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LAFC 2018 Player Postmortem: Calum Mallace

Veteran midfielder provided depth for expansion side.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Los Angeles FC vs Sacramento Republic FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club picked up Calum Mallace in the Re-Entry Draft in the offseason. The veteran midfielder, 28 years old in the 2018 season, had six seasons of MLS experience under his belt, including three where he played significant minutes with the Montreal Impact.

Mallace was traded from Montreal to the Seattle Sounders during the 2017 season, but he never played in a competitive game for that side, as they made a second successive trip to MLS Cup.

Coming into the season, with LAFC having a short squad, it seemed like Mallace would be counted on to play a real role, but in the end, he was mostly out of the loop for the expansion side.

Mallace played the full 90 once, in the 2-0 U.S. Open Cup win over Fresno FC in early June. The Scottish-born Mallace played in the deeper midfield role, alongside Eduard Atuesta. He got forward and got a few shots, and LAFC had to work for the win a bit in their first USOC game, but they got the job done, and Mallace played a part.

Mallace 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 5 0 29 0 0 1 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup 2 1 110 0 0 3 1 0 0
MLS Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 7 1 139 0 0 4 1 0 0

Otherwise, his minutes were very limited, as he played in competitive action just six more times, all off the bench, 49 minutes in total. His final appearance of the season was on July 22, in the shock blowout loss to Minnesota United on the road, which also happened to be maybe the last time of the season Bob Bradley rotated his lineup in earnest.

After the opening handful of games, it seemed pretty clear that Mallace was out of the rotation, something compounded by Andre Horta’s arrival and then subsequent time spent on the bench for much of the season.

Was Mallace a poor fit for LAFC or is his ceiling as a squad player at this level at this point in his career? Obviously, it can be hard to determine that definitively, especially from the outside. That he struggled to find playing time at two successive teams could be an indication, but again, it may just be a matter of ill fit.

So does that mean he’ll be back in 2019? I haven’t seen any indications he’s on a guaranteed deal for next year, and I’d expect he’ll not be retained. Mallace may have experience, but if LAFC want to upgrade their leadership, then they can probably use that chunk of salary in upgrading that element of the roster.

Of course, we’ll see on that, and on Mallace’s future.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!