LOS ANGELES – Adama Diomande has made an instant impact with LAFC, and he's just getting started. He netted another goal in Saturday night's 2-0 triumph over visiting Columbus Crew SC, his fourth in his last three games, and is hitting the net at a pace even Josef Martinez would envy.
Diomande's seventh-minute finish doubled an early advantage Saturday night as LAFC (8-4-3) posted their second successive win, coinciding with two 90-minute outings from the forward, and climbed within two points of second-place FC Dallas in the Western Conference.
“Part of the great start was due to Dio,” head coach Bob Bradley said afterward. “His pure ability in terms of finding some situations and getting chances is great. We're asking a lot when we push him for 90 minutes. … Maybe on paper, he's not quite at 90 minutes, but he's got the mentality that if that's what you need at the moment, he's ready to do it. So it's a tribute to him.”
Bradley coached Diomande in 2015 at Stabaek – before he headed to Le Havre and Diomande left for Hull City – and the striker had his finest campaign, scoring 25 goals in 26 league and cup matches. Diomande tallied just nine goals in part-time duty over three seasons in England, and now he's starting to score like he did three years ago.
“First of all, I've already had Bob Bradley before, and I know his playing style and what he's about and all that stuff,” said Diomande, who signed with LAFC in early May and made his debut with five minutes against D.C. United a month ago. “It's easy for me to come into the group when you know the playing style, but still, of course, you need to be better with your teammates. I'm still adapting with my family, and, hopefully, I will get better results.”
It's hard to argue with what he's done so far. He came off the bench to halve FC Dallas' lead in a 2-1 loss on June 2, netted two goals – including a 90th-minute tap-in to even the score – in a 4-3 win at San Jose a week later. Saturday's goal, from Lee Nguyen's feed into the box, was virtually identical to the goal in Dallas. All four have been finisher's goals.
“He's a big strong dude, obviously has a nose for the goal, and he gives us something extra up there with his hold-up ability and his speed and his strength,” midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who has assists on two Diomande goals, told MLSsoccer.com. “He gives us another aspect of the game that helps is a lot in keeping possession and creating chances. …
“He's come in, and it's been seamless for him. He's a guy we can count on and a guy who's important to the way we play.”
Diomande says he still has some work to do before he'll be at his best.
“I hadn't played a full 90 since February. I've been in and out of the squad [at Hull City],” he explained. “I would say [I need better] sharpness with the ball. I know I can move it a little bit better, but it was a sign here today that I ran more than the previous games [with LAFC]. I'm a patient guy, so it's just [about progressing with] every game and training. It's just the small details [that need to come].”