LAFC ended Saturday night the same way it began: in third place in the Western Conference standings.
However, a 2-0 loss at the Portland Timbers, the Black & Gold's third straight in MLS play, has them looking to right the ship as the latest chapter of El Tráfico against the LA Galaxy looms next Saturday (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).
"We're in a negative moment ... things are, in the offensive end, really difficult for us," LAFC head coach Steve Cherudolo said after the match. "Goals are hard to come by at the moment, and we're making individual errors as well, on the defensive end, which are costing us. Every mistake we make is being punished, and our half-chances in the offensive end are not being capitalized on."
LAFC still find themselves in strong position to make the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. But they're in danger of losing their grip on the top of the standings, with a number of teams well within striking distance.
Saturday's trip to Portland was another step in the wrong direction, with the Timbers scoring in either half through Larrys Maibala (28') and Claudio Bravo (53'). It sent the defending MLS Cup champions to an eighth winless result in their last 10 matches (2W-6L-2D), while they were held off the scoresheet after one-goal outings against Charlotte FC and Inter Miami CF.
Cherundolo, however, expressed optimism in his group's ability to turn the tables.
"What I shared with the guys after the game is basically, it is what it is," Cherundolo said. "The only way out of this is to put our head down, and to work hard, and to review our mistakes, and to try to improve. And I saw a group who's willing to do that and to take that challenge on."