Steve Cherundolo: LAFC must ‘improve’ after 2-0 defeat to Portland Timbers

LAFC’s winless run continues after the Black and Gold fell to Western Conference rivals 2-0 at Providence Park on Saturday night.

The visiting side controlled possession in the late-night clash, but were unable to do much with it as Portland won on xG 2.38-1.21. Portland’s Larrys Mabiala found the back of the net in the 28th minute to open the scoring, and Claudio Bravo added a second in the 53rd minute to seal the win for the Timbers.

After firing head coach Gio Savarese, Portland is currently riding a three game unbeaten streak that includes two wins and one draw. On the other hand, LAFC have lost three straight and will need to get back on track soon to avoid slipping down the Western Conference table with the likes of Real Salt Lake, Houston Dynamo and Vancouver Whitecaps all looking to finish as high as possible in the standings as the playoffs approach.

“We’re in a negative moment … things are, in the offensive end, really difficult for us,” LAFC boss Steve Cherundolo said after the loss. “Goals are hard to come by at the moment, and we’re making individual errors as well, on the defensive end, which are costing us. Every mistake we make is being punished, and our half-chances in the offensive end are not being capitalized on.”

In LAFC’s three consecutive losses, they’ve scored just twice while conceding seven goals in total to Inter Miami, Charlotte FC and the previously mentioned Timbers.

“What I shared with the guys after the game is basically, it is what it is. The only way out of this is to put our head down, and to work hard, and to review our mistakes, and to try to improve. And I saw a group who’s willing to do that and to take that challenge on,” Cherundolo added.

Cherundolo and LAFC, who are still in third place in the Western Conference table with 40 points, will look to get back in the win column on September 16 when they play host to city rivals LA Galaxy for the fourth edition of El Trafico in 2023. LAFC won the first meeting 3-2 in league play back in April, while the Galaxy triumphed 2-0 in the US Open Cup in late May.

The July 4 MLS meeting between the two sides saw the Gs win again, 2-1, in what became the highest attended game in MLS history with 82,110 spectators at the Rose Bowl.

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