LAFC won’t change style despite key absences due to international duty

As LAFC look to charge up the table as MLS enters the stretch run of the season with eight matches left, the reigning Supporters’ Shield champions will be without a number of key contributors for at least four games due to international duty. 

League-leading scorer Diego Rossi and fellow Designated Player Brian Rodriguez will be with the Uruguayan national team while Diego Palacios and Jose Cifuentes will be with Ecuador for the next few weeks. LAFC are hopeful that the quartet will be available to return to the field against the LA Galaxy on October 25. 

“Even when we’re down some players, the overall way we want to try and play stays the same,” head coach Bob Bradley told media on a virtual press conference Tuesday. “There can be some minor adjustments. … What you’ll see is us, just doing our best.”

LAFC begin this stretch against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday (9 pm ET | TV & Streaming). The club have also been without regining Landon Donovan MLS MVP Carlos Vela for 12 of their last 13 games.  

“It’s very difficult to start these games without some of our big-name players, but that just means some players here will have to step up,” Eduard Atuesta said through a translator. “We just need to have the right mentality and play the right way.”

Despite a few injuries piling up and the club intent on climbing the table, LAFC didn’t consider any attempts to keep the players in Los Angeles instead of releasing them to their international squads. 

“As a club, we’ve always tried to work closely with our players, to help them get better, to challenge them and further their careers,” Bradley said. “Part of that involves earning their way into the national team. That’s our philosophy from the start, we can’t change that. I think guys appreciate that. So, no, we didn’t ask for any special consideration.”

Bradley said his own history as an international manager, first with the US men’s national team then Egypt, had no influence on that decision. 

“The relationships you have with players, the partnership to try and help them improve, that’s key,” Bradley said. “That’s a big part of motivation. If players feel they play for a club that doesn’t care about them in other ways, it doesn’t create the best situations. We’ve always been strong with that, I’m proud of LAFC.”

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