12 points. What if LAFC had 12 more points this season?
Basically, the difference between being elite and mediocre. Right now, LAFC have 12 points, which puts them on 1.2 points per game so far this season, and sits them in 9th place of a Western Conference where the top seven teams will go to the playoffs.
There’s still a lot of season ahead and LAFC can turn it around, but that 12 points I referenced at the top? It’s the number of points LAFC have dropped so far this season from a winning position. If they had picked those extra 12 points up, they’d be a point off the Supporters’ Shield lead.
Let’s go through the games where this has happened:
- April 24: LAFC took an early lead against the Seattle Sounders, ultimately drew 1-1
- May 1: LAFC took a 2nd half lead at the Houston Dynamo, immediately conceded in 1-1 draw
- May 29: LAFC led 1-0 before two late NYCFC goals, losing 2-1
- June 19: LAFC led 1-0 before the Dynamo equalized for another 1-1 draw
- June 26: LAFC led 1-0 before a red card, two Sporting KC goals in a 2-1 loss
Every team drops points sometimes, but dropping significant points in half your games? That’s a really worrisome trend.
In some of these games, the context is useful to remember. The Sounders are the best team in the league, and a draw against them without Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi? Decent result, honestly. This past weekend, playing down a man for a half hour against a Sporting team always hard to play in Kansas City? Losing the game was not a shock under those circumstances, as much as we would like them to have held on.
Still, even if the Dynamo are turning out to be a great matchup against LAFC, even if NYCFC are a good team, LAFC should not be dropping this many leads.
To me, the central problem is that LAFC aren’t scoring enough in general. Their system is designed to pile goals on the board and give the defense a bit of a cushion. Would the ideal be to win games 5-0 for LAFC? Yes, but they will certainly take 5-2 any day. They’ll take 3-2 wins, too, they aren’t that picky.
But while the attack has yet to be fully flowing, there has to be concern that a more goal-shy attack needs to be boosted by either bigger changes to the system and/or more mental strength when in winning positions. Again, no team, system or player is perfect and teams will drop points sometimes, even the best teams.
However, we’re starting to reach the point where this may not be a “tough start” for LAFC, it may just be their season. And if that’s the case, they are going to be fighting for a playoff spot, and this team is truly too good to be in that spot.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.