LOS ANGELES, Calif. (January 15, 2019) – The days leading up to this past Friday’s 2019 MLS Super Draft saw the Los Angeles Football Club complete a deal with expansion club FC Cincinnati. LAFC sent their 16th pick overall, as well as $175,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM), in exchange for the 73rd pick overall.
The deal was also contingent on FC Cincinnati not selecting any current LAFC players in December’s Expansion Draft, which they did not. After moving outside of the top 20, LAFC had to wait until the second round to make their pick at 40th overall, where they selected Peter-Lee Vassell.
PETER-LEE VASSELL ADDS TALENT TO ALREADY DEEP MIDFIELD
WHO IS PETER-LEE VASSELL?
Unlike the majority of the players that are drafted, Peter-Lee Vassell doesn’t come from a collegiate background, but does come with plenty of experience. The 19-year-old Jamaican National spent his youth training with Montego Bay United. In 2017 he completed a move to Harbour View FC, who play in the top division of Jamaican League soccer.
In his two years at Harbour View he had 34 appearances with three goals. Then, there is all the international experience he has had, with caps at the U-17, U-20, and U-23 levels, with eight appearances and five goals in 2018 for the senior team of Jamaica. A seemingly humble, soft spoken young man who shows confidence in his ability not only on the pitch, but off, stating “I am prepared, to give my best, and add value to the team” shortly after he was selected.
WHAT HE BRINGS TO LAFC
That value that Peter-Lee Vassell hopes to add, comes two fold, pace and passing. Watching Vassell, the one thing that jumps out right away is his passing. His ability to find anyone, anywhere on the pitch, consistently putting in pinpoint passes, is incredible. The pace he possesses may not be as speedy as say Latif Blessing, but he isn’t far off, and he is just as quick.
Playing primarily as a midfielder during his time at Harbour View FC, he did play up front in the Jamaican National team. During that time he showed off his ability to drift into the No. 9 position and find himself open, with plenty of space, in and around the box. Not too often you see a player drafted in the second round, come in with a chance not only to play, but make an impact. Though consistent minutes may be hard to come by considering the depth at midfield in this LAFC squad, expect to see Vassell some time in 2019.
WHAT HIS IMPACT WILL BE IN 2019
Coming in on loan for 2019, though reports indicate a permanent deal is close, Vassell has plenty of competition for minutes. The midfield for LAFC is very talented, and very young. With the exception of 32-year-old Lee Nguyen, they are all under the age of 25. Mark-Anthony Kaye, Andre Horta, Eduard Atuesta and the aforementioned Nguyen will see the bulk of the minutes this season.
That said, the amount Vassell plays could be dependent on what formation Bob Bradley goes with in 2019. Last season LAFC primarily played variations of a 4-3-3, though they did experiment several times with a 3-4-3. It appears more likely that Bradley will employ the 3-4-3 for the upcoming season, which could see Peter-Lee used often in the right midfield position.
Coming into training he will surely be one of, if not the best passer on the team, putting him in prime position to gain minutes early and often. The best thing for Peter-Lee Vassell is that he is in a club that values growth of youth, with a coach in Bob Bradley who has helped mold his share of talented players.
Coming in not much will be expected of the 19-year-old, which will prove to be a good thing as it gives him the time and patience he will need to grow into the talented player many believe he will be. LAFC and the supporters should be excited about this young man, and excited about the direction the club is heading into year two.