LAFC 2017 Review
Expansion side, so everyone here is new and they didn’t lose anybody!
On the backline are bunch of guys familiar to MLS Fantasy players. Jordan Harvey will play left back, Steven Beitashour will be right back, and in the center LAFC sports a pairing we’ve seen in All-Star games: Walker Zimmerman and Laurent Ciman. In goal will be a keeper from Honduras named Louis Lopez. Lopez however just picked up an injury so it looks like Tyler Miller will be starting in the first few matches at least.
They’ve brought in Aaron Kovar on loan from Seattle where he was depth. It’s not clear whether Kovar will be more than that. They also don’t seem to have a defensive midfielder, which seems like a bad thing.
Expected/Predicted Starting XI Picture
In Bob Bradley’s interview with Extratime Radio when they asked about starting XI, he wasn’t even sure he had 11 guys. That was right before the draft. LAFC has done so little business that most of these guys outside of Kovar seemed locked on at the moment but that could change with a signing. Outside of LAFC’s heavily rumored pursuit of Chicarito (which seems more likely to come in the summer at this point), it seems like most of LAFC’s work from now to the beginning of the season will be on depth and filling out the midfield.
With the talent they have in the back, I have a hard time seeing them doing anything other than four in the back. We know what Feilhaber can do, but Vela reportedly isn’t interested in defending, neither in Latif Blessing, and Feilhaber is getting up in years. So I suspect that LAFC will try to play a protective, counter-attacking style.
Closing Fantasy Thoughts & 2018 Expectations
Feilhaber is well known to fantasy players, and should continue to produce with LAFC. If anything, he may end up with better talent attacking wise here than he ever had in SKC. Vela is the star of course, so he’ll be an option, but I can see Blessing being a cheap way into their attack. In the back, the names probably will price out many of the defenders, but Harvey could be the cheap ticket into their defense if they put up good numbers.
The good news with all this uncertainty is that you’ll have time to sort that out. LAFC is on the road until April 29, and that schedule doesn’t look great (SEA, RSL, LAG, ATL, VAN, MTL) . Their goal will be to follow Atlanta’s model: get a bunch of ugly looking draws while the team gels until you get to open the home heavy slate.
My gut is this team is not as bad as Minnesota, but not as good as Atlanta last year. They remind me more of NYCFC and Orlando when they came into the league. I’m thinking they hover around the red line before falling short. They’re not a team you’ll pick when they’re on the road, but a team you’ll give a look at when they’re at home with a decent matchup.