Football: Soccer-LAFC bank on new coach, fresh faces to return to the playoffs


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – LAFC are betting that new head coach Steve Cherundolo, a wholesome Carlos Vela and new blood will assist flip the web page on a disappointing 2021 season during which they missed out on the MLS playoffs for the first time.

Speaking to reporters from a sun-soaked coaching camp on Thursday, Cherundolo mentioned the temper was upbeat as the staff begins to gear up for its season opener on Feb. 26.

“The first couple days have included a whole lot of enter for the guys, however they have been very receptive and filled with vitality,” mentioned Cherundolo, who changed Bob Bradley after the staff completed ninth in the Western Conference final season.

The absence of star ahead Vela for a lot of the marketing campaign due to harm was a giant cause the enlargement franchise missed expectations in simply its fourth season in the league.

But Vela is reportedly again to full energy and oddsmakers have pegged the black-and-gold as early favorites to win the MLS Cup alongside Seattle and New England.

In addition to including Cherundolo, the staff acquired veteran midfielders Ilie Sanchez and Kellyn Acosta to plug holes left by offseason departures.

“Both are winners, each are staff gamers, each are excellent communicators. All attributes we had been on the lookout for,” Cherundolo mentioned.

The staff additionally added versatile defender Franco Escobar, who gained the MLS Cup with Atlanta in 2018.

“He’s an MLS champion and he’s bringing that to the coaching subject each single day,” Cherundolo mentioned.

“It’s crucial for our youthful gamers to see that have and to perceive what it takes to win.”

And the largest offseason information could also be but to come.

LAFC are reportedly on the cusp of buying goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau from the Vancouver Whitecaps, a transfer that would supply stability at the place after three totally different keepers performed recurrently final season.

“We don’t have anything official to announce proper now,” Cherundolo mentioned when requested about Crepeau. “I do know talks are underway, so we hope to have large information quickly.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, modifying by Ed Osmond)

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