Bob Bradley, LAFC parting ways after 4 seasons
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coach Bob Bradley and Los Angeles FC said they mutually agreed to part ways Thursday.
Bradley was the first and only coach in the Major League Soccer expansion franchise’s four-year history. The former U.S. men’s national team and Swansea coach led LAFC to the Supporters’ Shield in 2019 amid three consecutive playoff appearances, but LAFC missed the MLS postseason this year while finishing ninth in the Western Conference.
LAFC set the MLS record for the most points in a debut season under Bradley in 2018, and it led the league with 72 points in 2019 while scoring an MLS-record 85 goals with an exciting, fan-friendly style of play. LAFC then reached the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League final and became the first MLS team to beat three Liga MX clubs in a single tournament.
Nothing clicked this season for LAFC after a second straight year of key player departures and the continued injury problems of forward Carlos Vela, who has rarely been healthy since winning the league MVP award in 2019. LAFC finished ninth in the Western Conference at 12-13-9, missing the playoffs for the first time.
“It’s been incredible to have played a part in the early history of LAFC,” Bradley said in a statement. “From the beginning there was a real commitment to connect to the city and the fans and we shared some amazing experiences.”
The 63-year-old Bradley is the second-winningest coach in MLS history, posting successful stints with the Chicago Fire and the MetroStars earlier in his career. He went 58-34-32 at LAFC, racking up 206 points.
After Bradley led the U.S. men’s team from 2006-11, he embarked on an international coaching odyssey. After a three-year stint with Egypt’s national team, he became the first American man to coach a European first-division team with Stabæk in Norway and eventually worked his way to the Premier League, where he made more history for an American coach — although the Welsh club then fired him after 11 games.
Bradley reaffirmed his reputation at LAFC, which waited 11 days after its regular season finale to make the coaching change. If Bradley elects to continue coaching, he is certain to be a hot candidate for most MLS openings.
“He helped lay a foundation for this club that we will build on as we wish him well in his next chapter,” LAFC general manager John Thorrington said. “I am confident in our club and process that we will find the next head coach who will help lead us forward.”
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