Road games in MLS are tough, and LAFC struggled mightily away from The Banc in 2020.
But the club standard remains high enough that a debut road showing, at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, was a disappointment for the squad despite remaining unbeaten on the season following a 1-1 draw at BBVA Stadium.
Perhaps the feelings were soured in part because Corey Baird’s go-ahead goal for LAFC was canceled out almost immediately after the game restarted by Dynamo newcomer Tyler Pasher.
“Overall it was a day where I didn’t think our football was as good as it needs to be, and enough guys with good games just missing that sharpness, the timing,” head coach Bob Bradley said to reporters after the game. “In some cases, running out of ideas. So I think we felt that that part all game long just wasn’t at the level we need. [We] did really well to score the first goal. But then [we] make the big mistake of a couple minutes later, allowing them right back into the game with the equalizer, so things that today, I think we’re all a bit frustrated with.”
While the rhythm of the game never truly blossomed for either team, Bradley said in terms of the quick goal conceded to Houston, it came down to an individual mistake.
“I’m pleased that overall defensively, we don’t give too much away. I don’t think we handled their goal well today. You know that’s a play Eddie Segura should make, and you know he’s a very good defender, and he loses a player and that’s a play, if he positions himself well, maybe [Jesús David Murrilo] could do a little bit more to close down the cross, he had to move out on the right when Marco [Farfan] was down.”
Even the newcomers to the squad this season could tell this was not a vintage LAFC performance.
“We came in here looking for three points, unfortunately we weren’t able to do it. You know, you see the faces inside the locker room, you know, disappointment, especially not being able to get three points you want to have that mentality where wherever we go, we should go and try to get the win,” said defender Marco Farfan, who started his second game in a row.
Baird, who has two goals in three games so far in his LAFC tenure, agreed.
“As a team where we want to go out there and win every game is kind of just, ‘Oh, on the road we’re happy with [a draw],’ he explained. “We’re looking at that like points dropped so everyone goes out and believes we can truly win every single game and we win every single game, if we’re playing at the level that we think we’re at. So today, for example, I think you look around the locker room after the game and people aren’t happy. It kind of feels more like a loss than a win, even though we’re still getting points on the road and road games are always difficult but as far as the mentality, we do believe that we are a top team. We’re going to get out there, and win every game.”
With the next game up a game very close to the supporters’ hearts, it being El Trafico, LAFC will hope they can rebound quickly from what was a disappointing draw in Houston.
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