“Can’t wait”: Undefeated LAFC turn their attention to El Trafico

LAFC earned an important road result Saturday night with a 4-2 win over a stubborn Orlando City SC that came back twice in the first half.

With the game tied at two at the break, the Black & Gold found a way to correct their shortcomings and answer the game’s demands in the second half under the pouring rain in Florida.

“Orlando played extremely well the first half and I also thought that we played quite poorly and defended poorly,” LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said in his postgame press conference. “We had to make an adjustment during the half and then I thought we had better control of the game. We found a way to win, and I’m pleased with that.”

As the only team in the Western Conference still undefeated after five games with a 4W-0L-1D record, it’s all going according to plan for the first-year coach, who has taken a team that didn’t make the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs last year to the top of the conference early on.

“It builds confidence in what we do. It builds trust in our work,” Cherundolo said of his team’s positive start to the season. “Getting everybody back after the international break is always tricky but continuing with our winning ways was very important tonight.”

It’s all coming together at a perfect time for LAFC, who will come face-to-face with the LA Galaxy next Saturday in what will be a new edition of El Trafico at Dignity Health Sports Park (7:30 pm ET | FOX, FOX Deportes).

“Our focus now is directed towards the derby next weekend, which we will be ready for,” said Cherundolo. “We will have certain specific messages for our players directed towards the Galaxy and how we want to prepare to beat them. We take this game very seriously and this opponent that we respect very much... but we also want to win.”

For goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau it will be his first El Trafico after joining LAFC in the offseason from Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and the moment simply cannot come soon enough.

“I can’t wait,” he said with a smirk after the game in Orlando. “It’s massive for our organization. These two stadiums are so close. As players, we know that there’s a little spark in the air when that kickoff starts. It’s going to be exciting.”

Still, Crepeau warned that LAFC should not get too carried away with their recent run of solid results and the excitement that comes with the upcoming city derby.

“Right now it’s positive with four wins and one tie, but it’s a long season,” the Canadian international said. “It’s a marathon. We need to be humble, put our heads down and really dig deep during the week.”