2018 preseason - Latif Blessing - LAFC

LOS ANGELES -- Giving credit where it’s earned is one of the key ingredients to building trust between players at any club, but especially for a brand new club.

Speaking to LAFC players after their first-ever preseason match on Friday, a 2-2 draw at UCLA against Toronto FC, it was evident the squad is eager share the spotlight for a good performance.

“That was the man,” forward Carlos Vela said, patting teammate and Friday's goalscorer Marco Ureña on the back as he left training.

Vela sat out the match after featuring for the Mexican national team midweek in their 1-0 friendly win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Ureña took advantage of the moment to get into scoring form.

“I really just do my job the best I can,” Ureña said. “I’m working really hard for the team.”

Another returning international, US national team call-up Walker Zimmerman, credited the emerging attack, includng Ureña, Latif Blessing and Diego Rossi, with putting the treble-winning Toronto side under considerable pressure in the second half, leading to both of the Costa Rican's tallies.

Zimmerman was more measured in his assessment of the overall performance by the team.

“We can probably be a little more organized in choosing our moments,” he said, the LAFC back line having been sliced open for Toronto’s second goal via the Victor Vazquez-to-Sebastian Giovinco partnership that tormented MLS defenses last year. “Sometimes we got a little out of shape, but that comes with preseason.”

That goal arrived as Zimmerman paired up with Laurent Ciman for the first time in the center of defense.

“Obviously he’s a little bit more of an aggressive player,” Zimmerman said of the partnership. “It’s just about getting chemistry with him and learning when he likes to go and when he likes to stay.”

Zimmerman also said he feels comfortable in his new city, finding a home base close to the beach in Santa Monica.

Ureña, for his part, spoke to the camaraderie developing amongst players in the expansion side, several of whom have been enjoying meals together and getting acquainted to each other off the pitch as well as on it.

But with one game under their belts, the immediate task is for LAFC to keep working on that chemistry.

“We have some things we need to work on,” said goalkeeper Tyler Miller. “We’ll just go back, hit the training field next week, and be better for the next preseason game.”