Los Angeles Football Club, owned by Mexican Carlos Vela, played its first official preseason game this Saturday at the Banc of California against New England Revolution. The match ended with a 2-2 draw, with the four goals scored in the second half. Gustavo Bou opened the account at 50 ‘and a minute later, Adam Buksa made it 0-2. LAFC achieved the equalizer with goals from Eduard Atuesta (63 ‘) and Diego Rossi (90’).
Captain Carlos Vela played for 75 minutes and showed good physical rhythm. Bob Bradley tried for the first time in the attack that is shaping up to be his starting trident with Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela and his new forward for this 2021, Corey Baird.
“It is a work in progress, we continue to improve. I keep working on understanding the trends of what Carlos (Vela) and Diego (Rossi) do, understanding their movements and where to look for the ball. There are moments in these preseason games that the ideas may be there, but not so much the execution because the legs are still heavy and there is fatigue from work, but we created good opportunities in the first half and we can build on that, “said Baird after the match.
Baird joined the Angelenos in 2021 from Real Salt Lake. The US national team can play on the wings or as a center forward, for now, Bob Bradley tried it in the center with Rossi on the left side and Vela wide open on the right. The expectation around Baird is high in the attack of the aurinegros, considering that Vela and Rossi were the last two winners of the MLS Golden Boot.
“The pressure comes from myself and the expectations I have to improve my performance compared to my past seasons. A goal for me would be to have double digits in goals, something I have not had before in my career. You see how many opportunities this team has created in the past and the amount of goals they score, so for me it is something that motivates me to join this group, “said Baird.
The first half was close, with LAFC creating the best opportunities. At the start of the second half, the Angelenos came out on the field deconcentrated and New England found two quick goals to open the scoring.
“We had a very poor start in the second half, there are no excuses for that. The players who entered the substitution did a good job, we made adjustments and they worked. Some changes were also to dose the workload for some ”, said a serious Bob Bradley.
As expected, the American coach did not finish entirely satisfied due to these inattentions.
“The rival pushed more than us at the beginning of the second half, I think we were not physically and mentally prepared for that, we needed to be attentive to the whistle and clearly we were not,” said Tristan Blackmon who served as right back and central in this match. “It is a question of everyone being connected again, it is a period of deconcentration that cannot happen again in the season, the good thing is to make these mistakes right now.”
Another reinforcement for this tournament, Kim Moon-Hwan, came into action during the second half. The South Korean footballer can act as a winger or a midfielder; For this game, he only played 30 minutes as he has been recovering from a knee discomfort.
“(Kim) had a good 30 minutes, he has not been able to be in all the training sessions since the start of the preseason because he had a minor knee injury when he arrived, so we have been incorporating him little by little,” explained Bradley.
LAFC will face the New England Revolution again for its last preparation game next Saturday, April 10, on the same stage. The Angelenos will debut in the 2021 MLS season on April 17 by hosting Austin FC.