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LAFC searching for the kind of spark Sporting KC found – Daily Bulletin

LAFC defender Jesús Murillo (left) and his teammates will try again to find their form when they take on rising Sporting KC in Kansas on Saturday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The highs and lows of a major league soccer season will be seen in Kansas on Saturday.

Without a win in their first ten games of the regular season, Sporting Kansas City stumbled badly from the start, suffering seven losses and three draws.

SKC are now on the right trend (just one loss in eight games, including four straight home wins) and have moved up to ninth place by 20 points above the Western Conference playoff line.

By remembering how to play together, including a 1-1 draw at BMO Stadium on May 17, the club overcame the crisis.

“We were honest when we didn’t win and didn’t get the results we wanted,” said Hungarian striker Dániel Sallói, SKC captain. “We tried to do team events. We tried everything to regroup and write on a blank page again. It was just a spark.”

The scorching moment also inspired what Sallói called the “fire pit dance,” which Kansas City flaunted four times in a win over Austin FC last weekend.

“A bit like the Ted Lasso method,” Sallói added. “If it’s silly but works, then go ahead.”

Hosting third-placed Los Angeles Football Club (7-3-5, 26 points) who started the year strong before their recent slump, SKC are in top form (5-8-5, 20 points) with the third most points in MLS since May 7, with a 5-2-2 in and out of the league, starting with his first win in Seattle.

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With that said, LAFC’s 4-6-2 record in all competitions over the same period seems nothing to worry about, other than the reigning MLS champions having scored just one goal in six games, losing five and drawing the other.

Previously, it took 67 competitive games for LAFC to be suspended that many times. This also represents the second-longest winning streak in LAFC history (after eight in a row in 2021), after three losses in 26 games through last September.

LAFC’s current downturn looks less like a rollercoaster ride with an inevitable surge – although players say that’s what they expect – and more like a snowball, gathering weight and speed as gravity does what it will.

The reason for the club’s crisis is believed to lie in its extensive fixture list, which includes 25 games and 33,004 miles traveled in four countries so far.

“They are in a very difficult situation, so we have to do our best to take advantage of it,” said Sallói. “I’m sure they’re scared of us in some way. You’re always scared of a team that’s in shape and that’s us at the moment.”

Poor play and fatigue have sapped LAFC’s confidence and led to less cohesion on the field. Players have highlighted the negative side of individual competition, in contrast to the dominant, dictating group that has been pushing and attacking at will since 2018.

“If you want to do more, it’s important to find out whether you’re doing more for the group or as an individual,” said Colombia centre-back Jesus Murillo. “You always want to do what’s best for the group, so it’s easy to overdo it.”

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If coach Steve Cherundolo’s players can remember what makes them so impressive and get at least a point in each of their next four games, LAFC will be 300 points faster than any other MLS team.

LAFC AT SPORTING KC

If: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. PT

Where: Mercy Park for Children, Kansas City, Kansas

TV/Radio: Apple TV – MLS Season Pass/710pm, 980pm

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