Bradley, LAFC target 60 points as inaugural season ticks down to playoffs

LOS ANGELES – According to data compiled by MLSsoccer.com’s Ben Baer, LAFC have the fourth-easiest remaining schedule in MLS, on paper at least.

For any team sitting in third place in their conference going into the final stretch of the regular season, that situation would be ideal, but especially so for a side looking to see out their inaugural campaign in the best possible fashion.

With home matches against San Jose (Saturday, 3:30 pm ET | Univision, Twitter – Full TV and streaming info), Houston and Vancouver as well as away dates against Chicago, Colorado and Kansas City, LAFC have 18 points up for grabs and all the playoff positioning that goes with it.

Following LAFC training Wednesday, MLSsoccer.com sat down with coach Bob Bradley to get a sense of what the team is targeting for the remainder of the regular season.

“At one point when we were talking as a group, we mentioned 60 points,” the LAFC boss said, whose team is currently on 47. Though Bradley admitted LAFC have let some points “slip” in recent weeks following the conversation about a points target, the team believes it’s still possible.

“But obviously 13 out of 18 [is] good work.”

If they’re going to reach that goal of 60 points — five more than Atlanta United finished with during their outstanding 2017 expansion season — LAFC would have to win four of their remaining six, with room for just one draw and one loss.

“For me, that’s still a reasonable goal,” said Bradley, based on the balance of their favorable schedule, something that comes as a relief for a team that has dealt with more variables than some other expansion sides in the past – injuries, players joining later than hoped, considerable World Cup absences and, most recently, losing their captain, Laurent Ciman.

In some ways, the relatively easy-on-paper final six games provides a welcome bookend to the brutal six-away-match opening stretch at the start of LAFC’s season.

Bradley feels succeeding in MLS depends on a team’s ability to adapt.

“You are forced throughout the year to have flexibility,” he said. “Some tactical flexibility and have some versatility for how you put teams on the field on different days based on availability.”

With players like Adama Diomande and Danilo Silva returning from injury, Bradley aims to use the last six games to discover his best XI for the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.

“The hope is that as you go down the stretch, everybody is ready, everybody is in the best form,” said Bradley, “and then you have all your options, and then you feel like all the work for the season points in a strong direction for what your best team is. So I think we’re working towards it.”