As the 2018 MLS season approaches for expansion club LAFC, it is important to take note of the local talent that could potentially make way into the team’s roster for next year. With that being said, Orange County SC, Los Angeles Football Club’s affiliate club that participates in the USL, not only has players that are currently a part of the first-team for LAFC but also has a significant amount of players that LAFC should definitely consider signing to help build an all-around strong team.
For instance, midfielder Carlos Alvarez, the former Chivas USA 2013 second round SuperDraft selection, is currently taking part in the USL this season with Orange County on loan from LAFC alongside teammate Monday Etim to get some meaningful playing time before looking ahead to 2018. For those who have not kept up with Orange County as of late, the team is filled with experienced players whether it is having played abroad in Europe or having an MLS background.
In no particular order, here are five Orange County players who could arguably be good, if not great, signees for LAFC.
1. LB – Roy Meeus-Bond
The 28-year-old left-back from Belgium has an excellent resume having played in over 150 games in the Belgian first and second division, and also spent four years at famous Club Brugge. To say Meeus has been good for Orange County this season would be an understatement, so far in 12 total games played he has netted four goals, and two that came from well-taken free kicks.
One of Meeus’s best attributes is delivering a good ball whether it is from the left flank or whipping a shot over the wall. Not only that, he is very technically sound, always comfortable on the ball, deals with pressure very well, tough physically when he needs to be and has the height to deal with defending set pieces. If given a chance, Meeus could undoubtedly make a name for himself at the next level.
2. CM – Richard Chaplow
Like Meeus, Richard Chaplow also spent some time in his country’s first division, the English Premier League. The English-born central midfielder was part of Southampton‘s promotion to the first division back in 2011-2012 and made a couple appearances with the first-team in League Cup action. Chaplow has also represented England at the youth level, so he is no stranger to high-level competition.
Since 2016, he has been a part of Orange County SC and has done a great job of playing a leadership role for the club. He is the captain of this year’s team, and more importantly, despite the 32 years of age, his presence on the field shouts a true English central midfield specialist, starting with the passing, shots from distance, the possession, slide tackling, and smooth movement up and down the field. There is no question his experience, characteristics, and attributes as a player provides a real understanding of the game to his teammates and coaches.
3. LW/RW – Jerry Van Ewijk
Next up is Jerry Van Ewijk, the highly skilled Dutch winger. Before transferring to Orange County this year, Van Ewijk played for De Graafschap and Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie the last three seasons, and was also once a squad selection player at the U-19 level for Netherlands. Van Ewijk is known for his ability to showcase his skill on the ball, provide assists, and score goals. If one thing’s for certain, he makes the most of his 5-foot-6 height and uses that as an advantage to pass through defenders who are not capable of a fast pace threat.
Unfortunately, due to suspension, he has missed a couple games, but before that took place, he was the top goalscorer of the team with three goals, with the addition of one assist, and had started in every league game this season. Van Ewijk, at the age of 25, still has plenty of time to become an even better player, however, if there is one thing he could use some improvement on, it is finishing, not that he struggles at it, but there are moments where he can probably average a goal a game because of how well his positioning in the attack is. For the most part, it is not a major concern, and with improvement, he can become a goal-scoring machine.
4. CM – Victor Pineda
Victor Pineda, the former Chicago Fire prodigy, and U.S. youth international is another one of those team leaders in the midfield that thrives on doing the dirty work and has certainly not gone unnoticed up to this part of the season for Orange County. Pineda, the defensive-minded midfielder he is, does a great job of linking up well with the defense and is excellent at building up plays by sending long balls with his excellent vision. Nonetheless, he should definitely be on the radar for LAFC.
5. GK – Charlie Lyon
Lastly, Charlie Lyon, who was previously with Seattle Sounders, spent his time on loan to Seattle Sounders 2 before signing with Orange County in 2017 and is widely regarded as one of USL’s top goalkeepers. Lyon’s vocal leadership is crucial to his style of play, and his mental and physical skills in terms of shot stopping and handling are very good, including his tendency to punch the ball clear from danger during set-pieces even though Orange County’s defense is not the tallest. His height of 6-foot-3 makes him a tough goalkeeper to beat, and he has a total of three clean sheets in all competitions this season. Starter or not, Lyon is capable of being on an MLS roster, and LAFC could be ideal.
Latest posts by Junior Pena (see all)
- Orange County SC Position Themselves Well After 3-0 Victory Over LA Galaxy II - April 10, 2018
- Key Players For Orange County SC Ahead Of 405 Derby - April 6, 2018
- Orange County SC: Three Takeaways From 2-1 Win Against Swope Park Rangers - September 13, 2017