Los Angeles Football Club has had one of its best seasons since they were established in 2018. A season LAFC fans, players, and the club will never forget. The Black and Gold won the Supporters Shield for the second occasion. Following a Conference Final victory against Austin FC 3-0 and beating Philadelphia Union 3-0 on penalties.
During the summer, LAFC brought in four players from Europe despite Sebastian Mendez, who played for Orlando FC acquired by LAFC via trade in exchange for $300,000 of General Allocation Money in July.
With all my respect for Mendez, he played 11 times during the middle of the 2022 MLS season. Therefore, Mendez needed more time to prove his true potential, and he will deliver his quality next season.
Going back, LAFC and John Thorrington brought in four experienced champions, caliber- players from Europe in Giorgio Chiellini, Gareth Bale, Cristian Tello, and Denis Bouanga. Although they were brought in during mid-season, some delivered, while others played few games.
I will rate Chiellini, Bale, Tello, and Bouanga’s time at LAFC, although some needed more game time.
Los Angeles Football Club’s first target was former Juventus Giorgio Chiellini. The ninth-time Serie A champion agreed to join the Black and Gold on a contract through 2023 using Targeted Allocated Money on June 13.
On July 17th Chiellini made his debut against Nashville SC during a 2-1 victory and was substituted half hour before full-time. Despite his age, Chiellini brought experience, and the team was organized at the back while performing on the pitch. His presence and leadership gave the LAFC players extra confidence and motivation to win matches.
The Italian international made a total of 13 appearances in all competitions. Overall, Chiellini, either starting or coming off the bench, has won eight, drawn one, and lost four games under his belt for LAFC.
Overall, Chiellini coming to Los Angeles FC helped the team on and off the pitch. LAFC was smart to bring in a player with knowledge and champions league experience. Defensive players like Jesus Murillo, Sebastien Ibeagha, and Eddie Segura will learn a lot from him.
Chiellini ranking: 7.5
Another European player the Black and Gold brought in was former Tottenham and Real Madrid player Gareth Bale. He joined LAFC on June 27th and signed a 12-month contract using (TAM) with options through 2024.
After years of disappointment at Real Madrid, Bale needed a fresh start here in Los Angeles. Bale’s arrival brought LAFC extra firepower and quality to the team. Although Carlos Vela, Cristian Arango, and Kwadwo were on form last season. Bale’s strength, velocity, and heading accuracy have seen him excel despite the lack of game time.
The Welsh international made his debut against Nashville SC during the 2-1 win. In the next match, he scored his first goal for LAFC against Sporting Kansas City with the result of 2-0. Weeks later, Bale scored his second goal versus Real Salt Lake with a score of 4-1.
Bale made 12 appearances, starting two games, but remained mainly as a substitute in the last remaining matches.
In the MLS Cup final, Bale made his first playoff appearance as a substitute where his header in the 128th minute tied the game 3-3 and sent it to a penalty shootout.
Bale is known to score goals during finals, as he did against Philadelphia Union. He also scored against Liverpool in 2018 and against Atletico Madrid in 2014.
His goal was the latest goal in MLS history, and the LAFC will always remember it for the rest of their lives.
Gareth Bale: 8.5
Another player that Los Angeles FC signed was Cristian Tello, who signed a three-year deal with the club on August 26th. Although the former FC Barcelona player did not have his best years in Europe, his experience can help the team.
During his career at Barcelona, he was on loan to FC Porto for two seasons. In January of the year 2016, he went to play for ACF Fiorentina and spent one season scoring just six goals.
In 2017 he moved back to Spain and joined Real Betis on a five-year deal for 4 million euros. Although he made loads of appearances, Tello contributed by providing a total of 24 goals in all competitions and assisted the team.
Now he is playing for Los Angeles FC and made five appearances. In the MLS Cup, he came on in extra time as LAFC beat Union in a penalty shootout; he took the first penalty and missed.
Although he arrived in late August, the next season, he will bring experience and quality.
Christian Tello: 6
Another player LAFC brought in for a 5 million dollar fee was Denis Douanga. A similar player to Tello, the winger spent his football career in France for nine years. Douanga’s best years were at AS Saint-Étienne, where he spent 3 years at the club, scoring 26 league goals in 97 appearances.
He scored the match-winning goal against Portland Timbers to win 2-1, clinching LAFC’s second Supporters’ Shield. Also, He scored two goals against LA Galaxy 3-2 in the Conference semifinals sending the team to the conference finals versus Austin.
Douanga will provide goal threats in the box and cause problems in the final third. He would be integral to the team next year.
Denis Douanga: 7
LAFC and John Thorrington recruiting these four caliber players gave the rest of the LAFC squad confidence. They played a crucial role at the end of the season and delivered their best to win matches. LAFC can now challenge for major trophies in the next few years. Bringing players like Bale and Chiellini is important because they know what it means to win.