Steve Cherundolo hailed the work of former coach Bob Bradley for implementing a successful system at Los Angeles FC before they host Philadelphia Union in MLS.
The Western Conference and Eastern Conference leaders meet on Sunday, with Los Angeles at the West summit after winning seven of their opening nine games in 2022.
The Black and Gold were 2-0 victors over Minnesota United last game, and Cherundolo revealed he is largely utilizing the tactics from Bradley, who left Los Angeles in November 2021.
“It’s not a new system,” Cherundolo said. “LAFC has played wonderful football in the past.
“And that was something we wanted to continue. And holding on to LAFC’s DNA that Bob and his staff have from Day 1 created was very important to me.”
Philadelphia, like Los Angeles, have only lost once all season but were held to a 1-1 draw with Nashville SC last time out.
Coach Jim Curtin believes the trip to Los Angeles will prove a milestone, given it was the Black and Gold the Union faced in 2020 when they started to turn things around.
“In a weird way, that game built us some real forward momentum,” Curtin said. “It’s a really important game in our history, as strange as it sounds.
“It put us on the map in more ways than people realize. It led to us starting that run to the Supporters’ Shield, it was a big moment in our club’s history. Those little moments lead to bigger moments.
“We’re still a growing club, one that does things a little differently. A lot of people talk about us now, which we’re proud of, but you go back to that game, a lot of big things happened.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Los Angeles FC – Ryan Hollingshead
Ryan Hollingshead was again on target against Minnesota, taking his tally to three for the season.
Philadelphia Union – Daniel Gazdag
Daniel Gazdag was in creative form against Nashville, producing the assists for Mikael Uhre’s goal – one of a team-high two chances he created.
KEY OPTA FACTS
•Los Angeles FC is unbeaten in three MLS matches against the Union, winning the first meeting in 2018 before draws in both 2019 and 2020. LAFC is the only team the Union has played but never beaten in its MLS history.
•Los Angeles FC’s 2-0 win over Minnesota United on Sunday took them to 22 points through nine games, equaling the best start in club history (2019). Only four teams have had more points at this stage of a season in MLS history (LA Galaxy – 25 in 1996 & 1998, 23 in 2010, Kansas City – 23 in 2000).
•The Union earned a 1-1 draw at Nashville on Sunday, taking them to 18 points, their most through nine games of a season in the club’s MLS history. Philadelphia has won only four of its 27 road games against Western Conference foes since the start of the 2016 season (D9 L14).
•Los Angeles FC got goals from substitutes Ryan Hollingshead and José Cifuentes in the final 10 minutes to beat Minnesota on Sunday. LAFC now has eight goals scored by substitutes this season, most in MLS and already most in a single regular season in the club’s MLS history.
•The Union’s 1-1 draw with Nashville saw goals in the 66th (Mikael Uhre) and 85th (Leal) minutes. Those were the latest goals scored in a Union match this season as Philadelphia had neither scored nor conceded a goal after the hour mark prior to Sunday’s visit to Nashville.