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Hand sanitizers and temperature checks: LAFC tries to adapt to the new normal

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

LOS ANGELES -- After nearly two months of seeing his team only on Zoom or Facetime, Bob Bradley was back at LAFC's training facility Thursday, where he got to see many of his players work out in the flesh.

It was an important first step back from the coronavirus-induced shutdown that suspended the MLS season March 12. But, Bradley added, it didn't feel like normal.

"No, not really," he said. "It's great to see guys. Every player is excited just to get back on the field, put on their football shoes, get some touches, get some fitness.

"It's a start. But that's still a long way from the game."

MLS joined the NWSL in becoming the first professional sports leagues in the U.S. to allow organized practice sessions to resume when four of its 26 teams -- Atlanta United, Inter Miami, Orlando City and Sporting Kansas City -- trained at team facilities Wednesday. Five more, including LAFC, worked out Thursday.

The Galaxy say they will begin training at Dignity Health Sports Park on Monday.

 

Sixteen LAFC players took part in the individual hour-long workout, running, stretching, performing agility drills and dribbling around a series of multi-colored pylons on a 93-degree day at Cal State L.A. Most of Bradley's starters participated, including forward Diego Rossi, midfielders Latif Blessing, Mark-Anthony Kaye and Eduard Atuesta and defenders Eddie Segura, Tristan Blackmon and Jordan Harvey. Bradley Wright-Phillips, now fully recovered from hernia surgery, also took part.

"It's a good feeling to be able to get on a field that's nice, that's not turf and you don't have to worry about dogs leaving their messes everywhere," said Kaye, who had been training on an artificial-turf field near USC. "It was just nice to have a clean, safe space to practice.

"Just being around the guys is an amazing feeling. That team aura again feels really good."

Among the missing was captain Carlos Vela, the league's reigning MVP, and forward Brian Rodriguez. Vela is expected to practice Friday.

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