Contrary to the 6-2 final score, the COVID-19-free MLS bubble version of El Tráfico was not like its previous iterations. Rather than a back and forth offensive battle like in the years of Zlatan versus Vela, this time the traffic was almost all one-way in the direction of David Bingham. In my years as a Galaxy supporter, I had never seen them give up, they were without a leader, without heart. But it had a silver lining. LAFC, in spite of a struggling backline, found their firepower without Carlos Vela. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Mohamed El-Munir each added to LAFC’s tally in the second half, destroying the Galaxy’s hopes after they led 2-1 during the first half. Diego Rossi, often viewed as a lieutenant to Carlos Vela, hauled in more than his share of the Black and Gold’s earnings for the night with four goals, in a route that toppled their biggest rivals.
Years before his debut with LAFC, a teenage Diego Rossi Marachlian, was already viewed as a versatile, dangerous playmaker, with just one ‘flaw’ – his 5’7″ stature. “I believe that maintaining humility can reverse any situation,” Rossi remarked in an interview in 2015, always willing to embrace the possibilities in his fledgling career.
It’s natural to compare him to fellow countryman Luis Suárez, the player he admired both as a youth and as an adult. Both left Uruguay at the age of 19, set on their journey to jumpstart a European career.
Unlike Suárez, Rossi’s always been patient. Rather than attempting to hit the European soccer market right away, he chose to come to LAFC to help boost his versatility and salary. He’s the same cool, calculating player on the pitch. Former LAFC fullback Steven Beitashour explained how time seems to stand still when Rossi comes towards the box. “When he gets around the box everything just kind of slows down for him. I feel like in training, he’s never just lacing one as hard as he can, it’s always placement with some power.” Rossi has always been there, aiding his teammates, scoring incontestable goals, unlike his counterpart, Vela, who racks in many PKs every season. Now that he’s getting the credit he deserves, how much longer will LAFC’s lucky Young Designated Player signing stay around? Enjoy him while he’s still with MLS because he is a rare find.
featured image: Courtesy MLS Soccer