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LAFC 2020 player postmortem: Adama Diomande

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We hardly saw him before he moved on.

MLS: 2020 MLS Headshots USA TODAY Sports

It was not supposed to be like this for Adama Diomande in 2020.

The forward had always been mercurial, and after starting his LAFC tenure on fire in 2018, he endured a difficult 2019, where he had to step away for a while for undisclosed personal reasons before returning to score in the playoff win over the LA Galaxy.

But 2020 was more struggles for Dio. He broke his foot in preseason and therefore missed the Concacaf Champions League series against Club León. He finally got on the field at the MLS is Back Tournament off the bench, and...got hurt again, forced out of the same game that was his return, and with it a quick trip back to Los Angeles.

And that was the end of his LAFC tenure, as he surprisingly asked to depart in August, citing a need to take care of family.

Here are Diomande’s stats with LAFC in 2020:

Adama Diomande 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 1 0 16 0 0 1 0 0 0
MiB Knockouts 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Playoffs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CCL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 16 0 0 1 0 0 0

Diomande shared a post on his Instagram account, since deleted, that shed some light as to why he asked to end his contract and leave the club midseason. He said he was upset by the implication he had been suffering from substance abuse issues when he took his leave of absence from the club in 2019 — admittedly, most MLS players who do enter the program he did do deal with substance abuse issues of one form or another, but the program also covers behavioral health. Dio also noted online bullying he had experienced while with LAFC, presumably at least some from purported LAFC “fans.” We’ve seen this happen to other players, notably former Los Angeles Lakers player Danny Green, who was subjected to death threats along with his partner, from Laker “fans” who were upset with his play. What kind of loser do you have to be to threaten people who play a sport for your entertainment?

Add to all of this the pandemic and I think you can see why it may have been time for Dio to move on. On the field, it was tough, because Carlos Vela’s absence for much of the season and games missed by Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez meant there were definitely holes to fill in attack. Obviously, when everyone was available, LAFC was absolutely stacked in attack. As it happened, Diomande would have gotten plenty of playing time had he been available, and we’ll never know if maybe the team would have won a few more games and gotten a higher seed in the playoffs.

Still, sometimes players have to leave for personal reasons and Diomande needed to go home to Norway. He’s not currently playing, and I’m not sure if he will play again or not. Maybe he’ll make a comeback at some point, or maybe he’s in the next part of his journey now. He had 24 goals across all competitions with LAFC, in less than two full seasons. He averaged roughly a goal every two games, which is a terrific scoring rate. He was a fan favorite and scored some big goals. Here’s hoping he’s in a better place in his life now and best wishes to him moving forward.

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