There might be some more away support than usual when LAFC take on Liga MX side Cruz Azul in the first leg of their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series at Banc of California Stadium on Thursday (10:30 pm ET | FS2, TUDN), but head coach Bob Bradley says he’s not sweating it.
Asked by a reporter on Tuesday if he thought the atmosphere at Banc of California could be a little different than usual due to traveling supporters or any members of the club’s 3252 supporters group having previous allegiances to Cruz Azul, Bradley said he expects the Banc to be raucous as ever.
“Now they’re with us,” Bradley quipped, before adding: “We know that we when we step on the field in Banc of California that our supporters will win out. They’re there for us every game and we’re excited.”
“They’re smart, they’re dangerous, going forward it will be a big challenge.”LAFC vs. Cruz Azul
Thursday, March 12 at 10:30pm Banc of California Stadium GET TICKETS
— LAFC (@LAFC) March 10, 2020
As far as his club’s approach on the field, Bradley said that hosting the first leg in this round, after playing the visitor role in the opening leg of their round of 16 series against Club Leon, carries with it a different mentality. While Bradley said he wants LAFC’s attack to retain its patented ruthlessness, the knowledge of the away goals tiebreaker means that it needs to be done in a way that puts a heavy emphasis on limiting transition moments headed the other way.
Cruz Azul boast a lethal attack in its own right, and the club is currently atop the Liga MX table at 6-1-2 and 19 points.
“We certainly know that in a home first leg that as we are pushing to score goals, we need to do it in a way that doesn’t set up a possibility of away goals, because they count,” Bradley said. “So, it requires a smart way of pushing the game and, as always, it requires an ability to handle and control transition moments.
“In two-leg ties, the home leg is really important and so we’ve got to try and put the pressure on, do it in a smart way and set ourselves up for the game at Azteca.”
Added forward Diego Rossi: “It is important to be strong at our home with our fans. It’s really important for us and then when you go away, it’s a little bit more difficult [for them].”