CARSON, Calif. – With the LA Galaxymathematically eliminated from contention for the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, results like the 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night don’t sting quite as much.
At this point, players are playing for a spot on next year’s squad. With a goal in each of his last two games, Bradford Jamieson IV has emerged as a player to watch in the future.
The Galaxy’s elimination from playoff contention has freed head coach Sigi Schmid to experiment with his starting XI, tweaking where some of his players would play normally in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Gyasi Zardes has been moved to right back, Giovani dos Santos is the lone striker up top and Jamieson has moved into dos Santos’ central attacking midfielder role.
It’s a move that Schmid feels is starting to pay off.
“Bradford has done well,” said Schmid. “I’ve played him in different places. I know a lot of people thought that Sigi is pretty stupid for putting him in the midfield, he’s not a midfielder. But he’s really playing as sort of a second forward.
“I know he can make those runs. He’s got good feet, he can connect passes, he’s got good pace and he’s buying into what we’re asking him to do. I think if you look at his progression over the last month and a half, I think it’s been pretty good.”
LA threw wave after wave of attack at RSL on Saturday, but failed to break down the 10-man squad in the first 40 minutes. Then, with Jermaine Jones holding the ball at the top of the final third, Jamieson angled a run across the RSL backline, ran onto Jones’ through ball in the right side of the box and tucked the ball inside the far post with his first touch to give LA the lead.
That he did it all in one motion made it more impressive. For a young player, the 20-year-old Jamieson shows a maturity about the game that could go far when combined with his level of talent.
“Once you start to get more matches with guys you know what they’re thinking and they know what you’re thinking,” said Jamieson. “So as soon as I saw Jermaine get the ball, my first instinct was to make the run and I knew he likely was going to be playing that in, so I obviously had no hesitation when I’m getting inside the box, so I’m going to shoot.”
With each remaining game an audition for the younger players hoping to make an argument for their role in 2018, Jamieson is making a strong case for himself. Schmid has stressed to players that they need to continue playing with pride, playing for their jobs and it’s something that Jamieson has taken to heart.
“Going full steam ahead every match. I don’t think slowing down is a goal this season. As a player, I’m trying to go 110 percent through the season, through the offseason, through next year, just keeping match fit and just keep a form about me and improve the things I’m working on,” said Jamieson.