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LAFC’s Adama Diomande available to play in MLS playoffs

Player reinstated after time away from team.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Good news for Los Angeles Football Club, as forward Adama Diomande has been reinstated to the club by Major League Soccer after he voluntarily entered the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program on Sept. 20.

The specific reason for Diomande’s departure was never revealed, although Kevin Baxter reported that he was not dealing with a substance abuse issue. The 29-year-old returned to the team to be part of their season team photo, but he was prohibited from participating in games or training with LAFC while being evaluated in the program.

The Norwegian notched eight goals and seven assists in 25 games (15 starts) in league play this season. Splitting time with Christian Ramirez until Ramirez was traded to Houston Dynamo in August, Diomande became the presumed automatic starter at central striker, flanked by Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela, but he needed to step away to take care of himself.

While LAFC played Vela mostly in the middle and brought in Brian Rodriguez in Diomande’s absence, LAFC’s attack wasn’t quite as flowing as it had been in its pomp this season. So perhaps Diomande can supercharge LAFC’s attack if he plays a role in their playoff game on Oct. 24.

That will be the big question, what role Dio will play in the game. He’s missed the last four games, and will have more than a month’s gap between games. Will he be a bench option, a starter? Will he feature at all? Stay tuned, but welcome back to Dio and hope you are well.

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