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LAFC 2019 Player Postmortem: Javi Perez

Rookie made stateside pro debut in injury-shortened season.

Perez (right) got some fringe benefits even after tearing his ACL.
Courtesy of LAFC

Javi Perez was one of the three Perezes on Los Angeles Football Club’s roster in 2019, the midfielder another young depth addition to the squad, but with a bit of a different story than his counterparts.

Perez was drafted out of Pitt, but he wasn’t a regular college product, having played as a youth player at Spanish giant Valencia and known for his leadership skills there.

Legendary striker David Villa, himself a Valencia icon, helped Perez get a chance to play college soccer and get an education in the U.S., something the midfielder took full advantage of.

Perez was LAFC’s third-round selection, making the team alongside another draft pick, Peter-Lee Vassell. While it wasn’t expected he would see a ton of time, Perez seemed to be a smart flyer on a technical midfielder with experience well beyond the usual college player.

Perez was officially signed just before the second game of the season, and went on loan early in the campaign alongside several LAFC teammates to Phoenix Rising FC. While the loan stint didn’t last long, Perez made three appearances in the desert, all starts, while he got up to speed.

Perez in action for Phoenix Rising FC.
Michael Rincon / Courtesy of Phoenix Rising FC

In MLS, Perez made his debut off the bench in the last-minute home win over Real Salt Lake in March.

Here are Perez’s statistics for LAFC in 2019:

Javi Perez 2019 LAFC statistics

2019 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2019 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS Regular Season 1 0 12 0 0 1 0 0 0
U.S. Open Cup 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MLS Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 12 0 0 1 0 0 0

Unfortunately, it was just the 12 minutes for Perez in competitive action for LAFC, as he tore his ACL in late-May and went on the shelf the rest of the way.

It’s a shame, as he’s a smart, engaging guy, and would have gotten some more playing time down the stretch, and we could have seen more of his game at this level. As it was, a 12-minute stint isn’t enough to really evaluate him.

Will he be back next year? Hard to say, as always, although he has an uphill battle as a young player who takes up an international slot coming off a major injury. Considering much of the starting unit is likely to return for 2020, the players deep in the squad will have work to do and some lucky breaks to come back, but it’s certainly possible.

It’s a sign of good fortune that LAFC only had one major season-ending injury in 2019, but it’s a shame that Javi Perez drew the short straw and suffered it. We’ll see what the future holds for him.

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