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LAFC sign Latif Blessing to new contract

Emerging midfielder set to stick around for several years.

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

Los Angeles Football Club announced on Monday they have signed midfielder Latif Blessing to a new multi-year contract, through the 2022 season.

Blessing, 22, had his contract option on his existing deal picked up earlier this year, an unusual step for an MLS club to exercise an option before the end of the season, hinting Blessing and/or his representation may be aiming to leave at the end of 2019. Following that, initially Blessing reportedly complained on social media, saying he wanted a better deal, but he was otherwise publicly pleased with that move. In the end, it looks like he got his wish.

“I know I speak for fans and staff alike that Latif has won everyone over with his infectious energy play, and he is well-deserving of his new contract,” said EVP & general manager John Thorrington in a team statement. “His game continues to grow, and we know he will play an integral part in the club’s success on and off the field moving forward.”

Blessing began the 2019 season as a depth attacking option for LAFC. In the second game of the season, he stepped in at right back in a pinch when starter Steven Beitashour went down, a precursor of what was to come, when a couple weeks later he started in midfield for the black-and-gold against NYCFC when Lee Nguyen was hurt. Since then, he’s taken over a position in midfield, showing tremendous chops as a two-way midfielder, and earning the nickname “Kante” for Chelsea midfielder N’golo Kante, on the LAFC squad.

Blessing has played 26 games across all competitions this season, scoring three goals and five assists in league play to date this year. Every member of LAFC’s midfield currently on the roster has been vital, but his emergence has been truly remarkable.

And Blessing had been one of the best values on the team in terms of salary, which is another way of saying he was underpaid. Presumably his new salary will be one the fans — and most importantly, Blessing himself — will be satisfied with.

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