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LAFC 2018 Player Postmortem: Jordan Harvey

Veteran defender held steady in homecoming year.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Harvey was one of Los Angeles Football Club’s MLS Free Agent signings in 2018, alongside defensive bookend and former Vancouver Whitecaps teammate Steven Beitashour. While Beitashour had taken a jaunt to Toronto after leaving Vancouver, Harvey had been a fixture for the Whitecaps, playing five and a half seasons in British Columbia, where he was known as a solid left back capable of getting into the attack and being a tertiary scoring option.

Harvey’s signing also pointed to an allure of LAFC, with the Southern California native and UCLA product returning home to play for the black-and-gold. Given the culture and climate advantages of the area, plus the sheer number of Southern Californians who become pros, he seems like he could be the first of many players to end up here, although hopefully LAFC will be signing a lot of those to their first pro contracts when the academy class comes of age.

Harvey was one of two left backs on the roster, alongside rookie Joao Moutinho. And while the youngster got some run at the start of the campaign and for a stretch in the summer, Harvey was one of the most-used players for Bob Bradley in 2018, and he ended up grabbing the starting left back spot with both hands and not letting go of it.

Harvey 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 29 23 2,140 0 1 7 0 2 1
U.S. Open Cup 3 3 400 0 1 2 1 1 0
MLS Playoffs 1 1 90 0 0 1 1 0 0
Total 33 27 2,630 0 2 10 2 3 1

One part of Harvey’s game that was interesting for LAFC is that he didn’t show that scoring edge that had made him so tricky in Vancouver. It seems like he was instructed to stay back far more often than Beitashour, who bombed up and down the field all season. With LAFC’s defense being an entity that wasn’t necessarily set up to play it safe in general, having an experienced head like Harvey staying in LAFC’s half is a logical strategy — it’s not like they were in dire need of scoring help.

He’s officially a Free Agent again this offseason, and so far he hasn’t signed anywhere. He could return to LAFC, and I think there’s a decent chance he could, but at 34 one thinks he probably can’t remain a starter for much longer. LAFC have already moved Moutinho, to Orlando City for Mohamed El-Munir, a younger left back who definitely likes to get forward, perhaps to the detriment of his defensive game. Maybe Harvey comes back as an insurance policy in case El-Munir goes down or doesn’t quite show the defensive chops, or maybe he’ll go elsewhere. I also wouldn’t be altogether shocked if the other Southern California MLS team makes a play for him this offseason. We’ll see.

All in all, Jordan Harvey played his role well for LAFC in 2018. He was a regular contributor who did a solid job on the left of defense, he provided plenty of MLS experience on a new team, and he’s a personable guy who helped sell the team and represent them in the community. He’s not going to be the first name that jumps to mind when thinking about this team, but he quietly helped put this club on very good footing in their debut campaign, and that’s a pretty good outcome.

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