Armchair Analyst's Breakdown
- Strength: In theory they have, what, four or five guys who could be Best XI? Maybe six if you buy Kellyn Acosta as a d-mid?
- Weakness: “In theory.” In practice, that defense was breached way too easily each of the past two seasons.
- Eduard Atuesta: It’s been a year of big change for LAFC, with Eduard Atuesta departing for Brazil's Palmeiras this winter. The Colombian midfielder earned Best XI honors in 2019 and was among the league’s best players at the base of LAFC’s midfield. Ilie Sanchez was signed in free agency, while some believe Acosta will fill the void in the No. 6 role. With Atuesta and head coach Bob Bradley (for Toronto FC) also leaving this offseason, the core of that historic 2019 season is just about all gone.
- Tristan Blackmon: Tristan Blackmon, too, was a regular part of that Supporters’ Shield-winning 2019 team. The American defender was selected by Charlotte FC in the Expansion Draft and traded to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, where he’ll slot in nicely as a right-sided center back in a back three. Blackmon made 64 appearances with LAFC.
- Kellyn Acosta: A contrast from recruitment strategy in years past, LAFC leaned heavily into the trade market. None were bigger than adding Acosta from the Colorado Rapids for $1.1 million GAM plus another $400k GAM in incentives. The US international made 79 appearances with Colorado, part of 196 MLS matches between FC Dallas and Colorado. Will he be a No. 6 or No. 8 under new head coach Steve Cherundolo? TBD.
- Maxime Crepeau: Goalkeeping has been an issue for LAFC since Tyler Miller left after their historic 2019 season, so the club went out and got one of the best in MLS. Canada international Maxime Crepeau wanted out of Vancouver and LAFC acquired him in a trade for $1 million GAM.
- Franco Escobar: Another intra-league addition, LAFC acquired defender Franco Escobar from Atlanta United for up to $600k GAM. Escobar spent 2021 on loan with Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys after three hugely successful seasons with Atlanta and has made 63 appearances in MLS, a key part of ATLUTD’s MLS Cup-winning team in 2018. The right back should slot straight into Cherundolo’s starting XI.
- Ryan Hollingshead: As part of their new-look group, LAFC added Ryan Hollingshead in a trade with FC Dallas. Hollingshead made 193 appearances with FCD and is regarded among the league’s best left backs, particularly in an attacking sense. He and Ecuadorian international Diego Palacios will compete for minutes as the position becomes one of strength for LAFC.
- Full roster
Projected Starting XI
- Charles Boehm: 9th in West
- Tom Bogert: 7th in West
- Matt Doyle: 3rd in West
- David Gass: 8th in West
- Sam Jones: 3rd in West
- Joe Lowery: 4th in West
- Greg Seltzer: 2nd in West
- Andrew Wiebe: 4th in West