With the World Cup in Russia upon us, many in the United States may glance at the coverage because we are football purists, but we will instead focus our attention on Major League Soccer.
But teams around the league will have big shoes to fill as some of their most prolific stars are out on international duty and Los Angeles Football Club is certainly no exception.
With players like Laurent Ciman, Omar Gaber, Marco Ureña and Carlos Vela out with their respective countries, LAFC coach Bob Bradley will have some lineup shuffling to do to put together a lineup for the Black-and-Gold’s upcoming matches.
While Patrick addressed the attack here, another glaring question is who will start alongside Walker Zimmerman on LAFC’s back line?
Normally, the question would be fairly easy to answer. But, Dejan Jakovic went and picked up a red card in LAFC’s 1-1 draw with D.C. United last week, so that option flew out the door making things a little harder for Bradley and the coaching staff.
Don’t fret. Even though The Captain, Jakovic and Gaber are out, it certainly doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare. Here is a look at some options for Saturday’s game against FC Dallas:
This is the most likely choice for Bradley. The former University of Akron product and No. 1 pick by the club in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft already has six games under his belt.
Now, against Atlanta United he failed to impress. But, in his other five outings, he was fairly solid. He entered as a center back against D.C. United after Jakovic’s red card.
As a rookie, he has defended against some of the better MLS competition and has stood his ground. In all fairness, Atlanta was an offensive juggernaut at the time.
Blackmon is another highly potential candidate for the spot despite having less playing time as Moutinho.
As opposed to Moutinho, Blackmon actually has a shot on goal for those concerned with offense (of which I am not).
Blackmon is versatile, with the ability to slot in on the right or in the center, but his lack of experience could be factor if the choice is between him and Moutinho.
Harvey is an experienced defender, but none of that experience has been in the center. That could be a real issue when trying to find someone to fill that center role.
Don’t get me wrong, Harvey is one of the most experienced players LAFC has. His time with Vancouver, Philadelphia and Colorado is solid – four post-season appearances included – but again none of those have been in the center.
Moving from the sides to the center is not as easy as one might think.
Beitashour’s story is similar to that of Harvey’s – tons of experience, but none in the center.
His ability to play defense is not in question, but his ability to play in the center on defense is.
He’ll play to be sure, but I don’t see it being in the role that LAFC will need the most.
Yes, I know that Mallace is listed as a midfielder, but he is more of a defensive midfielder and could take up that role if need be.
However, Mallace hasn’t seen green but for one minute this season, so it is highly unlikely that this would be a palatable option for Bradley, but I wanted to bring it up nonetheless.
Mallace has potential, but that potential probably isn’t on defense.
What do you think? Post your comment below!