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Get to know LAFC’s Benny Feilhaber

The former Sporting KC playmaker will be looked at to drive play in the midfield for LAFC.

Serbia v United States Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

Getting ready for the 2018 Los Angeles Football Club season? Yeah, we are too. We’re gearing up for the expansion team’s campaign with a look at each of the players who have been officially added for the season. Today we look at midfielder Benny Feilhaber.


Age: 32

How LAFC acquired him: Via trade with Sporting KC on Jan. 3, 2018. Sporting Kansas City traded Feilhaber to LAFC for $200,000 in General Allocation Money and $200,000 in Targeted Allocation Money.

Position: Midfielder. Benny’s best position is probably as a No. 10, sitting just behind the strikers to play through balls and direct play in general

Previous professional experience

Hamburg SV II (Hamburg’s reserve team), German third tier

  • 49 Regionalliga appearances, 3 goals

Hamburg, Bundesliga (2006-07)

  • 9 Bundesliga appearances, 3 DFB Pokal appearances
  • 3 UEFA Champions League appearances

Derby County, Premier League (2007-08)

  • 10 Premier League appearances

AGF Aarhus, Danish Superliga/1st division (2008-11)

  • 36 Superliga appearances, 1 goal
  • 2 1st division starts, 4 goals
  • 1 domestic cup appearance

New England Revolution, MLS (2011-12)

  • 52 MLS regular season appearances, 5 goals, 9 assists
  • 1 U.S. Open Cup appearance, 1 goal

Sporting Kansas City, MLS (2012-2017)

  • 150 MLS regular season appearances, 29 goals, 41 assists
  • 13 U.S. Open Cup appearances, 3 goals
  • 9 CONCACAF Champions League appearances, 1 goal
  • Titles: 2013 MLS Cup; 2015 U.S. Open Cup; 2017 U.S. Open Cup

International

  • U.S. Men’s National Team (2007-present), 44 appearances, 2 goals
  • USMNT U-23s (2007-08), 6 appearances
  • USMNT U-20s (2005), 11 appearances

Scouting report

When Sporting KC first acquired Feilhaber I was not a fan of the move. He seemed to always underachieve when I had watched him before. Under Peter Vermes he was constantly challenged and not allowed to coast and he responded well. In a very demanding style he rose to become one of the best in the league and a key piece to an MLS Cup and multiple Open Cups.

At his best he can slice open defenses. My favorite assist of his was this goal by Dom Dwyer in the playoffs. Feilhaber saw Dwyer but had to chip the ball between two defenders to get it to him. It’s a good team goal and Dwyer had to make a good touch and shot but it would not have been possible without Feilhaber’s vision and creativity.

He has slowed down the last couple years for SKC with scorers in front of him not performing as well and some ankle issues but can still make some excellent passes. He will probably do better in a midfield that is not as high-press demanding.

He is very willing to run his mouth, pushing his team to do better and sometimes pushing opponents’ buttons. I am sure he will score on SKC in his first meeting. ~ Thad Bell, The Blue Testament

How will he feature for LAFC in 2018

The famous saying about Reggie Jackson on the New York Yankees in the 70’s and early 80’s was that he was “The straw that stirred the drink.” Feilhaber will probably have a similar type of role with LAFC. He will be the main creator, tasked with linking up play and providing good service to the strikers and wingers. Feilhaber will also be expected to provide a few goals of his own, as he has done consistently in MLS. But his main job will be dictating play, making sure the ball is where it needs to be, when it needs to be. Even though they are a new team, LAFC have players who have a lot of experience, especially at forward and defense. Midfield not as much though, and Feilhaber will be counted on to be a leader there. Feilhaber also has experience taking free kicks and penalty kicks, so he will probably be taking at least some of those for LAFC. If LAFC are going to do well this year, Feilhaber will most likely be one of their most important players.

Video

Here’s an entertaining video profile about Benny put out by MLS a few years ago:

And, for good measure, here is Feilhaber’s game winning goal vs. Mexico in the 2007 Gold Cup Final. It was quite special.

Fun Facts:

  • Feilhaber was actually born in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. He is a fan of the Brazillian team Botafogo.
  • Benny is a local kid, he went to high school in Irvine, and spent two years at UCLA.
  • Was in that U.S. team that defeated Spain in the Confederations Cup in 2009, snapping Spain’s record streak.
  • If you can’t get enough of his personality, you should check out these “Benny Feilhaber Show” videos from his time with Sporting KC.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!