Steve Cherundolo urged his Los Angeles FC side to respond to midweek disappointment when they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Los Angeles was eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup at the last-16 stage by bitter rivals LA Galaxy in midweek, but remain top of the Western Conference. The West leaders sit two points clear at the summit, but Cherundolo lamented his team’s outing in their last fixture on Wednesday.
“Disappointing performance first and foremost,” he said. “The loss has happened and it’s always hard to lose here, but the performance was more disappointing than the result. I saw an LAFC team that was undisciplined tactically and preoccupied, or occupied with the wrong situations, whether that be the referee or the opponents, and we were not where we needed to be to win the game.
“That was our message after the game, in phases like this a lot of things have come together and there’s been a lot of games but sometimes things don’t go your way. We will recover.”
The Quakes, meanwhile, are languishing in 11th in the West after a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City, and interim coach Alex Covelo expects another tough task on the road.
“We need to take this game as a lesson, understanding that all the games are important, and we have to be at 200 percent focus and ready to attack and defend better,” Covelo said.
“I think that right now, we need to recover the guys and prepare Saturday’s game as best as possible, understanding the days that we have ahead, put the best lineup on the field and try to get a good result in LA before the international break.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Los Angeles FC – Carlos Vela
LAFC will be sweating on the fitness of top scorer Vela after he limped off against the Galaxy. He has scored six goals this MLS campaign.
San Jose Earthquakes – Jackson Yueill
Yueill has scored in his last two West games, taking his tally to three goals in 13 MLS appearances this term.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Los Angeles FC won its first five MLS matches against San Jose, outscoring the Earthquakes 20-4, before losing the following four matches. San Jose is the only team to win four straight league meetings against LAFC, which ended that drought with a 3-1 win in the last meeting between the sides in October 2021.
– Los Angeles FC ended its two-match losing streak in league play with a 2-0 win at Columbus on Saturday. One of those two losses was a 2-1 defeat to Austin in LAFC’s last home league match. LAFC has never lost consecutive home MLS matches.
– The Earthquakes are unbeaten in four straight matches (W2 D2) following a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. San Jose has just one longer unbeaten run in league play since the start of the 2020 season, going 10 straight without a loss from July-August 2021.
– Vela and José Cifuentes came off the bench to score LAFC’s two goals in their win over Columbus on Saturday. Substitutes have now scored 10 goals for LAFC this season, twice as many as any other MLS team.
– Yueill scored San Jose’s lone goal against Kansas City on Sunday via a header. It was the seventh headed goal by the Earthquakes this season, more than any other MLS team in 2022.