With only nine matches left in the regular season, LAFC are in a battle just to secure their spot in the playoffs. Stacking together wins, in a tough Western Conference is hard enough, but having to do so without two of your best players, makes it all the more difficult. That’s unfortunately where LAFC find themselves at the moment.
Speaking to media ahead of this Saturday's trip to San Jose to face the Quakes, head coach Bob Bradley gave updates on the two critical pieces to the black and gold’s success, injured midfielder Eduard Atuesta and injured forward Carlos Vela.
“Eduard is questionable for this game. He was on the field for part of training today, and then we’ll assess coming out of training tomorrow and seeing how he feels,” Bradley told reporters.
Bradley was far less forthcoming with a timeline in regards to Carlos Vela.
“The question mark of when he can begin playing, probably begins with the Galaxy game. That doesn't mean that game is going to work, but up until now, San Jose, Portland, I don't see that. Not saying Galaxy is the case, but that's probably the start of the period where we’ll see.”
What does it all mean? For Saturday, it means LAFC will once again be shorthanded. While there is a chance we see Atuesta take the pitch as a sub, the likelihood of him starting for a full 90 are slim. As for Vela, as Bradley stressed, they aren't even considering him ready until the LA Galaxy match, which is Oct. 3rd, at the earliest. Given LAFC’s history with taking it easy with players coming off injury, it is quite possible we won't see Vela return until mid-October.
The good news, LAFC have proven recently they can win matches with the team they currently have available. A few more clinical moments in the Portland match, and this could be a team on a four-match win streak. The biggest key for this team going forward will be finding, and keeping, some confidence. And that begins in San Jose this weekend.
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