play in a very strange 2020 season.
Kaye indicated the problem is throughout the squad, which it is, but also raised his hand for not being good enough.
“We’ve had trouble at home too, so I don’t think it’s just road games,” he said when asked why the team was struggling on the road. “We are not as sharp as we need to be, there is a lack of concentration on certain plays, myself included. So, I think I have to raise my level and hopefully that will help other guys in the games, but away games are tough – home games are tough. We have to keep playing through.”
Small consolation, perhaps, but LAFC are far from the only team to be struggling this season in MLS, with far more teams than usual failing to maintain consistency or avoid obvious errors.
For a club with aims as high as LAFC, however, the utter uniqueness of 2020 in general and the schedule congestion against the same handful of teams aren’t considered excuses in the moment.
“Obviously, it’s not an ideal situation, but every team is doing it so we can’t use that as an excuse, we have to keep trying to improve the stuff that we’ve been working on all the time,” Kaye explained. “There is a lack of concentration, in certain places, guys are late, or a lack of intensity to keep the game on our terms. Playing a couple teams two or three times is weird, but at the end of the day it is just a football game and we have to find ways to get it done.”
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