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Soccer

LAFC will try to extend four-game winning streak against visiting Philadelphia

In an expansion team’s first season, club records are frequently established. A four-game winning streak in all competitions — the longest in LAFC’s history so far — would not be a record-breaking run for many other franchises.

With a chance for his team to extend that streak against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium, LAFC coach Bob Bradley recognized the team could still find ways to improve.

“The way we’ve been working remains exactly the same,” Bradley said. “We have our ideas of what good football is for us and we just keep trying to build on it. Against Columbus we had periods where we became a little too passive and dropped a little too much. I’d like to see us in good positions, not too deep down the field, so when we win the ball we can start passing. These types of things go in waves for us. But when I look at the big picture I see progress.

“I repeat over and over the things we want to see in our game and I think that that’s really paying off.”

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Philadelphia sits sixth in the Eastern Conference, in playoff position by one point, but will need to improve upon their away form in order to deny Bradley’s team. Philadelphia’s record in road games so far this year — one win, one draw and five defeats — is the worst in the East and its three road goals are the second least in MLS. The Union have been strong defensively so far this season however, conceding only 21 goals, the second fewest in the Eastern Conference.

The game starts a run of five matches in 19 days for LAFC, which travels to Houston on Tuesday before hosting Orlando and two consecutive contests with Portland in MLS and the US Open Cup. Bradley said his entire squad would have to contribute over the coming weeks.

“Everybody understands how we play football,” Bradley said. “In training every day, we constantly use different combinations to keep everyone ready. So now as we go into a busy stretch, we’re going to count on everyone.”

While forward Marco Urena and fullback Omar Gaber will return home from the World Cup after Costa Rica’s and Egypt’s group-stage exits, forward Carlos Vela, who was also selected as an MLS All-Star game starter this week, is still in Russia, where Mexico will face Brazil on Monday in a knockout game. Bradley said he continued to trade messages with his team’s leading goal-scorer.

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