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LAFC 2021 Player Postmortem: Cal Jennings

USL poacher got a look at MLS level.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Cal Jennings was a surprise addition to LAFC’s preseason training camp in 2021. With the club basically not making any big additions heading into the season, Jennings was the long-haired poacher who was signed after a successful rookie season at Memphis 901 FC, where he scored nine goals in 14 games.

I think Jennings was brought in for a couple purposes: To see if he would be the next USL player who could make the jump up to MLS and be another diamond in the rough, but also to be part of the reserve team, Las Vegas Lights FC, and get run in two leagues.

On the second count, it definitely happened, and Jennings enjoyed another good season at USL Championship level, scoring 11 goals and four assists in 20 appearances for Las Vegas in 2021. Along the way, he played a few minutes in MLS for LAFC, too.

Here are Jennings’ statistics with LAFC in 2021:

Cal Jennings 2021 LAFC Statistics

2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2021 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
MLS 6 2 127 0 0 4 2 0 0

Jennings didn’t get off the mark in MLS, which was a bit of a bummer because I could see him replicating Danny Musovski’s five-goal season in 2020 pretty easily. But, it didn’t happen.

I think this is a really good clip from Grimmace420 on Jennings’ work off the ball with LAFC, helping do his other job of occupying space to help Carlos Vela get a great shot off.

Jennings is 24, so he’s not exactly young in global soccer terms, but I think he’s still a player with potential.

I’m not sure if he’ll be back with LAFC next season, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he moves on. I think he can thrive at USL Championship level and if he goes there fulltime, he’ll end up competing for the Golden Boot. I also think a slew of teams would want to snap him up if he’s available for 2022.

There still is a question of whether he’s really capable of being a regular at MLS level, however. With MLS teams using most of their Designated Player and TAM money on attackers, it can be hard for players with Jennings’ profile to get a real look, but I still think he has more to show. We’ll see if that happens, or if he gets more run at USL Championship level and balls out, basically.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.