Contact Form

    News Details

    LAFC strives for consistency and points in San Jose
    • May 3, 2024

    Through the first third of the MLS regular season, the Los Angeles Football Club, on the whole, has been average.

    That’s the assessment of LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo, whose team enters its 11th matchday this weekend situated fifth in the Western Conference and ninth in the Supporters’ Shield race with 15 of a possible 30 points.

    While April yielded a positive stretch for Cherundolo’s players, who went unbeaten after a three-loss March, ups-and-downs as a group and individually continue to get sprinkled in week to week and half to half, which was a focus of team meetings this week.

    “For us, some good moments and some moments where things weren’t as sharp and consistent as we had hoped,” Cherundolo observed prior to visiting the struggling San Jose Earthquakes (1-8-1, 4 points) at a full-capacity Levi’s Stadium for what’s billed as the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration on the West Coast.

    Margins are thin by design in MLS, but the finely sliced manner in which LAFC (4-3-3) has gone about its business in 2024 could just as easily court trouble in a league where competitive balance remains constant.

    Take the stoppage-time win over Portland last Saturday or the late draw a week earlier against the New York Red Bulls: Had Denis Bouanga been unable to deliver in either instance, LAFC would be dealing with its worst start in seven seasons.

    “The level is close between the teams, so only the consistency of performance will make the difference,” observed goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who noted that he is having more fun on the field than expected after departing Tottenham for LAFC.

    “It’s probably where we are trying to improve in some aspects of our game to get the right rhythm because we need to get points.”

    Last year under similar circumstances, LAFC lost 2-1 to the Earthquakes despite a Bouanga goal in front of 45,000 fans at the home of the San Francisco 49ers.

    Coming off his Golden Boot campaign, Bouanga remains among the most potent weapons in the league, finishing six goals so far this season (all in April) while leading MLS in total shots (60) and shots on target (22) as he spearheads an attack that ranks No. 1 in those categories.

    Yet from Cherundolo’s perspective, even Bouanga’s game-changing performances could be better, especially before the French winger moves into scoring position.

    “It’s not so much that he needs to improve, a player of his age and ability, but it’s more of just being consistent in his decision-making along the lines of our game model,” Cherundolo said following the Portland win. “I think that would go a long way for the group more importantly, and, of course, for Denis himself.

    “The game from our own end into the opponent’s box or around the final third should be very simple, very repetitive and very predictable for your own teammates. Unfortunately, his decision-making doesn’t make it predictable at times and you can throw a few guys into the same boat.”

    Related Articles

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    Denis Bouanga’s stoppage-time goal leads LAFC past Timbers

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    LAFC to face Portland, trying to build some momentum

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    Denis Bouanga’s 2 goals help LAFC tie Red Bulls

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    LAFC’s Aaron Long welcomes former Red Bulls teammates to Los Angeles

    Los Angeles Football Club |

    LAFC get first point on the road with draw in Portland

    Away from BMO Stadium, these shortcomings haven’t helped LAFC, which has one point in four matches. And as the calendar turns, May could offer as many as five road games compared to a pair of home dates if the Black & Gold advances in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday in Las Vegas.

    “We are coming into a tough period in terms of schedule and we really need all the players involved and committed to help the team,” Lloris said. “Obviously, the best way to start this period is to get a good win and performance at San Jose.”

    LAFC at Earthquakes

    When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara

    TV/radio: Apple TV (free)/710 AM, 980 AM

    ​ Orange County Register