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LAFC 2020 player postmortem: Kwadwo Opoku

Rookie offered one shining moment in debut season.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Kwadwo “Mahala” Opoku signed with LAFC in October 2020, one of several rookies in the pro game at the club. Unlike most of the other newcomers, however, Opoku was joining up from abroad, the Ghanaian forward coming out of the Attram de Visser Academy, with which LAFC had struck up a partnership of sorts to look for young talent.

Signed as a 19-year-old, with no professional experience, LAFC were forced to turn to him a surprising amount down the stretch. After getting his feet wet with a few bench appearances in regular season play, he featured in the playoff game against the Seattle Sounders, and saved his best performance for the Concacaf Champions League, where he wrote his name in black-and-gold lore by scoring the winning goal in the quarterfinal against Cruz Azul.

Any kind of goal would have been amazing, but the winner and his first pro goal was an absolute stunner.

Here are Opoku’s stats with LAFC in 2020:

Kwadwo Opoku 2020 Statistics

2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2020 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
Regular Season 3 0 52 0 1 1 0 1 0
MiB Knockouts 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 1 0 45 0 0 0 0 0 0
CCL 2 0 77 1 0 2 1 0 0
Total 6 0 174 1 1 3 1 1 0

Opoku was certainly fortunate in getting an opportunity at all. With Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez missing for key games down the stretch, Carlos Vela returning from a knee injury that kept him out a few months, Danny Musovski getting hurt, and Bradley Wright-Phillips opting not to play with LAFC in CCL, Bob Bradley ended up giving some unexpected minutes to Opoku and Christian Torres and both teenagers showed promising starts to their careers. I don’t think either of them is ready to score 15 goals next season, but as projects who can hopefully still contribute something, that’s got to be exciting for LAFC as they have to plan to move on from the Vela-Rossi juggernaut at some point in the future.

And it’s worth noting Opoku still didn’t get a ton of time, but I think there’s promise and reason to be excited. Who knows what the 2021 season will look like and how the roster will look, but I expect he’ll continue to be used in the same way he was last year, as a bench option and hopefully someone who can fulfill a supersub role.

I think given his goal against Cruz Azul, you would consider the 2020 season to have been a success for Opoku. We’ll see what the future brings for the attacker.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.