LAFC didn't have a bad season in 2020, but they also didn't perform at quite the same world-beating, record-shattering clip that they did in their Supporters' Shield-winning campaign of 2019.
There were several reasons for that, including the lengthy injury absence of 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela and some erratic play on the defensive side of the ball. Either way, the focus this offseason has been figuring out how to recapture the previous magic that made LAFC arguably the best team in MLS history.
Are they set up to do that? That was one topic of discussion on the latest Extratime, with host Matt Doyle contending that Bob Bradley's group should find themselves right back among the league's most-feared teams in 2021. Doyle cited several factors to support that, including the signing of highly-touted South Korean right back Kim Moon-hwan and the return of center back Jesus David Murillo that should shore up the inconsistent back line.
Furthermore, Doyle said, the loan of Brian Rodriguez leaves an open DP slot that they can fill with a proven center forward.
"It was night and day once [Murillo] came last year," Doyle said. "They looked like the 2019 version of LAFC with him in the back line. And three, they opened up a DP slot. Brian Rodriguez was really good, but he's not going to start over Carlos Vela, and he's not going to start over Diego Rossi, and if you have him there then it means you've got to play one of those two guys out of position at center forward.
"Well, right now the center forward depth chart is Danny Musovski and Corey Baird, pretty good players, but I think the real starter at center forward for LAFC is 'open DP slot'. And I think that, with the solidity they showed in Concacaf Champions League, with Carlos Vela rested and uninjured, and Diego Rossi coming back, and that whole central midfield coming back, upgrades at both fullback slots, this team -- they've had a really, really, really good offseason, and having that open DP slot makes them absolutely terrifying going forward."
Check out the full clip below.