LAFC has no margin for error over final 12 regular season games – Daily News


From Sunday’s home match against Real Salt Lake through a Decision Day finale in Colorado on Nov. 7, the Los Angeles Football Club has no margin for error over its 12 remaining regular season dates.

Last weekend’s stunning 4-0 victory at home against Sporting Kansas City earned LAFC its first points in a month and punctuated the end to a franchise-worst winless streak that drove Bob Bradley’s group from the playoff pack toward the bottom of the Western Conference table.

Injuries, lost points and reduced goal scoring all color the story of the most stressful season in the four-year history of LAFC, which is why the club and its supporters will be required to walk a tightrope the rest of the way.

“From here on out every game is big,” Bradley said Friday.

Doubly so when LAFC (7-9-6, 27 points) faces contenders for the final conference postseason spot, currently occupied by Sunday’s seventh-place visitor.

“When people talk about six-point games of course they mean games against teams in your conference where you’re close in the standings and it’s not only the three points that you fight for but it’s also making sure the other team doesn’t take three points,” Bradley said. “We’ll have a number of those games and RSL fits directly in that territory.”

In the 56 days since their last clash, RSL head coach Freddy Juarez departed for Seattle as an assistant and Pablo Mastroeni stepped into the role.

Salt Lake (8-8-6, 30 points) downed FC Dallas in their last match, 3-2, to end a two-game skid. Jonathan Menendez scored his first career goal in MLS, and also added his fourth assist in his ninth appearance.

LAFC are 7-1 in league play against RSL, taking wins in their last three contests including a pair of victories this July that bookended the Black & Gold’s best stretch of the season — nine points out of nine.

However three points over LAFC’s next eight contests notably coincided with Eddie Segura’s season-ending knee injury, prompting a cliffhanger to the finish line that could require his replacement, 18-year-old Mamadu Fall, to be a regular difference maker.

Fall scored twice in LAFC’s drubbing of SKC last weekend, receiving his second MLS Team of the Week spot in four starts.

“Fall has done really well,” said forward Danny Musovski, who earned his second assist of the year last week. “He’s just a young hungry kid who wants to succeed, and you can see that on the field. That’s why he’s going through people to score with his head. He’s fearless. I think all of us on the team obviously respect that.”

The Senagalese central defender was so excited after the win that even Latif Blessing, the perpetually smiling Ghanaian, advised his locker room neighbor to turn it down.

“Kids, when playing good, they’re too excited,” Blessing said after adopting a more vocal role with the team while the international window meshed with Diego Rossi’s departure and Carlos Vela’s lingering absence. “Everyone listened to me and we got three points.”


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