As a new expansion club, Los Angeles FC is still almost a year from playing its first match in Major League Soccer, but the club announced the hiring of Bob Bradley as its first manager on Thursday. While LAFC has been actively trying to attract a few big-name players to its 2018 roster, the signing of Bradley might prove to be just as critical to the nascent club.
Although most of us remember Bradley’s stint as manager of the U.S. Men’s National Team from 2006-111, he spent the preceding decade with DC United, Chicago Fire, New York-New Jersey Metrostars (now the New York Red Bulls), and (now-defunct) Chivas USA. Bradley has spent the past five years as manager of the Egyptian national team, Stabaek in Norway, Le Havre AC in France and Swansea City in the English Premier League.
Being a manager of an expansion team in its inaugural season can prove to be difficult, but Bob Bradley has been there before. He was the first manager of Chicago Fire, as well as the first American manager in Norway as well as the EPL. Couple this with his prior experience in charge of various MLS teams and it’s clear that LAFC has found a competent manager to lead them into an MLS league that has shown measured improvement since its inaugural season in 1996.
Bradley’s tactical style isn’t high-octane, all-action soccer, but it’s solid and dependable, and will give LAFC a good base to build from. If LAFC GM John Thorrington can build a solid roster, Bradley should be able to get results. But LAFC is going to need to build a competitive squad in a hurry in order to compete in an MLS environment with more talent than it had when Bradley left. It remains to be seen if they’ll be able to accomplish that feat, while also competing with the Galaxy to develop a following in the area.