Los Angeles Football Club currently has one goalkeeper under contract, in 2018 starter Tyler Miller, and they’ll need to sign some more before the 2019 season begins on March 3. Reports out of the Spanish press claim the club is closing in on a Mexican youngster playing in Europe.
The reports are claiming that 23-year-old Pablo Sisniega is an option for LAFC. The wording of the reports, “try his luck at [LAFC],” he’ll “try to win a place at [LAFC],” etc., seems to indicate the player won’t necessarily be a transfer target but maybe a trialist or a player coming over on a free.
Sisniega has spent his entire career with Real Sociedad, and has yet to break through to the first team. La Real, of course, is the same club Carlos Vela played at for several years, and Sisniega is originally from Mexico City, so they’re also compatriots.
Sisniega appears to have been halted in his progress to date by injury, including an emergency surgery removing his spleen after a collision in a game in late-October. That’s a freak injury, although there’s precedent that an organ injury that requires emergency surgery doesn’t necessarily derail a player’s career, which was the case for Steven Beitashour in 2017 with Toronto FC, when he returned before that season even ended.
So, does this rumor make sense? Sort of yes, sort of no. They may think Sisniega’s got big upside — remember, John Thorrington plucked Miller out of obscurity for him to turn out to be a solid starter in his first season. If this guy made the team, found some playing time, and was decent, LAFC could look to sell him on in Mexico or Europe in the future, too.
But the flip side is presumably Sisniega would require an international roster slot. LAFC currently have eight players occupying international slots, and LAFC appear to have eight slots at present. Does it make sense to have a presumably backup goalkeeper taking up an international slot? Not really, especially if you’re up against the limit and would need to shuffle or trade for another slot.
Update: After this story was published, John Rojas reported in AS that Sisniega in fact has an American passport, and as a result would not require an international slot.
Also, bear in mind the speculative wording used in the reports here. “Try his luck,” “try to win a place,” and so forth. Sounds like this guy could come on trial, not that a deal is necessarily imminent.
One final note: Bob Bradley did say after Monday’s friendly against Columbus Crew SC that news on the goalkeeper front would be dropping “in the coming days,” so this rumor could fit in that timeline. However, I figured chances are the team will sign trialist Philip Ejimadu, who has been playing a lot in preseason so far. We’ll see.
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