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August in Review: LAFC battle through slump, keep making changes

A look back before the next month begins.

Colorado Rapids v Los Angeles FC Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

The month of August has come and gone and Los Angeles Football Club can finally rest, but only for a limited time.

The black-and-gold played six games in August, just as they had the previous three months, and the team finally started to show symptoms of slowing down. This tough stretch led to tired legs, lineup changes and some disappointing results for the team. Along with that heavy workload, the team also had some major changes to its roster.

The first came on Aug. 3, when LAFC signed Danilo Silva on a five-month loan from Brazilian team Internacional. Three days later, LAFC traded for Southern California native Christian Ramirez from Minnesota United in exchange for up to $1 million in allocation money.

However, it would take some time for the players to insert themselves into seeing consistent playing time, as was the case with prior midseason midfielders Lee Nguyen and Andre Horta.

August started with aspirations of a U.S. Open Cup final, and a possible overtaking of the top spot in the Western Conference for Bob Bradley’s team. However, the black-and-gold ended July on a tough note. They had lost 5-1 to Minnesota United on July 22, and followed that performance by allowing their crosstown rivals the LA Galaxy to score twice in the last ten minutes of regulation to tie the game on July 26, and were looking two put those dreadful performances behind them.

But that was not the case, as the slump continued into August.

LAFC started the month off with three consecutive losses. Those losses were against the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City, both who are second in their respective conference. The third loss was against the Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. The two teams played a 120-minute thriller that eventually went on to see the Dynamo defeat LAFC in penalties 7-6.

But even throughout this rough patch LAFC showed glimpses of what the team could do when everything goes right for them.

Forward Diego Rossi scored four goals for the team and was becoming the attacking threat many expected to see, Nguyen finally started to look comfortable with the ball at his feet, and forward Carlos Vela’s impact on the field was felt whenever he touched the ball.

Yet, as much progress as the team made, lingering issues in the defense remained a key focus.

The backline was constantly getting beat and the last line of defense would often tire out by the 75-minute mark.

The black-and-gold however, were able to turn things around nicely and salvage what could have been a catastrophe of a month for them. They would go on to win their next two games both by a score of 2-0 against Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids. In both games, Silva and Ramirez started, with Ramirez scoring his first two goals for the club in the game against RSL.

Their month would come to an end in similar fashion as July did, as they would once again and for the final time this season face LA Galaxy. And like their second matchup, the game would end in a draw, with both squads scoring. However, LAFC had one major changeup in their lineup, concerning Laurent Ciman. Their captain was not in the starting lineup or among the 18 available to play.

Five days later, LAFC announced they had transferred Ciman to Ligue 1’s Dijon in exchange for a reported fee of $500,000.

Eight games remain for LAFC in the regular season and they must finish the season strong if they hope to keep their playoff dreams alive. They currently sit in third place of the Western Conference with only three points separating them from first and five points from seventh.

In other words, positioning is tight and they must be looking to get three points from every game.

This roster isn’t the same one it was when the month started and it’s not the same roster from opening day but that may be a good thing.

Ramirez’s play ability fits in perfectly with those of Vela, Rossi and Nguyen, Silva and Walker Zimmerman will be tasked with being the anchors of defense with Ciman gone and the substitutions of Latif Blessing, Horta, and Adama Diomande bring well-needed energy off the bench.

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