LOS ANGELES — The Week 8 match between Western Conference heavyweights was supposed to be close.
But LAFC were a class above in their dominant 4-1 win over the previously undefeated Seattle Sounders. In his postgame press conference, though, LAFC boss Bob Bradley pumped the brakes on the hype his side are receiving.
“I don’t think we’re doing something that’s so different and unique,” he said, noting years in which the league saw quality from other teams, citing Toronto FC, Atlanta United, the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City as examples. “I don’t think we’re the ones setting the standard, that would be wrong.”
But was the Week 8 victory at least his side’s best performance over 90 minutes so far?
“Maybe,” Bradley shrugged, taking up the challenge to find issues with his team’s play. “The beginning of the second half, too many sloppy passes — that led to their goal — a couple of times where, defensively, guys go flying in and don’t control their feet.”
Despite being outshot 16 to 6 on the night, Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer insisted afterward that the difference between the teams on the day was LAFC’s ability to finish.
“Games like this with two very good teams, you have to make plays,” he told reporters afterward. “They made more plays then we did and that’s the bottom line.”
The Sounders boss — who told The Athletic’s Matt Pentz last month that he believed his side could beat LAFC twice en route to a 10-0 perfect start — lamented that he prepared his team for the balls into space, but felt they didn’t execute on the day.
“LAFC played very well,” Schmetzer said, singling out Carlos Vela for credit during the first goal, while maintaining that his side could have done more with the other three goals.
Sounder’s midfielder Cristian Roldan agreed with his coach, adding that Sunday’s defeat was more of a matter of Seattle playing badly than LAFC playing well, but he accepted the result as a possibility when teams come to Banc of California Stadium.
“It’s always going to be tough coming here to LA to get a result,” said the Southern California native, who had family in the stands for the game. “In the end, you take it to the chin and move on.”
LAFC players and coaches won’t be too perturbed by the sparse praise from their opponents. They victors also felt they could have played better — all the way down to Mark-Anthony Kaye, who logged a man-of-the-match performance.
“His passing wasn’t that great tonight,” Bradley said flatly, pointing out the places where the Canadian midfielder might have been sharper.
“I’m very hard on myself, so I don’t think it was my best game in an LAFC jersey,” he said. “Just because we got a decent amount of assists and goals and contribute to the stats, people might think that we had a really good game. But when you look closer at it, I still think that we could tighten up on certain things.”