After his LAFC side defeated the Philadelphia Union at home last weekend, head coach Bob Bradley didn’t seem to be looking forward to the prospect of an early afternoon kickoff time the following Saturday.
“When we come back, it’s one of my favorites: the matinee special,” Bradley said, jokingly. “And if you see the 10-day forecast it’s going to be hot.”
At least Bradley doesn’t have to worry about playing in the middle of the day now. High temperatures caused Saturday’s match with Orlando City at Banc of California Stadium to be rescheduled to 8 p.m.
But Bradley has a new concern: learning from Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Houston, in which LAFC led 2-0 until the fourth minute of stoppage time.
“You never really turn the page,” Bradley said. “You look at situations, we look at how we handle moments, decisions, reactions and then you make sure that those experiences help. That’s football. No matter where you are in the world there’s this balance between trying to finish out the game and trying to play football, get a third goal.”
For Orlando, the game will be the first for head coach James O’Connor, who took over July 2. O’Connor will be tasked with stopping an eight-game MLS losing streak for Orlando, which had rattled off six straight wins before the run of defeats.
“When there’s a change in coaches you almost throw everything out the window,” Bradley said. “Everyone’s going to be motivated and at their best, so you have to prepare for that and be motivated yourself.”
And if Bradley’s looking for something to give his team a boost, he may have exactly that in the return of Carlos Vela and Marco Urena from World Cup duty. Both are available for selection but Bradley said those decisions would come closer to game time. Although Omar Gaber, who represented Egypt, had his World Cup campaign come to an end before that of either Vela (Mexico) or Urena (Costa Rica), he will not be available.
“There are all these factors,” Bradley said. “The lead-up to a World Cup is four years of being away from home, then there’s the media pressure. Until I have the chance to see them some more and then talk to them and really size up what they’ve been doing, I’m not sure where we stand.”
Either way, Urena is pleased to be back.
“It’s so exciting,” Urena said. “It’s really nice. I’m so happy about everything because I really missed all the guys and all the people working here. I’m excited.”