Bob Bradley has praised the ‘personality’ of his squad as a depleted LAFC pulled off an impressive 4-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on Friday.
Despite heading into the season as one of the most fancied teams for MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield, the Black and Gold are languishing outside the playoff spots. A recent run of five defeats and three draws from eight games representing a new low point.
But LAFC finally snapped out of their slump on Friday with a resounding victory SKC, keeping them in playoff contention. The nature of the result was all the more impressive considering Bradley was without seven senior players through injury and international call-ups, while Diego Rossi recently departed to Fenerbahce on loan.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Bradley praised the ‘personality’ of his squad, while also stressing the importance of every single player at his disposal.
“You tell your team all year long how every guy’s important,” he said. “You’ve got to show up and understand what you need to do to get better, and pick up ideas and improve, and bring your personality, and you say this over and over.
“But there are moments when guys might think ‘I’m not playing, I’m not really part of it’, and they don’t understand that even if they’re not in the eleven on a given day, or if they go through a number of games and don’t play so much, their ability to continue to improve, make training better, and be ready when their time comes is the key.
“That’s what happens in the best clubs. It’s especially difficult for guys when a team goes through a tough stretch, so the focus for us was saying to everybody: now the time has come. Now everybody’s going to be called on.”
Bradley’s sentiement was aired by 20-year-old midfielder Bryce Duke, who came in for just his 11th MLS appearance of the season and first since the start of August. Despite a lack of match practice, Duke created two chances on the night, while contributing defensively with two tackles.
“You know, it’s a long season, so there’s going to be players that get injured, go to [the] international break, and everyone on the team [has] got to be ready for their call-up,” he said. “Tonight was my call-up. I’ve been working for this the whole season, so I felt like I was prepared for tonight’s game. I just tried to play my best and thankfully we came out with a 4-0 against KC.”
LAFC remain ninth in the Western Conference, three points adrift of the playoff spots. The Black and Gold travel to Austin FC on Wednesday.