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July 13, 2020

Bob Bradley

Press Conference

LA FC 3, Houston 3

BOB BRADLEY: Good to get back on the field. Very pleased that there were some moments of good football.

Our ideas continue to go in a good direction. Certainly moments where our sharpness, not where we want. They have some dangerous attackers and so in transition we were a little slow to react on a few plays and paid the price.

I thought in the first half when we got forward in too many situations, we settled for a cross; in the moments when we created good movement, that led to Brad's first goal and Brad had a really similar chance for a second one.

But I really liked in the second half that we were able to vary it and make little passes off the edge of the defense and get Brian and Diego into about positions. I thought we were able to push the game in the second half, and that's a credit to the work the guys have put in.

Q. At least on the scoreboard, it was a game of two halves: You falling behind 3-1 at halftime and coming back. When you leave this game, do you take the positives from the second half and build on that, or do you try to correct the mistakes in the first half?

BOB BRADLEY: Look, the goals aren't the only part of what happens in the first half. There are moments where if we are a little bit sharper, I think we can finish chances. We certainly had a lot on the ball, but as I said earlier, I don't think that when we got around the box, some of our choices and decisions were very good. We didn't handle a couple of plays.

Memo Rodriguez on the first goal outside the box, instead of just closing down we turned our back. The second one, when Rodriguez came in from deep, the reaction in the defense, Tristan was a little slow to react. That's a play he's got to make, and the freak kick goal we just didn't handle well.

But I like in the second half we just were able to push the game forward. Still win the ball back often so that we could control the game in their half. As always, those little details, how big are the windows, what passes do you make, touches around the box, but when you think about not playing for this amount of time, still there's a lot of things that we're happy about.

Q. What were the things you emphasized to the team at halftime, and what were the tactical adjustments you felt you needed to make?

BOB BRADLEY: I've been talking about them. I think around the box we forced some passes. We forced some crosses. When a team is deep, when we have the ball, our decisions around the box, our ways of playing inside by also when they are packed in deep, those little passes off the edge, decisions, when to cross, when to play back and start again, those are things that I thought in the first half weren't as good as they needed to be.

Q. What is your expectation for Edward Atuesta, year three in the MLS, year three in your system, and what does his tactical evolution look like?

BOB BRADLEY: He continues to improve. In the midfield his ability to receive. Has an eye for passes. Obviously he's a skillful player. He's got really good instincts and reactions when balls turn over.

From the time that he's arrived till now, his understanding of -- in tight space, the right number of touches; he's skillful, but sometimes he's trying to get out of situations where in that space, he can play a little quicker or a little faster, but in all ways, he continues to grow.

I am also really pleased with the way he's taken more and more of a leadership role. He's a really smart guy and it's been really good for me to see guys like Mark-Anthony Kaye and Eddie Segura and Diego Rossi and Edward step up and take more responsibility in the group. It's something we are very happy about.

Q. Before the game you said probably not much players had 90 minutes ready on their legs. In that sense, were you surprised with someone especially on the physical part and in general on the game on your expectations, did the team surprise you in something or you were expecting most of what you saw?

BOB BRADLEY: What I said before the game was that there were certain guys that did not have 90 minutes in them.

But I think we have others that even with the layoff have done a great job. I think our trainings continue to push guys.

So I wasn't surprised that we could still push the game the way we did. It's the way we train every day and the way the guys come in with an attitude and push themselves, so that part is all the players taking responsibility.

Q. You've been involved in a few shootouts lately. Wondering what your feelings are about it. Do you feel like you need to batten down any areas, or are you just going to keep pushing the tempo?

BOB BRADLEY: We certainly don't want to give up goals but we want to play football where we control games, where we push forward, where we win balls back quickly. And if you lose your nerve, if you immediately start saying that, no, we can't play that way and everything else, then the ability to become a really good team the way we want to play get lost.

So we're not happy when we have games where we make three or four bad decisions, bad plays and every goal, every ball turns out in the net. But this is part of the process. If you want to be a team that plays up the field, then you have to have the courage to defend high. Your defenders have to be able to cover space behind.

Obviously Houston tried to take advantage with long balls. They play a lot towards Alberth Elis, who is really good in the air. They get flick ons, but that can't change the way we want to play. We have to control things. I thought that there were a lot of times in the game when we lost balls in the attacking part of the field. Our reactions and counter-pressing were really good.

So that still tells me that those are the kind of ideas that our team appreciates and that we use to play good football and we just keep trying to make it all a little bit better. Be sharper. Be better.

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