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LAFC Finds Themselves in Unknown Territory

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Since its debut in 2018, LAFC has been among the best in MLS regarding on- and off-the-pitch success. Aside from the horrific 2021 season, when they missed the playoffs, everyone can agree that we’re used to seeing them fighting for the top spots in the West.
However, this season, they find themselves in odd territory, sitting in 7th place in the Western Conference with a 3-3-3 record. 

But what does LAFC owe this odd start of the season to? There isn’t only one answer; it would be impossible and foolish to say there is only one.

It ranges from losing important players like Diego Palacios and leaders Giorgio Chiellini and Carlos Vela to new players not producing what is expected of them yet, certain players in lower form, and a tactically limited coaching staff. 

Player Departures

If losing Cristian “Chicho” a year ago wasn’t enough, LAFC lost three key players this past offseason: Palacios, Chiellini, and Vela. Chiellini retired, while Palacios and Vela left the club as free agents. Vela’s situation is a weird one, considering the club has said they wanted to keep the player, but no agreement to an extension has been found. Three key pieces of LAFC’s starting XI departed the club and have not been properly replaced.

It is no surprise why the team’s defensive and offensive numbers have gotten worse. Yes, players like Hugo Lloris and Eduard Atuesta (loan) were signed, plus the extension of Denis Bouanga, but the rest of the team has gotten weaker. 

What’s Needed?

You have to start with the defense. Jesus Murillo and Aaron Long have not been at their absolute best and have looked mistake-prone so far this season. Eddie Segura does not look like his old self pre-injury. Hopefully, the signing of Maxime Chanot will improve the backline and put the rest of the center backs on their toes to improve their performances. 

The other side of the ball also needs to be improved. One of the things you notice the most in this new LAFC team is the lack of weapons. The team NEEDS to take advantage of their open DP spots and sign top players who can make a difference. And that is exactly what they seem to be aiming at in the summer. It has not been made “officially official,” but we can all expect French striker Oliver Giroud to join the club in the summer after the European season ends. Giroud, who has 13 goals and 8 assists in Serie A this season, is expected to take over a DP spot.

So, Who is next? Personally, I would LOVE an Antoine Griezmann or Kevin De Bruyne type of player.

Both players have been linked to MLS in recent times, Griezmann more than De Bruyne, with either of them fitting perfectly into Steve Cherundolo’s team. Considering how Cherundolo’s system works, that defensive/counter-attacking team, Griezmann, would fit perfectly. The Frenchman already plays a similar style in Atletico Madrid and in the French National Team, thriving on both sides of the ball and being one of the best players on and off the ball.

On the other hand, De Bruyne gives you a bit less work on the defensive side of the ball, but he is arguably the best-attacking midfielder in the world today.

With how limited this team is tactically and their problems creating dangerous attacking scenarios, having one of the best passers in the game and the best playmaker in Europe could certainly give you an edge.
Griezmann seems like the most probable out of the two to join MLS in the summer, but if either of them is a real possibility, you have to go all out for either of them.


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