4 stars who will make it a first season to remember for LAFC
Sparkling new Los Angeles FC made a dream start to life in Major League Soccer. In their first ever fixture, the new expansion side stunned Seattle Sounders, running out 1-0 winners. CenturyLink Field is by no means an easy place to go. All three Cascadia clubs, Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver have a rich football history and wholly engaged support. Seattle, however, boasts the biggest and by extension loudest ground of the three.
Thus, the Wings did incredibly well to get their first three points on the board. Managed by Bob Bradley, vastly experienced in American soccer but with a chip on his shoulder after his unsuccessful spell with Swansea City, LAFC are hoping to make this a first season to remember.
Here are four players who can help them succeed:
The 20-year-old celebrated his birthday (March 5th) early by writing his name into LAFC folklore. The Uruguayan scored the club's first ever goal.
A special talent, he was signed as a Young Designated Player, which means LAFC can pay him more than a regular player but not the unlimited amount a 'fully aged' DP could receive. He caught the clubs' scouts attention playing in the Penarol first team last season. More than one Major League Soccer team showed interest. It was LAFC who turned his head, and he has not looked back since.
He really impressed in their opener against Seattle, already showing an instinctive partnership with Carlos Vela. Rossi's goal was beautifully dispatched into the top corner and revealed genuine quality.
Bob Bradley will look to use him to his full potential. Rossi is still young, with much to learn. Nonetheless, luring him from Peñarol was an inspired piece of business.
Although Wesley Sneijder was the early favourite, Vela was LAFC's first Designated Player. Which means he has a lot of weight on his shoulders, even if it is buoyed by his multi-million dollar contract.
The 29-year-old began his career with Guadalajara before joining Arsenal in 2005. He never really nailed down a first-team spot in the Premier League for the Gunners and had loan spells at Salamanca, Osasuna and West Bromwich Albion during his time at the Emirates. He joined Real Sociedad in July 2012 for just €3 million and became a key player for them in his seven seasons with them. The Mexico international left La Liga side Real Sociedad in a deal which was announced in August but completed in January.
His skill and experience will be invaluable to the expansion side, perhaps in no way more than his influence on Rossi, whose goal he adroitly set up with a calm turn and precise through ball.
The experienced defender may prove Bradley's most important signing. He played well for them against Seattle, keeping the defence organised, and intervening to break up a near-certain goal. The 32-year-old has been playing for Montreal Impact the past two seasons. He understands MLS. He has also played for Brugge and Standard Liege in his career. Ciman's know-how will help Bob Bradley, and he will be an important figure in the dressing room. He is certainly a player who will make LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller feel safe between the sticks.
The primary attacking threats are Vela and Rossi. However, Latif Blessing will also be a huge player for them going forward. The 21-year-old impressed against Seattle, striking the post with a header in the first minute. He was signed from Sporting Kansas City to offer something different going forward. He is a right winger with a trick or two in him. Expect him to chip in with some goals.