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LAFC 2019 Player Postmortem: Josh Perez

Promising youngster broke goal duck for Supporters’ Shield winners.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Perez joined Los Angeles Football Club in the summer of 2018 and just got his feet wet in MLS after arriving. The young American, once the top-rated prospect at his age level, had spent several years at Italian club Fiorentina but didn’t look likely to be headed to the first team there anytime soon.

After a cup of coffee at LAFC in 2018, Perez played a bigger role with the first team in 2019, spending a microsecond on loan at Phoenix Rising FC before spending the rest of the season around LAFC’s 18.

Listed as a forward, and mostly coming off the bench, Perez showed an ability to combine with teammates in attack, but the 21-year-old also looked to be quite goal-shy, posting several near-tallies before finally breaking out in dramatic fashion for his debut MLS goal late in the season.

Here are Perez’s statistics with LAFC in 2019:

Josh 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 13 4 454 1 1 12 6 0 0
U.S. Open Cup 1 0 6 0 0 1 1 0 0
MLS Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 14 4 460 1 1 13 7 0 0

Perez did play some in midfield, both off the bench and a starter, and frankly, he seems more likely to become a regular starter at midfield than at forward. It could be a matter of just getting reps and some good luck, but to me, the abilities Perez does have at MLS level already — ball control, good passing, good workrate — make him a strong candidate to become a full-time midfielder. I know Latif Blessing went through an identical transition in 2019, but it’s actually not particularly common to go from forward to two-way midfielder. But hey, if Bob Bradley could alter Blessing’s career prospects in ground-shaking fashion maybe he could work a similar deal with Perez?

At any rate, Perez was one of Bradley’s guys (in depth), even when fans weren’t quite sure what they were missing at times. But he’s young, he’s not expensive and he did show some progress in 2019. Under contract for 2020 as well, we’ll have to see if Josh Perez can be the latest player at LAFC to make a big leap season to season. Stay tuned.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!