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 goalkeeper Luis Lopez.
How LAFC acquired him: Signed from Real España on Jan. 24, 2018.
Previous pro playing experience:
Real España (2013-17):
- 124 Liga Nacional de Honduras appearances (123 starts)
- 2 CONCACAF Champions League appearances (both starts)
- Titles: 2013 Apertura, 2017 Apertura
- Personal: 2013 Apertura Goalkeeper of the Tournament, 2013 Apertura Co-Young Player of the Tournament
International: Honduras senior NT (2015-present)
- 11 caps
- Started in 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup
- Titles: 2017 Copa Centroamericana
Honduras U-23 (2014-16)
- 9 caps
- Participated in 2016 Rio Olympics, where Honduras finished fourth
Honduras U-20 (2013)
- 6 caps
- Titles: 2013 Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos gold medal
“Buba” Lopez is currently in my opinion the best goalkeeper in Honduras and because of his youth, that means we will enjoy it for a long time. At his young age he has already been crowned champion of the Honduran first division on two occasions, although last season he could not play most of the tournament because of an injury that prevented him from closing the Hexagonal with Honduras.
In the Hexagonal, he played a game for the suspended Donis Escober in the draw (that tasted of defeat) against the United States where he was one of the best. Some of his great qualities are his distribution, good positioning in the box and his reflexes, three essential characteristics in a good goalkeeper. Perhaps he needs to improve his tactics a bit more with his feet.
It strikes me that with his quality, it is incredible that he never went to a U-17 or U-20 World Cup, even though the Honduran national teams have been qualifying for these tournaments. But he had his prize in the last Olympics of Rio 2016, where he was one of the key players for Honduras. ~ Carlos Góchez, Legión Catracha
How will he feature for LAFC in 2018?
Using an international slot on a goalkeeper, someone who has not previously played in the league, generally means he’s being brought in as a starter. However, the injury that Lopez showed up to Los Angeles with (and with LAFC knowing about it) means he is almost certainly starting the 2018 MLS regular season out injured, and Tyler Miller should be taking charge for the start of the season. If he starts hot, Lopez will likely have a hard time unseating him. But if Miller shows any signs of vulnerability, then Lopez should get his shot when he’s healthy. Put simply, expect Lopez to play, but it will depend on his health and Miller’s performances as to how much the Honduran will actually play.
Here’s a good highlight reel from Lopez’s time at the Rio Olympics:
- One time Lopez got so upset at a penalty called against Real España, that he leaned against the post and didn’t bother to try to block the spot kick in protest (you can see the incident here). From Carlos Góchez: “He was criticized by some and supported by others, but in reality it was not correct and I think that has made him mature as a professional player as well.”
- Also from Carlos: “Before being signed by LAFC, he was very strongly linked to Tenerife of Spain, a team that lately has relied on Honduran talent such as ‘Choco’ Lozano, Darixon Vuelto and Bryan Acosta. I think his injury prevented him from continuing with that negotiation. But personally I think the USA has very good methods for training goalkeepers, so LAFC is a good destination for him.”
- Lopez has gotten some practice as a reporter, interviewing a teammate here (and almost smacking himself in the face with his own bag)
- Initially, Real España declined to sign Lopez as a youngster, as they said he was “too short.” He is now listed as 5-foot-11.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!