LAFC’s inaugural season began with six away matches. This time around, now the second newest kid on the MLS block kicks off its second year at home in what has arguably become one of the most captivating stadium environments in the league. In spite of a few changes in the offseason, their current roster boasts some returning fan favorites: Latif Blessing, who scored five goals and nabbed six assists in 2018; Carlos Vela who led the team with 14 goals and 13 assists; Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande, nabbing 12 goals each. Gone are SoCal native Benny Feilhaber (now with Colorado Rapids) and Marcos Ureña. It’s a new season and time to see if the momentum of a successful first year in which they reached the playoffs can become a backbone for the second year. One MLS team has set the bar high. Atlanta United FC’s dramatic second year, culminating in an MLS Cup, proved not only can a new MLS market sustain itself, but that a unique style of play can be created in a short period of time in this league. Last year, Coach Bob Bradley mentioned Barca regularly at practices, in pressers, in games. The goal wasn’t to replicate Barcelona’s style of play, but to remind his new team that they had the potential to build a new way to play. Fans were thus treated to some lovely attacking plays. Unfortunately, a naive defensive line, in the wake of former captain Cimán’s departure, proved too untested to battle far into the playoffs. Let’s see if this year, LAFC can keep building on the victories of their first year. “The key to longevity is consistency,” Jordan Harvey.
2019 LAFC First Team Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Phillip Ejimadu, Tyler Miller, Pablo Sisniega
Defenders (11): Lamar Batista, Steven Beitashour, Tristan Blackmon, Mohamed El-Munir, Niko Hämäläinen, Jordan Harvey, Dejan Jaković, Eddie Segura, Danilo Silva, Walker Zimmerman.
Midfielders (6): Eduard Atuesta, Alejandro Guido, André Horta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Lee Nguyen, Peter-Lee Vassell.
Forwards (8): Latif Blessing, Adama Diomande, Josh Pérez, Adrien Perez, Christian Ramirez, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, Rodolfo Zelaya, Shaft Brewer Jr.