Editorial — The offseason is officially underway in full stride. While the MLS Expansion Draft claimed one — now former member, Lee Nguyen — LAFC announced more roster moves earlier today. As with the announcement of protected players, this one comes with a few surprises that will have fans wondering what the future holds.
The core members of last year’s historic squad will return, for the most part. While there were a couple of surprising options declined, LAFC seem to be leaning into the youth they have at the club. The obvious goal for the upcoming season will be to take the next step, and bring home the MLS Cup. After the latest round of roster moves, it would appear the club have a plan in place to achieve that goal.
Those Who Stay
After the recent roster moves, LAFC now have 18 players currently on their roster. As it stands, the roster for next season will consist of:
- Goalkeeper: Pablo Sisniega
- Defenders: Walker Zimmerman, Tristan Blackmon, Mohomed El-Munir, Eddie Segura, Danilo Silva & Diego Palacios
- Midfielders: Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing, Alejandro Guido & Mark-Anthony Kaye
- Forwards: Adama Diomande, Adrien Perez, Josh Perez, Brian Rodriguez, Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, Rodolfo Zelaya
A lot of the names will be of no surprise. However, to see the likes of Zelaya, Guido and Silva given a second chance is definitely something of note. Guido spent a majority of last season recovering from injury, while Silva and Zelaya never broke into the starting XI. It remains to be seen if this means they will be given another chance at regular minutes. For now, they will at the very least provide the depth needed to push for a title.
The city where stars are made.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 20, 2019
In addition to the aforementioned Nguyen — who was selected by Inter Miami in the Expansion Draft — several veterans find themselves facing life away from LAFC. Defenders Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey will be out of contract and the team has allowed them to become free agents. Defenders Lamar Batista and Dejan Jokovic, along with midfielders Peter-Lee Vassell and Javier Perez, had their options declined.
Declining Vassell means that, to date, LAFC have yet to have a draft pick remain with the club past their first season. However, the recent roster moves do open up several international slots, giving LAFC even more options when it comes time to add players.
Last Words: What It Means
Seeing players like Nguyen, Harvey and Beitashour look for a new club feels odd. However, LAFC stated that they are in negotiations with several players out of contract. This means that familiar faces may still see a return to Los Angeles. Supporters can take comfort in knowing every move made is with a single goal in mind.
As tough as it sounds, sentiment can be a club’s biggest fault — just ask Arsenal. However, in just their short time, the LAFC front office has shown they have no qualms about making the hard decision.
That is, as long as it benefits the ultimate goal: winning their first MLS Cup.