LOS ANGELES -- Before anyone could ask Bob Bradley a question in the standing-room only postgame press conference, the LAFC coach marveled out loud about what he had just experienced.
The stadium. The crowd. The atmosphere.
Several minutes later, when asked whether the magnitude of opening Banc of California Stadium contributed to his side's lack of sharpness, Bradley admitted it was possible. He remained adamant, however, that the club's ground would become a major tool in their quest to become a better team.
“The field was incredible, it was wet, the ball moved,” Bradley said of the Bermuda grass pitch, made to resemble what the team play on at their new training facility. “If you want to be a team that can play football, you have to have a great field but at the end we also weren’t shaken.”
These are aspects where the nascent team must improve. In that quest, inspiration from the rowdy 3252 supporters will only help.
“Honestly, the atmosphere here is great,” said LAFC wingback Omar Gaber, who started his first MLS match after a gradual return from injury.
The Egyptian international looked dangerous throughout his hour of game time, blazing up both flanks and stretching Seattle's defense before Latif Blessing replaced him.
“I had to fight, I had to play 100 percent but when I feel tired I had to tell them,” Gaber added. The plan was always for him to come off before the final whistle, he added.
Considered by many to be the fastest player in the squad, Gaber joined LAFC on loan from Swiss side FC Basel. Amid a level of fervent club support he admits he didn't expect when he agreed to his MLS move, he says he hopes the deal becomes permanent.
“I felt great,” Gaber said. “I’m so happy. I want to stay here.”
Gaber and all his teammates will finally get the chance to spend several weeks in the comforts of their new home, with their next three league matches to be played at Banc of California Stadium. Bradley hopes that extended stretch can help his side find some consistency.
“We still don’t take our good football and make it just go and go and go," Bradley said. "We still kind of do it in waves, so that’s certainly something that we have to keep working on.”