Yet another inexcusable dropping of points by LAFC due to shockingly poor coaching. First, let’s investigate what happened at the end of that Minnesota game, then let me call out Bradley. Our only way to move forward is to move on from having him as the manager.
After Farfan’s injury, we have the throw-in deep in Minnesota’s half with probably about 90 seconds left in the game. During the preceding long delay, Bradley should have been warning his team to play smart, not to get caught out of position, and stay in our half (except the forwards trying to waste time in the corner). But what does he do instead? Evidently he instructs them to put on an all-out press in Minnesota’s half. (Are we looking for another goal?) We give away a throw-in at about 94:00. If you have the replay of the game, freeze-frame it then. NINE OF OUR TEN FIELD PLAYERS ARE 10 METERS OR MORE INSIDE THE ATTACKING HALF! Un-freaking-believable! Not a single competent coach in the world would have allowed this. We almost get caught and are scrambling around. Then freeze-frame it at 94:35. We have only 3 players defending the box. Not only that, our central midfield is empty: there are two Minnesota players coming in from behind that could have made it 5v3. For some reason, Farfan, Cifuentes, Palacios, and Edwards all ran to the sideline to cover two opponents. One of the most embarrassing collapses of judgement I’ve seen in a long time. The sad thing is that defensive mental mistakes like this are a recurring pattern with LAFC. We GIFT goals. And who do you think is to blame?
How long do we have to endure the ineptitude of Bob Bradley? One of my repeated quotes is "LAFC will never when a trophy with Bradley." I really believe that. He is always out-coached, promotes reckless and self-destructive tactics, ignores glaring deficiencies, never has the right in-game responses, and makes highly questionable decisions.
Everyone is afraid to criticize him because of the success LAFC had in their first two years, thinking they’d appear stupid for daring to question such an "obviously top-notch manager." But he is given too much credit. He employed an aggressive high-pressing, all-out attack with limited defensive cover. The strategy was definitely "the best defense is a great offense." Yes, it worked. Teams were always on their heels, timid about getting caught in our half, and resorted to clearing the ball and parking in their own half defensively. But it wasn’t Bradley’s brilliant tactics or coaching. It came down to two things: the utter brilliance of Vela and the stalwart defending of Walker Zimmerman (along with Silva, Harvey, and Beitashour). Vela’s magic ensured all that attacking led to goals, and the defense covered the frequent long-ball counterattacks.
Fans (and TV pundits) keep waiting for LAFC to come out of the purported funk they’re in and return to that glorious 2019 form. I’m sorry to inform you, but what we’re seeing now is the reality of who we are. Vela seems rusty and out of shape, the constant tinkering with the lineup prevents any kind of fluidity, and the defense continues to be porous. Vela’s not getting any younger and I don’t know how much longer he intends to play. What will this team be when he departs? Just a run-of-the-mill mid-table team, just as we've been for the past two years (when he’s been absent or slow to return to MVP-like form).
Bradley has shown a complete lack of willingness (or coaching knowledge) to address the blindingly glaring problem we’ve had: defensive frailty. It really is shocking how many goals we’ve given up due to lack of defensive organization, preparation, and tactics. This will continue to plague us as long as he’s the manager.
I might be wrong, but to me it seems that players have given up on Bradley. I don’t see much love or respect that players have for him. They are frustrated, constantly let down, and appear to not be having much fun. It’s time to move on. Will Thorrington have the stones to do it? Sadly, I doubt it.