LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Los Angeles FC took on FC Dallas Thursday, in what was their penultimate friendly before Champion’s League kicks off in two weeks. For the second time this preseason, Los Angeles played in an empty Banc of California Stadium. While supporters may have missed the action live, Last Word was on hand, to provide you with a recap of LAFC v FC Dallas.
Recap: LAFC v FC Dallas in Penultimate Preseason Friendly Match
With a handful of regulars still away, representing their respective countries, LAFC continued to give their youngsters a chance. While the results are irrelevant in friendlies, it is always nice to see your team compete hard, and continue to score goals. Finishing in a draw, 2-2, yesterday’s friendly was more about the performance of several players looking to make 2020 a big year.
Taking the Next Step
Two players who have really stood out from the rest this preseason have been Adrien Perez and Brian Rodriguez. Perez, who only featured in 12 matches, primarily as a substitute, in 2019, looks primed for a breakout season. Through three preseason matches he has already scored twice, but more importantly, has been playing with supreme confidence. With the recent news regarding an injury to Adama Diomande, it appears Perez may receive more responsibility sooner than expected.
In addition to Perez, 19-year-old Uruguayan, Brian Rodriguez, has been a force this preseason. Entering his first full season with the Los Angeles club, Rodriguez has already shown glimpses of thriving within this offense. At the moment, Diego Rossi not only remains on the team, but likely in the starting in XI. However, with the recent play of Rodriguez, LAFC should be a bit more open, should the right deal for Rossi present itself.
Dio Down With Injury
The biggest news from LAFC this week, was the announcement of injury to Adama Diomande. While speaking after training, Head Coach Bob Bradley told reporters “we’ll miss him at the beginning of the season.” Suffering a fracture to his fourth metatarsal in his right foot, Dio’s return is uncertain as an official timetable has not been set.
Pablo Sisniega was given the start in yesterday’s friendly. The 24-year-old keeper was the incumbent starter after Tyler Miller’s departure. However, after the arrival of Kenneth Vermeer, and his subsequent sparkling, preseason debut, the position looks up for grabs. Vermeer is a 34-year-old that brings a veteran presence to an otherwise primarily young squad, while also giving off a calming confidence between the posts.
LAFC will kick-off their inaugural Concacaf Champion’s League campaign in just under two weeks, and with just one preseason friendly left, both keepers have a short time to show why they should be number one.
A couple of the academy players saw action late in the match, and continued to impress. In addition, 2020 Super Draft selection, Jack Callahan, continues to look impressive within a talented LAFC squad. As the lone Super Draft pick still in the squad, Callahan can provide depth in the midfield. Regardless of what the final roster looks like, LAFC will not be lacking in the depth department. However, if there is one spot that could use a boost, it would be striker.
The injury to Dio leaves a hole in the attack, and while Adrien Perez looks poised to take on the extra responsibility, LAFC could use the help at the position. While they did give up two goals, the defense throughout preseason has been solid. With Walker Zimmerman returning from his camp with the US men’s national team, the defense will only improve.
The run of form for El-Munir and Diego “Chiqui” Palacios will only add to what was already a difficult defense to breakdown. As the preseason winds down, all eyes are now shifting to the Champion’s League, and the away trip to León. The final friendly will take place on Feb. 12th, as LAFC host Toronto FC.