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LAFC 2018 Player Postmortem: Rodrigo Pacheco

Argentine was first departure for black-and-gold.

MLS: 2018 Portraits USA TODAY Sports

Rodrigo Pacheco was one of the few players signed before the 2018 season by Los Angeles Football Club, but he ended up being the answer to the trivia question “Which LAFC player was the first to exit the team after playing in a competitive match?”

Pacheco was signed by LAFC in September 2017 and loaned to USL affiliate Orange County SC for the rest of that team’s season. A striker who seemed to be a tweener, the Argentine, a Lanús academy product who hadn’t yet broken through to the first team there, seemed to have potential at the USL level but hadn’t quite put the pieces together. He was good at coming back to pick up the ball, and could link up with teammates in the build-up, but wasn’t exactly clinical in front of goal, scoring one goal in seven appearances for OCSC.

He seemed most likely to be a wide forward in Bob Bradley’s system, but with the likes of Diego Rossi, Latif Blessing and at times even Carlos Vela, it was going to be hard for Pacheco to find a lot of playing time with LAFC in 2018.

So it turned out to be. Pacheco made one competitive appearance for LAFC, coming off the bench to play in the 5-0 blowout loss against Atlanta United in Georgia. By the time he entered, in the 73rd minute, the game was 2-0, and LAFC were yet to have a full meltdown in the dying minutes. And for an attacking player like Pacheco, it was nothing doing, as the attack was ineffective, actually outshooting Atlanta in the game but getting a measly one shot on target as a team. Just a tough day overall for the black-and-gold.

Pacheco LAFC 2018 statistics

2018 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2018 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS Regular Season 1 0 17 0 0 0 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MLS Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 17 0 0 0 0 0 0

That single appearance for Pacheco came on April 7, and Pacheco stayed around until May 22, when news broke that he had been waived. Why then? It came down to international slots, with LAFC signing Adama Diomande in the May transfer deadline, and Pacheco was surplus to requirements and also taking up a valuable international slot, on a team that was always at a deficit in that department.

Since returning to Argentina, with his loan ended, Pacheco has continued to play for Lanús’ reserves. He seems to be on the roster, but hasn’t made a competitive appearance yet, and the club is near the bottom of the table so far. Maybe he’ll get a chance with the team struggling and looking for a spark, or maybe he won’t, with the pressure of relegation mounting.

Pacheco doesn’t seem to have ill will towards LAFC, as he occasionally posts photos of his LAFC days (as well as Orange County SC) on his instagram account, and at least publicly, speaks fondly of his days in California. I don’t expect he’ll be back, but stranger things have happened. Either way, good luck to Rodrigo on his journey.

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