The Los Angeles Football Club documentary “We are LAFC” on ESPN+ is a worthy watch for all fans of MLS. Yes, it’s produced by LAFC owner Peter Guber’s production company, so there’s a very slick sheen on the whole enterprise, but it’s a fascinating peek of the 2018 season that shows a few revelations along the way for all.
That goes especially for LAFC fans. Many of the talking points and footage are probably pretty familiar to diehards (also, many can probably tag themselves in the series), but there are still behind-the-scenes tidbits that are pretty interesting. Here are 10 items we learned from the series.
- The footage of Carlos Vela putting on a luchador mask was priceless (Ep. 1) - We saw the photos of Carlos Vela wearing an LAFC luchador mask when he signed for the team (strangely, I can’t find a photo of that now). It was fun and loose and silly, but seeing the static photos, it didn’t capture the moment fully. It was only featured for a few seconds, but Vela was offered the mask in the documentary, he grabbed it, threw it on, then posed with his fists in a fighting stance, before pounding his chest. Now that’s passion. Should have known he would take to LA like a duck to water.
- Tyler Miller’s emotions over El Trafico (Ep. 2): The LAFC goalkeeper spoke up about being posterized by that goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. You would imagine the collapse in the first rivalry game, and giving up that goal, to be replayed endlessly ever since, would be hard to take for the goalkeeper. It was. Miller became emotional just talking about the goal, and seemed to be fighting tears in discussing the loss itself, however many months later. It’s hard not to feel for the guy after seeing that.
- We all cried at the home opener (Ep. 3): I already wrote about crying at the home opener. Well, seems like that was a common occurrence. Add to that Steven Beitashour admitting that the crowd lifted the team late in the game, which was won on a last-second Laurent Ciman free kick, and a priceless night was burned into LAFC lore.
- The pee man (Ep. 4): Look, hydration is important and I should not call him a pee man, I should call him a hydration analyst. But the sight of a man politely sitting at a desk in the locker room, with grown men bringing him urine samples out in the open and the group razzing each other about “piss of excellence” or getting an 80 reading, is hilarious.
Even better, in the episode where the players spin the punishment wheel, you can see this guy sitting at his desk, watching the proceedings! It’s an incredible call back, I thank the producers for sneaking that in.
- It actually took Lee Nguyen several tries to kick a soccer ball through the giant donut (Ep. 5): No shame in that, but there was some Hollywood magic to only show the successful one at the time. As the voiceover man said, this is an industry town, and puts on sunglasses, I imagine, the industry is image.
- Bradley apologizes(?) to Laurent Ciman on his way out (Ep. 6): The shock transfer of Laurent Ciman was just that, a shock, seeing as it went from first emerging as a rumor to done in just a few days. The treatment of this story both shed light on what happened and also raised more questions (why exactly could the team not afford to pay him more? Or was that a polite excuse to move him on?). The strangest part was Bradley saying goodbye to Ciman and sort of apologizing for riding him hard. On one hand, that’s nice, for a boss to say good things to you on your way out, to end on good terms. At the same time, Ciman seemed like he just wanted to get the hug done and be on his way. Two passionate men!
- Andre Horta has work to do (Ep. 7): The puzzle of the season has to be what happened with Andre Horta, a Designated Player who struggled. During the most illuminating episode, revolving around a bad road loss to the Chicago Fire, Bradley seemed to both hone in on the Portuguese midfielder and try not to dump on him too much. After the game, Bradley did some psychological jiujitsu, telling Horta on the field that he knows the player is learning, but like, do your job, bud. Even more interesting, in a talking head segment immediately after that, Horta seems to be saying “They don’t always like my game. What can you do? I guess I’ll keep working.”
- Tyler Miller is going through some stuff (Ep. 7): This episode was definitely the best of the series. Not only did we see the Chicago meltdown, Bradley’s talk at Horta, the other good tidbit that LAFC really worked on their set pieces late in the season (which led to an uptick in goals scored off indirect set pieces) and the episode dramatically end with Bradley screaming “F*#&ing Bull$&*@!” but we also saw a very different situation for Tyler Miller, possibly the breakout star among the players of the season. Miller is shown visiting a hospital to hang out with kids battling cancer, and learn that not only is his sister-in-law battling cancer at the moment, so is his dad. To be on the other side of the country from your family, with two close members going through that, while dealing with the pressures of being a starting goalkeeper in MLS for the first time. I think anyone who watches this series will be a fan of Tyler after watching this.
- Horta or Ramirez in the 18? (Ep. 9): The conversation itself wasn’t that surprising, but the technical staff hashing out whether it would be more beneficial for Horta or Christian Ramirez to be in the 18 for a game due to the players’ respective mentalities was pretty interesting. In the end, Ramirez lost out in the short term, but seems to have made a jump this preseason and may no longer be fighting to make the bench in 2019.
- We know how much Eddie Segura’s loan cost (Ep. 10): Eddie Segura has a solid shot to be a starter for LAFC, and the documentary included the tidbit that he “cost $600,000” according to managing owner Larry Berg. I’m assuming that’s the cost of his initial 6-month loan, but Berg also verbalized his approach with the roster: Find good young players and sell them on. Sounds like he expects Segura and Eduard Atuesta to be sold abroad in the future.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!