Playing in one of the league’s most hostile environments against a Sounders team that has gone to the last two MLS Cup finals, LAFC was anything but intimidated by the stage, riding an 11th-minute strike from Diego Rossi to a 1-0 victory in their debut match.
Rossi’s tally was the highlight of a furious opening half-hour from the visitors, who were all over the Sounders for most of the opening frame before putting in an impressive defensive shift in the second half to seal the result.
“After [the first 25 minutes] it was more about fighting and defending,” Bradley told reporters after the game. “But when you’re starting out as a team, you have to learn how to win different kinds of games. So, a lot of positives, great to win, still a lot of work to do.
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“We talked today, you only get one chance for [a first game] to show what you’re all about. And I don’t think we showed football-wise what we’re capable of. But that’s only going to get better. I’m very confident as we build this team we’re going to see some real football.”
Bradley is certainly hoping that the dynamic start from his highly-touted attacking corps highlighted by the 19-year-old Rossi and Mexican international Carlos Vela is a sign of things to come as the season gets underway.
Vela is a proven goalscorer with 66 goals to his name at Spanish club Real Sociedad before he signed with LAFC in January, but it was his overall work rate and leadership that Bradley praised postgame.
“Carlos was so excited for today and we know that he’s a special attacking player but look at all the other things he does,” Bradley said. “He’s chasing back, he’s holding the ball under pressure, he’s organizing guys around him. So, the leadership that Carlos shows and that [captain] Laurent Ciman shows with a young team, those players are really important. So, Carlos was great today.”
That attacking prowess will rightfully garner most of the headlines coming off of Sunday’s match, but the work of LAFC’s midfielders and backline to maintain the clean sheet shouldn’t be discounted either.
Ciman put in a standout performance, while goalkeeper Tyler Miller -- who played for Seattle for the past two seasons -- also managed to get the better of his former teammates with a handful of clutch saves.
“It was just a game,” said Miller. “For me, playing against Seattle, it was a good moment for me because I really enjoy this city, I really like this city and the organization. But for me it’s just a game and the fact that we can do it with a new groups of guys where, maybe people don’t have that high of expectations [for us]. But we have high expectations for the club and what we’re going to do this year.”