LAFC's Bradley: El Trafico just another game
LOS ANGELES -- Bob Bradley understands the hype around the "El Trafico" rivalry between LAFC and LA Galaxy (Friday, ESPN, 10 p.m. ET) but says it's just another game in a long season.
"There are a few reminders [to the players] that go along with these kinds of rivalries. They're a part of how we prepare every week, of how we play and what we want to be about when we step on the field. So, that part, I don't ever want to lose," the LAFC coach said after training this week.
"And then, it's just a reminder to believe in the work we do, in the way we play. [It's a reminder to] not let any other parts of the game -- the rivalry and the emotion -- interfere with what we've been about. In all ways, we feel good about the kind of football we play."
The kind football they play has been impressive so far this season. LAFC sits at 14-2-4, 10 points up in Supporters' Shield race. The Galaxy (11-8-1) are in third, 12 points back. LAFC has never beaten their rivals. The first match, in 2018, resulted in a instant-classic 4-3 Galaxy victory courtesy of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 45-yard volley to tie it and his subsequent game-winner.
Bradley & Co. will look to reverse that trend on Friday night at Dignity Health Sports Complex in Carson, California. To do so, they'll have to play their game.
"There's a real sense of our ideas," he said. "There's a real sense of what that can look like every time we play. We try to work on that and improve in all those ways. We want to make sure that no matter the game, that that part is still our main focus. And then, like any game, we'll understand what the opponent is all about: their strengths, how they try to play, and what the game might look like."
LAFC's record-setting performance has them favorites to win the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup. Asked if he thinks his team needs to win both to consider this season a success, Bradley wasn't sure.
"Yeeh, I don't know," he said. "We set out at the beginning of the year to try to be a team that went out on the field, that went forward, that scored goals, that was hard to play against, that was fun to watch, and that would win trophies.
"We were disappointed with the Open Cup [1-0 loss] against Portland. We know that [the] Supporters' Shield is not only an incredible honor -- because it shows what happened throughout the whole season -- but, it also then gives you a fantastic road to the final. So, there are two [trophies] to play for. And that's what we're shooting to do."