After a glorious 2022 season, LAFC have already switched its focus unto the offseason where they’ll make moves to strengthen an already stacked team. The Black and Gold already made some moves, declining the contract options for Cal Jennings, Danny Trejo and Tomas Romero. The club also exercised contract options on Kellyn Acosta, Latif Blessing, Maxime Crépeau defenders Mamadou Fall, and agreed a 3 year contract extension with defender Ryan Hollingshead. Here are some positions the club can look to reinforce the team and make a run for back to back MLS Cups.
With Kellyn Acosta and/or Jose Cifuentes most likely leaving the club soon, the club should focus on getting a talented midfielder. Cifuentes has been linked to a few European clubs from the Premier League and La Liga and his move seems like the most likely. But while an interior may seem more necessary, a pivot seems more important. Ilie Sanchez was one, if not the most important player in this team last season. This importance is mainly due to the style of play that LAFC bases its football on. A Pivot to give Sanchez a rest is necessary, or event when he’s out injured or unavailable. Last season the team was one with Sanchez and one without him. LAFC has other midfielders like Latif Blessing and Sebastian Mendez, but none can really play in that pivot position like Sanchez.
The attack might be the most stacked area in this team, but they’re lacking a true backup to ‘Chicho’ Arango. This team Is full of wingers, and while Carlos Vela can and has played through the middle, this team doesn’t have a true striker aside Arango. A player like Danny Musovski, that type of backup, would be excellent for this team.
Maybe a new DP?
LAFC announced that the club would be renegotiating Cristian Tello’s contract, which means he could no longer be a DP for the team. This could open the door for LAFC to make Gareth Bale a DP in the summer when his contract ends and the club resign him. If Bale leaves, we could have an open DP slot. This is where the club could use it for an attacking midfielder like many fans and people have speculated since last year. Based on Bale’s performances last season, aside from the final, I don’t think many would miss him if he left in the summer. It’ll be interesting to see how Bale performs after the World Cup and what the club does with a possible DP spot.
Lastly, the club should be looking for a defender, most likely a center back. Club still counts with Ibeagha, Chiellini, Segura and Murillo, but I don’t really trust 3 of those right now. We saw how the pairing of Murillo and Ibeagha can look. We saw it in MLS Cup. It’s a pairing that does not give you the sensation of security. Ibeagha is probably the weakest of them all, usually leaving himself exposed, and putting the team in tough situations. Murillo on the other hand is a great center back when he’s paired with someone better and who can cover up for his limitations. It wouldnt be surprising at all for the club to let go of one of them and going for another center back, specially with the talent pool in the league.
It is crucial for this team to strengthen itself if they intend to for it all again. We have to remember the club will also play the CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament they were close to winning in 2020. The fans want all four titles next season and in order to do that, your bench has to be almost just as strong as your starting lineup. It is the only way to stay competitive all the way through.