New York City FC are on the road this weekend as they travel to California to face LAFC.
For this edition of The Away End, we caught up with the voice of the team and former ESPN reporter, Max Bretos, to discuss Bob Bradley and his appreciation for the number six position.
Hi Max, thanks so much for speaking with us. What has been your favorite moment covering the team?
Has to be the Playoff game with the Galaxy in 2019. It is hard to get the attention of Los Angeles, especially in sports where the competition is so fierce. That day, and the days prior, you could feel this was going to be a City-wide event that everyone would be talking about. It was. I remember walking through the stadium that day; the energy was palpable. You didn’t want it to end.
Bob Bradley is a hugely respected coach. What have you enjoyed most about his time in charge of the team?
Always hear about coaches who have been at it for a while sticking to their guns. Bob is not like that. He has adapted his philosophy to the modern game and the Club's vision for the team. His training sessions are also a sight, as he implements the game plan. Players swear by it and are always eager to get better. Bob also makes time for those who cover the team, which we appreciate.
From a tactical standpoint, what strengths should Ronny Deila and his team be wary of heading into the game?
I don’t think it’s any secret, but LAFC come out and play/press from the jump. This season that energy is growing game to game, and I see that trend continuing, especially with the squad returning to full fitness. Bring your running shoes.
Are there any weaknesses you think NYCFC can exploit?
Set pieces were a work in progress last season, but there has been a visible improvement in both the offensive and defensive end. LAFC wants to limit turning the ball over in attacking 3rd to avoid long counter attacks.
Pablo Sisniega is an inexperienced goalie, but he has looked confident in 2021.
If you were to identify the team’s danger-man, who would that be?
The easy answer is Carlos Vela, and he is getting closer to top form following a quad injury in the season opener, however, I am going to say Eduard Atuesta. I truly believe the #6 is the most important position on the field, and Eduard is the best in the league IMO.
He is also becoming a lethal set-piece threat.
And finally, for any fans thinking of making the trip to LA in the future, are there any particular attractions you’d suggest checking out?
All due respect to New York, New Orleans & Chicago, but the best food in the Country is in Los Angeles so bring an appetite. Koreatown is a powerhouse. I would recommend getting dinner at one of the spots like Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, Quarters, or Ham Ji Park. There's Great Mexican food; you can hit a truck, like Flamin or Leos, also Tacos 1986. Always a great day for the beach, down in the South Bay, maybe a hike in Santa Monica or Palos Verdes mountains.
New York City FC are in action at Banc of California Stadium against LAFC on Saturday, May 29 with kickoff taking place at 5:00 PM ET (UniMas/NYCFC.com/radio).