From the get-go after the MLS Expansion Draft LAFC immediately started making moves to construct its roster ahead of its inaugural season. They have added three excellent veterans in Laurent Ciman, Jordan Harvey and Benny Feilhaber to this attack-oriented squad that will bring solidity to the team.
On Wednesday, LAFC traded away allocation money to Sporting KC for the services of U.S. Mens international Benny Feilhaber. The 32-year-old brings a wealth of MLS experience while also being part of an MLS championship winning team as well as two U.S. Open Cup title wins. He also boasts plenty of international experience stemming from his 44 caps with the stars and stripes and his time playing abroad.
His experience in the league carries an invaluable bonus to the expansion side as he understands the demands of MLS and is showing no signs of slowing down. According to Opta, Feilhaber was involved in 70 of Sporting KC’s 221 goals (29 goals and 41 assists) which is surely what caught LAFC’s eye.
“Benny has enjoyed great success as an incredibly productive midfielder and has won multiple trophies here in MLS,” LAFC General Manager and Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations John Thorrington said. “He has valuable experience and will provide stability and productivity to our midfield.”
On January 2, LAFC signed its first-ever free agent in 33-year-old Southern California native Jordan Harvey. The 13-year MLS veteran came from the Vancouver Whitecaps with over 250-plus starts in his career and a reliable pedigree. He started 28 games last season helping Vancouver clinch its third playoff berth in the last four seasons.
“Jordan has established himself in MLS, and his knowledge of the league is going to be invaluable to us as we build our club,” LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said. “I look forward to his leadership and the stabilty he provides both on and off the pitch.”
The grit and determination Harvey displays on the pitch is a trait that will bring character to LAFC as they prepare for their MLS debut. The aggressiveness that the club has shown this offseason means they want to make an immediate impact in the league which is reflected in their additions.
Harvey is just another quality piece to the puzzle as he should slide into the left-back spot on the team. The ex-UCLA standout is a dependable signing, logging in over 2000 minutes in the last five seasons which shows his reliability on the pitch.
Finally, LAFC added two-time MLS All Star Laurent Ciman on December 12, 2017 through a trade following the Expansion Draft in which LA flipped two of its selections for the Belgium international. A shocking acquisition because of his successful run with the Montreal Impact.
Nonetheless, Ciman should be the captain of the LAFC ship moving forward given his immediate success in the league plus his experience with the World Cup-bound Red Devils. His immediate impact in the league coupled with his international experience makes him an ideal pick-up to strengthen the backline.
“Laurent is a top defender who provides leadership and great distribution,” LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said. “His experience in the league and with the Belgian National Team will be invaluable as we build out club.”
With Ciman anchoring the defense, the 2015 MLS defender of the year will provide adequate leadership as well as a calming presence to Bob the Builder’s squad. As if Ciman needed any extra motivation after his shocking trade from the Impact, he will have something more to prove this season that his previous club made a mistake in releasing him.
The three savvy veterans the Los Angeles Football Club added are high-character guys that have earned the respect of their peers which is what LAFC will be attempting to do come March 2018.
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