LOS ANGELES — LAFC may have outperformed some expectations in their expansion campaign in 2018. That doesn't mean there is any secret shortcut to building on that foundation in 2019, says coach Bob Bradley.
“The last thing I ever want is to act like we’ve got some revolutionary idea here,” Bradley said in his final public availability of the season on Wednesday. “I don’t think that’s true at all.”
Instead, it's gradual, day-by-day improvement that is the priority, says Bradley, with room for growth in every area.
“Our decision making about when to go forward, when to make passes," he said. "Our ability to have more sequences of long passes. More sequences of putting passes together so that we move up as a team and then you lose the ball you are better positioned to keep the other team pinned in their own defensive half.”
Beyond specific technical and tactical improvements, Bradley also talked about improving his team's mental edge and confidence in imposing their style on other sides.
Bradley has given player-specific homework for the offseason, asking certain players to watch tape of specific individuals. Whether Andre Horta and Danilo Silva — who joined LAFC during the secondary transfer window — would be given a heavier workload to get better aligned to the MLS calendar, Bradley insisted that all offseason plans were made on a player-by-player basis.
“It’s different for different guys, depending on what they’ve been doing for the last six months to the last year." he said. "It’s based upon age. It’s based upon things that we see that need to continue to be addressed. For all players, using the short offseason in ways to keep developing, that becomes more and more important for all athletes in all sports.”
The idea is that this sort of development — an extension of the style of play Bradley has driven into players’ heads throughout the year — will become the fabric of a great team as the seasons begin to stack up.
“If you watch Golden State play basketball obviously they have talent," Bradley said. "They’re smart. They work hard. They’ve got leaders. They’ve got guys that make other guys better. Probably if you looked around in most sports, teams that really do well have some version of all those things.
“[We currently have] a little of that, but how do we build on it?”
The coach believes most of the team will be back around the performance center right after New Years, several weeks before official training is set to begin. Between now and then, LAFC will be communicating with players and monitoring their fitness but he trusts that his players will do what’s best for themselves on a case-by-case basis.
“You don’t see too many guys these days that the season ends and they just disappear and go on vacation and show up not having done anything," he said. "That wouldn’t work real well.”