Major League Soccer

Bob Bradley admits he can rely on in-form Cristian Arango

Chris Smith
LAFC have won their last two games following an eight-match winless run.
LAFC have won their last two games following an eight-match winless run. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LAFC manager Bob Bradley says he can rely on in-form striker Cristian Arango after his brace helped down Real Salt Lake 3-2 at Banc of California Stadium.

The Colombian striker failed to score in each of his opening three games in the Black and Gold following a move from Millonarios, but has hit the net four times in his last three appearances since.

Arango bagged a brace against RSL on Sunday night, including the opening goal after just 20 seconds - the fastest in club history. But more than just scoring goals, Bradley praised Arango's overall contribution to the team, offering the right qualities just when LAFC needed them.

"Chicho was fantastic. The two goals, but also his pure ability," Bradley told reporters after Sunday's win. "When we needed to play forward a little bit more, for him to hold on [to] balls and bring other guys into the game."

On Arango's mentality, Bradley added: "He made such a good first impression. He's a really good, solid guy, he's got a good mentality on the field. He's a guy you can count on.

"He plays for the team, but he also puts himself in positions in the box [where] he's a threat at all times. He's now showing he can play a really important role for us."

Aranco's form has been key to a welcome turnaround in form for RSL following a run of eight games without a win, losing five matches during that time.

But LAFC are still one place below the playoff line, training Sunday night's opponents on goal difference, highlighting the importance of the result. With 11 games to go, Bradley believes each one will be worth six points in their race for the playoffs.

"We said the other day, they're all six-point games now," Bradley said.

"So we've got to have a really strong mentality, and when you win some good games, you hope that you take things from those games. Confidence and the mentality at the end, even if the football's not perfect. Knowing how to see a game out and get the points, and carry that to the next game."

As the playoff race hots up, LAFC face three consecutive away games, first against Austin FC before trips to the Portland Timbers and California rivals San Jose Earthquakes.