Down but not out, LAFC are vowing for better fortunes in leg two of their Concacaf Champions League clash with Liga MX's Club Leon.
LAFC flew south to Mexico for their first competitive game of 2020 and fell 2-0 to Club Leon, fighting off preseason rust in a hostile environment. Leon, who sit third place in Clausura play, continued their perfect home record in 2020. Leon and their fans made it difficult for LAFC, including a not-so-friendly welcome to LAFC's Mexican superstar Carlos Vela in his home country.
"I was surprised that they were booing Carlos Vela," head coach Bob Bradley admitted after the match.
Vela didn't get much sympathy from the Club Leon players, either, as his four fouls suffered were easily more than any of his teammates.
"In their stadium and in front of their fans they're strong," Diego Rossi said. "But I think you saw an LAFC that pushed the tempo and tried to play good soccer. And I think that it was a nice game, an entertaining game.
A late Leon goal extended the aggregate deficit, but LAFC aren't feeling down. The reigning Supporters' Shield winners are ready to bounce back next week at the Banc of California Stadium, needing at least a two-goal win. If Leon score a crucial away goal, LAFC will need to win by three.
"It's 2-0, but we're going to work hard," Latif Blessing said. "We're going to prepare ourselves to win the next game. ... We did good, but we want to win. It couldn't happen that way but we're going to prepare next game to win this game. We need to win."
LAFC were without regulars Eduard Atuesta and Adama Diomande, while they played their first competitive match following the blockbuster trade that sent Walker Zimmerman to Nashville SC. Dejan Jakovic partnered Eddie Segura in central defense, with Tristan Blackmon at right back.
"We weren’t sharp in the attack and we made two big errors and paid the price," Bradley said. "Next week we have another chance in our stadium to put pressure on them from the beginning and get that first goal."
"In front of our fans it's going to be different," Rossi added. "We know they'll be there to support us and it's going to be very different."