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Bale and Chiellini setbacks ´pretty normal´, says Cherundolo

SoccerNews in MLS 17 Aug 2022

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Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini’s recent absences from the Los Angeles FC squad due to fitness reasons is “pretty normal”, according to head coach Steve Cherundolo.

Recent high-profile signings Bale and Chiellini sat out Tuesday’s 1-0 win over D.C. United, having previously also missed the 5-0 victory over Charlotte FC last weekend.

Cherundolo confirmed the pair, who have each featured four times since officially arriving at the club in June, have not been called upon for precautionary measures.

The LAFC coach will continue to play it safe when it comes to selecting the experienced duo, with Bale having yet to make his first start for the MLS side.

“Gareth hasn’t been 100 per cent,” Cherundolo said. “We are just kind of moving along. I think this is pretty normal – aches and pains in the middle of a pre-season for a player.

“Trying to get your body in a position where you can play 90 minutes week in, week out in the middle of a season is difficult and sometimes there are little mini-setbacks.

“That’s where we currently are with both of them. But it is purely precautionary.”

Substitute Mahala Opoku scored the only goal of the game against D.C. United as LAFC extended their club-record winning streak to seven matches.

Cherundolo’s charges are top of the overall MLS standings and return to action on Saturday with a road game at San Jose Earthquakes.

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