The Major League Soccer season is a long, grueling stretch of 34 games, plus playoffs and U.S. Open Cup matches. MLS also goes through the summer, when some players have to go to the World Cup, and has stretches of three games in ten days. So it is no wonder that over the course of a full season, every team will have to deal with some injuries. However, LAFC might have been fortunate in their injury situation in their inaugural season.
Looking at some injury absences throughout the season, LAFC did not really pile up an injury crisis in 2018. The major injury that had an impact on LAFC’s season was obviously Mark-Anthony Kaye, who fractured his ankle in July and missed the rest of the season. That is one of those injuries no one can do anything about, but that may have changed the season for LAFC. Otherwise, LAFC did not see any major pieces miss extended time.
Walker Zimmerman missed the first couple games of the season after re-aggravating a prior injury in warmups before LAFC’s first match of the season against Seattle. At the time, this was not too much of a big deal, as Laurent Ciman was the captain in the center of defense. Next to him, Dejan Jakovic got a couple games before Zimmerman was able to return.
The only other absence of a big piece in LAFC’s lineup was when Marco Ureña missed about four weeks with a fractured face, which kind of speaks for itself. In LAFC’s inaugural match at Banc of California Stadium, Ureña suffered a collision that fractured his face. At the time, Ureña was LAFC’s starting striker, and led MLS with five assists. This looked like it was going to be a big loss, happening at the end of April to the starting striker as a couple players prepared to go to the World Cup. But LAFC was able to manage with their attacking corps and did not miss much of a beat, and brought in Adama Diomande in the secondary transfer window, who supplanted Ureña as the key man up front.
Outside of those absences, LAFC was pretty fortunate in the injury department. Both Luis Lopez and Quillan Roberts, backup goalkeepers to Tyler Miller, missed extended time in the season. Roberts fractured his fibula in late June, which kept him out for the rest of the season, but he did not play in a match for LAFC outside of their first pre-season game. Lopez fractured his tibia in 2017 and had not recovered for LAFC, and also did not feature in a game before being loaned to Orange County in June.
Otherwise, a look at injury reports from LAFC’s season shows that outside of some occasional absences or “questionable” designations, LAFC did not have a lot of injuries over the course of the season, of course outside of Kaye. This, overall, is a pretty good thing, as Bob Bradley was able to get a good look at everyone on the roster. Even though Kaye missed the second half of the season, he established himself as a key to the midfield before his injury. LAFC was able to build a consistent roster in their first season and therefore was able to put together a remarkable debut season in MLS. Although they did lose a key player in the process, LAFC can count themselves fortunate that they were not held back by injuries this past season.
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