LAFC’s New Kids on the Block: Midfielders and Forwards

Rodolfo Zelaya, known in El Salvador as “Frito”, could be one of those central strikers that fit in like a glove behind Diomande or Ramirez. He is already a green card holder so it makes it an even sweeter deal for LAFC. Zelaya is a CONCACAF Gold Cup standout and as one of the more mature midfielders on the roster, could provide maturity and leadership to compliment Lee Ngyuen. In spite of the match-fixing scandal of 2011, and his one-year ban from the national team, he has reinvented himself and is arguably the biggest soccer star of his nation.

The San Diego native, Alejandro Guido, comes to LAFC after a lengthy term at Club Tijuana. He spent seven years there building his career and supplemented it with stints on the U.S. U-17, U-18, U-20 and U-23 teams. To call him a poster child for the binational dream would be to simplify him too much. But he was offered opportunities on both sides of the border. UCLA offered a scholarship. MLS offered him a Generation Adidas contract. Monterrey almost signed him when he was 14. Guido was born in Chula Vista and lived in Tijuana. He played on one side of the border and went to school on the other. Both his countries offered him national team promises. He went with his heart and with his head. Unfortunately, he has also spend a fair amount of time on the injured list – broken foot, groin injury, torn ACL… He did not play much is what the bottom line is. He scored two goals in 56 appearances in all competitions for the Xolos. Keep in mind he’s just 24 and perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for him to shine.

Peter-Lee Vassel was the only player from the pool of 205 players at the 2019 MLS Combine to have never played a minute of collegiate soccer in the U.S.. Instead he worked his way up through the Jamaican system, playing for Jamaica’s Red Strip Premier League at Harbor View FC, and went to the MLS Caribbean Combine. He has caps with the Jamaican U-17, U-20, U-23 and MNT in 2018. Last night, he played his first 5 minutes as a substitute so was on the field for the winning goal. Not a bad start for this new young talent. “He’s a talented young guy. He’s got good feet. He gets better every day. He needs to be a little more consistent… We’re happy to have him,” Coach Bradley concludes in post-game.

LAFC is looking for diversity in players’ backgrounds, in their styles, in their lives. Adrien Perez is yet another example of how they come from all walks of life and he’s had a lot of community support in reaching MLS. He’s from Ontario, California and joins LAFC after two years in Major Arena Soccer. In his first year, he netted 27 goals. In his second year at Ontario Fury, he notched 20 goals and 5 assists in 10 games. He was recommended to the Fury by a youth soccer group coordinator who also paid his tryout fee. Before then he played for Loyola Marymount University finishing 4thall-time with 21 goals across 63 matches. It’s a safe bet that he will hunger for goals in MLS too.

 

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